3-Day Bavarian Road Trip
Castles, fairy-tale cottages, rounded doorways, and flower-filled windows signal that you have left the real world and entered into the magical kingdom of Bavaria. This cheerful region in Southern Germany has retained its medieval character either by it’s lack of WWII wreckage or it’s diligent reconstruction — the latter is the case for Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, our main pitstop on this Bavarian Road trip.
We picked up a rental car in Frankfurt after booking online. Naturally, there were about five additional fees to pay at the Hertz counter, but we managed to successfully get on the road. The driving in Germany is similar to the U.S. Drive on the right side, pass on the left (although the Germans do this much more successfully).
We stopped for lunch in Wurzburg, after a little detour (accidentally heading to the wrong “Wurzburg” and driving through unmarked roads in the woods for a bit). We successfully avoided getting murdered, found the correct town, and had a traditional German meal at Alte Mainmühle.
The restaurant is situated on the river, with a view of Wurzburg's Fortress Marienberg. We drove around for a bit trying to see if we could get up there, but you do have to walk
We then headed to our main destination, Rothenburg ODT, a popular Christmastime destination that doesn’t fail to impress even in mid-summer.
The entire city is wrapped in a high wall, which effectively protected its citizens for centuries. Our favorite thing was walking the night’s watch route around parts of the wall. It’s a great view and a great chance to do some Jon Snow impressions.
We enjoyed the beer gardens and the medieval stores where you can buy all the fake weapons and dirndls your heart desires.
It’s clear that in Rothenburg every day is Christmas. Most evident from the flagship Käthe Wohlfahrt store (where you will get yelled at in German for taking photos). It’s Santa’s village in here and you’ll come out wondering why there isn’t snow on the ground and presents waiting under the tree.
However, stay too long in Rothenburg and you may find yourself forgetting that an outside world exists beyond the stone walls.
Two days was enough for us and we headed on our way to Nuremberg. The main thing that people associate with this city is of course, the Nuremberg Trials. Unfortunately, after we dropped off our car there wasn’t a great way to access the courthouse and Nazi rally grounds, which are a few miles from the city center.
We stumbled across a festival in the main town square celebrating Martin Luther’s reformation, equipped with jousting matches and beer garden tables as far as the eye can see. We weren’t exactly sure what all these things had to do with Martin Luther, but we went along with it and cheered on the fighting knights as we sipped from our steins.
A little past the center of town is the Nuremberg Castle situated on a hilltop. It’s a climb up here but well worth the view.
We were resting on a bench at the top of the castle when we noticed a group of Chinese tourists knocking on an out-of-the-way, unmarked door. I couldn’t possibly imagine what they expected to happen by banging on a clearly locked door, when an old man opened it up and let them in. I grabbed Corey and we trailed in behind them.
We found ourselves in a small, dark room surrounding a stone circle, which I quickly realized was a well. The man made a few remarks in varying languages and then poured a vase of water down the pit. It took a good 35 seconds before we heard it splash. Then he lowered a candle chandelier on a pulley system so we could see the reflection on the bottom of the well. This (very cool) spot was clearly a bit of insider’s knowledge, and we felt lucky to have stumbled across it.
We ended our day in Nuremberg early at the hotel, where the sounds of the strip club outside echoed up to our room until 5 a.m. The next morning, we boarded the Flixbus bleary-eyed, but ready for whatever awaited us at our next stop: Prague.