It was a windy, cool morning in Rothenburg but the sun came out and the wind died down as the day went by, resulting in quite a pleasant afternoon. We started the day with a very nice breakfast provided by Walter and his wife, Heike. Little touches like mini-yogurt parfaits and egg slices with caviar on top were quite a pleasant surprise.
Our first excursion of the day took us to the Kriminalmuseum (Medieval Crime and Punishment). This was a very interesting experience. The exhibits describe the judicial system and the punishments doled out. Many of the actual instruments of torture (for this was used as a way of obtaining a confession) and punishment are on display.
Public shaming was very common for minor offences.
More serious offences usually resulted in a death sentence – with quite a variety of ways to handle this.
The torture and punishment exhibits were quite disconcerting and regardless of what we may think of today’s judicial system, we have certainly come a long way in humane treatment!
The museum also contains a number of exhibits of ancient documents – personal papers (e.g., birth & marriage certificates, work papers & certification), Royal decrees, papal election records, etc. These were very interesting and the age of many of them was quite amazing (e.g., 9th century).
After the museum, we felt we needed something more uplifting. D&L popped into a few shops, making a couple of purchases, and then took a coffee break. H&B took in the German Christmas Museum. This museum traces the history of the celebrations and traditions that are part of our modern Christmas. We really enjoyed the displays of Christmas trees & decorations, the origin of Santa Claus, advent calendars, Christmas cards, etc. We then spent quite a bit of time browsing through the many rooms of the attached Christmas store – to find the perfect souvenir ornament.
Meeting back up at Marktplatz, we made a brief foray into New Town for Harv to stop by the Ford dealer and pick up a few brochures for his collection (it seems he can read German when it is auto related).
We stayed outside the wall and followed a path through the woods and down to the Tauber River, where we saw the Tauberschlosschen (Toppler Castle). This tiny tower was built partly as a defensive tower, partly as a moated castle residence in 1388.
We had a bit of a picnic by the side of the road and then undertook the climb back up from the valley. Continuing on paths outside the wall, we passed a vineyard, exclaimed at the magnificent views and arrived at the Kobolzell Church, which dates back to 14th century. Next to the church stands a Roman-style double bridge.
Back in the the old town, we stopped for a coffee and schneeballen break. These Rothenburg specialties are everywhere you look in the town. Basically a ball of pastry that has been deep-fried, they come in varieties that are coated with various things. Yesterday we had tried a sugared variety and were not very impressed. Today we decided to give it one more shot with the chocolate covered version and it was much more tasty – also, the pastry seemed much lighter at this shop than the other. One other note – apparently, schneeballen have an 8 week shelf life. This helped to answer our question of what they did with all the ones that hadn’t sold at the end of a day.
We had an excellent evening – but I am going to leave that to our entertainment critic to review in a blog posting tomorrow, so stay tuned!