Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Paris to Germany - and Rothenberg

For our last morning in Paris, we grabbed some chocolate croissants, and took one more walk around. First up, the Opera House. We didn't go inside, but outside was absolutely beautiful.

We finished at the garden behind the Louvre. We sat down, took in the view and then rushed back to finish packing and getting ready to leave for Germany.

We were able to rent a car, and after getting a wee bit lost (thank heavens for GPS) we were on our way!

The German countryside is some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. It is so green. Rolling hills, growing fields, thousands of trees, hundreds of birds singing. It was so refreshing after spending 10 days in bustling, dirty cities (I loved Paris but it was incredibly dirty).

Stephen surprised me with a beautiful hotel. So picturesque.  And run by this adorable old German couple. He spoke some English. But she didn’t speak any. And she was very, very fond of Stephen. At one point she was even stroking his hair. Neither of them understood the idea of personal space. And the sweet lady would just talk to us in German, and we would shrug or smile. And she would laugh. And we would shrug and smile. Many times we would ask a question, and she would just repeat German at us. As if at any point in time we would magically understand. We never did. But that never stopped her from trying.

View from the hotel window

On the way to our room

But the most amazing part was Rothenberg itself. A walled city, frozen in time. The original stone work and bricks still standing. The city itself was built on a cliff, overlooking a green valley. The hills gently rolled away from us. A small forrest filled with singing birds. It is by far the most peaceful place I have ever been.

I don’t know what it was. I think that taking in so many new sights, being around so many people, walking and doing and going for so many days wore me out. Emotionally and physically.

Standing on the wall, looking out at one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. It felt like taking a shower after camping for a week. Or finally getting a drink of water after walking all day. Only for your soul. That is the only way I can describe it.

I might have sat and stared at the beautiful, green, serene hills for a long time. I might have even cried a little. I felt so settled and serene. I loved it. Every second. I didn’t know that Germany was so full of songbirds.

I loved all of it.

The next morning we walked around, visited some shops and took in the beautiful old walls, the churches and buildings.

We visited the Criminal Museum. We got the chance to examine some methods of torture and take a walk through a history of how their current laws came to be. It was actually really interesting. Especially some of the punishments they came up with. Some were really gory. Others were funny. Here were some of my favorites:

Than, we jumped in the car and drove to some of the surrounding towns. We went to Harburg to an old castle. It was raining so we had the outside pretty much to ourselves. We shouldn't be left alone with an entire castle to play with. We have videos, but I have to steal them from Stephen and be sneaky about posting them so he doesn't know.... 

Then we stopped by some town that started with an N and ended in berg. But it was mostly under construction. We saw a church, ate some ice cream (which was delicious), and then headed back.

Inside one of the churches

We than took the Night Watchman’s Tour. It was a walking tour around the city, and it was really quite fun.

The next morning we went into the most incredible, crazy, out of this world Christmas shop.  We were able to snap a few pictures before we saw a sign that said, “NO PICTURES”. But we were able to buy some beautiful Christmas decorations.

After a last walk around the city, we were off to our next city! (Which I will tell you all about tomorrow)

A glimpse into "Our castle".  This was Stephen claiming it in the name of the King. (He thinks he is king.)

The view from the wall

The night watchman! (In case you are wondering, I am wearing two sweatshirts and a raincoat. Germany was COLD)

Right out of a fairytale, right?!

The garden in the hotel

Stephen trying to get a picture

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