The Architecture of Rothenburg and the Castle of Heidelberg

On our last day of the tour, we visited two smaller German towns, Rothenburg and Heidelberg. We arrived first in Rothenburg after a three hour drive from Munich to find a place that is so idyllic, it looks as if it had been produced by Disney.

I half expected the people to come out of the shops and sing “Be Our Guest.”

This armor would have served Brandon well later, when we were in Heidelberg and an elderly lady in a wheelchair rammed him. You heard me.

Taking time out from our tour of the village from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, we explored St. James’ church, a Catholic church turned Lutheran in Rothenburg.

The church featured a fully decorated late-medieval high altar, as well as the Altar of the Holy Blood produced by Renaissance master Tilman Riemenschneider.

The sculptor of the work depicted above, Riemenschneider, went with the unconventional “Judas in the center” approach, as opposed to the more time-honored…

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…”Judas, how about you sit in that special chair all by yourself” approach, or the more famous…

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…”Judas exhibiting the Laura angry look” approach.

When we left the church, we made our way to the area right outside of the gate that used to lead to the old castle, which was a great place to take pictures of Rothenburg. And there was much rejoicing.

We had eaten breakfast at the Munich hotel, and that meal had included a variety of German sausages, so we were feeling the effects of our high-protein diet.

One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong, Can you tell which thing is not like the others By the time I finish my song?

Following a lengthy photo shoot, we were turned loose for lunch and free time. In Rothenburg, that meant we could get…

Schneeballs, a specialty of the city.

Schneeballs are made of deep fried dough and covered in sugar, chocolate, or caramel, which is as tasty as it sounds, although eating one of the chocolate schneeballs may leave you looking like this:

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And that’s ok. Some sacrifices are worth making.

Rothenburg also had a number of Christmas stores, and many of our group bought some ornaments.

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I’m gonna need a bigger suitcase.

Our Christmas in July celebrations complete, we moved on to Heidelberg, to tour the castle there.

This is not the Cinderella castle.

As you can see from the pictures, much of the castle has been destroyed.

You may be asking, how did this destruction occur? The answer is pretty wild, so bear with me: at one point, France was really, really powerful and won wars and stuff.  You may remember this map from the post on Versailles:


As you can see from the map, France’s Louis XIV REALLY wanted to control the Rhineland. So his forces first captured the castle, and, later, having lost control, blew up part of it using a gunpowder explosive. Then, even later, the castle was hit by lightning.

Destroyed by the French AND nature – some things are just not meant to be.

Since water purification was so difficult in the days when people lived in the castle, the castle also holds a gigantic wine barrel used to provide everyone in the castle with low-alcohol, relatively bacteria-free wine.

Nope, not THAT wine barrel…

…THIS wine barrel. That’s right – we could literally fit the entire group on type of the barrel used to store wine for the castle.

Then it was on to our second photo shoot of the day, this time on the part of the castle that overlooks the rest of Heidelberg.

Not pictured: The lengthy search for a safe place for Brian to take a picture doing his “lounging” pose.

The photo shoot complete, we went to a restaurant in the Old Town for our last dinner in Germany.

After our dinner of some kind of German ravioli, we walked to the Old Bridge to see the views of the castle.

There, we were able to take group pictures of our group and the group from North Carolina that we had been paired with.

In a July Miracle, everyone kept their eyes open for the picture.

We also located the inspiration for Brian’s lounging pose.
After seeing many palaces and castles, many cities and mountains, and many restaurants and shops in Europe, it was time to go home.

But we’ll always have Heidelberg.

On the trip back, things seemed to be going we well.

Crossing the ocean: check.

Eating an American burger, Chich-Fil-A, or Chipotle upon landing in the United States: check.

Riding a bike for three by Starbucks: check.

Then we ran into some problems.

Photo taken over the peninsula we circled 5 times waiting for storms to clear over Richmond.

Soon we learned that the Richmond storms were forcing us to land in Newport News

Landing in Newport News – I can check THAT off my bucket list.

When we landed, we found that while we would not be able to fly to Richmond, in one of the mysteries of air travel, some of our luggage already had. On the plus side, American Airlines did provide vouchers for taxis to Richmond, which probably did end up being the fastest way there. On the negative side to the taxi ride, the taxi driver subjected Haylee, Asia, Kayla, and Felicia to a DVD of an Eagles concert and a story, repeated at least twice, of the origins of the Henley shirt, while subjecting me to accounts of his days of being in the navy during Vietnam, which would have been amazing considering he could not have been older than 55. So what I’m saying is that on top of an awesome experience in Europe, our travelers have had an air travel experience that will prepare them for almost any airline eventuality.

 

And it was no worse than this attempt to jump in sync.

 

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