We slept our jet lag away by going to bed early the night before. Wise decision it was; we were bright and alert the next morning to explore more of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
A peek out of the window in our room while getting ready to go out brought on some excited squeals from me: a thin layer of snow descended upon the town while we were sleeping and blanketed everywhere with a thin, white layer. Instantly, the view from our room became much more picturesque. We couldn’t wait to see more of the snow-covered town.
We headed out after a quick, functional and forgettable breakfast at the guesthouse, determined to make up for lost time (from retiring early last night). The streets were quiet, almost void of any living souls, save for the residents leaving the town for work or the shop owners getting ready for the weekend tourist crowd. We truly enjoyed the peace and tranquility that came with waking up earlier than the rest of the tourists who chose to stay overnight in the town too.
Rothenburg is a small town; one could get to anywhere on foot. We walked toward the main entrance to/exit of the town when it started snowing again. The mister was all excited about it and wanted to take pictures with the falling snow. Following that, we stood on the sidewalk and observed how cars were entering and leaving the town via a stone archway that could only accommodate one car at any one time. I can’t speak for the mister but as a driver, I was thoroughly intrigued by the scene in front of me. There were no traffic lights in sight to regulate the traffic, yet the drivers seemed to know when it was their turn to make the approach toward the archway. To make things even more inexplicable, it was not like there wasn’t a queue of cars, both ways. Everyone was patiently and courteously waiting.
This system could never work in Singapore. We are in general too impatient and too reliant on traffic lights. It would take a long while for us to pick up this code of honour in driving, or maybe, never.
We finally found the way up the walkway atop the town wall. The well-preserved wall dates back to the medieval times when it was a necessity to protect the town against hostile perpetrators. Now, scaling the wall is the best way for tourists to enjoy a panoramic overview of the scenic town and its surroundings.
We took much longer than usual to finish the whole circumference because I was stopping oft to take pictures. It stopped snowing, started and then stopped again while we were on the wall. And my fingers were getting freezy from the cold morning air. Along the way, we spied the coaches carpark just outside town and saw numerous coaches parked in lots and a steady stream of day tourists walking toward the main street of the town. Timely reminder that it was a Saturday and that the quiet time we enjoyed would soon be over.
On the way back to the main street of Rothenburg, we passed by Plönlein Fork, one of the most photographed scene of Rothenburg. The sun was just rising and the rays were gently shining upon us. It was a beautiful sight to behold and I am glad I was able to capture that enthralling moment.
The weekend crowd were indeed walking toward the town square where the Christmas Market was situated. We spent the rest of the day jostling with many, many tourists who were on a day trip to the town, ate the 1/2-metre long sausage bun several times, and even mustered enough courage to try to horrendously sweet-looking Schneebälle (Snow Balls) – mini ones, that was. We were still not brave enough to try the usual-sized Schneebälle.
I even made time to attend an evening mass at St. John’s Church all by myself. I stuck out like a sore thumb with my black hair and decidedly Asian face. Some stared, while many others carefully averted their eyes. It was my first Mass in a foreign land, and although I couldn’t understand most parts of the sermon, it was easy to follow along since the proceedings of Masses all over the world strictly follow an order. During the time when I was spending some time building a relationship with God, the mister lingered along the streets while waiting for me. While he knew I would be safe alone in the Church with the rest of the congregation, he wasn’t leaving things to chances and wanted to be around the moment I left the Church. You could say he is paranoid, or dedicated. I think it’s sweet.
We spent our second, and final night in Rothenburg at the Christmas Market. By and by, more and more of the day troopers left town and it slowly reverted to the quiet and tranquil state that we liked.
Once again, we had an early night after packing. Had to wake up early the next morning to catch the first train out of Rothenburg.