Monday, October 16, 2017

Germany Days 8-13

Day 8

We woke up today around 7 a.m.  It was another rather dreary, cloudy day, but there was no prediction for rain.  Eric had his breakfast and headed off to the convention center and I lazed around for a while before getting moving. 

I made my way down to the bakery near the hauptmarkt and bought some muffins for Eric for the next few days and again perused the stalls in the market.  I then took my purchases back to the apartment, ate my breakfast, and then set out for my afternoon of wandering.  I wanted to try and get some more of the old city covered, as so far I seem to keep wandering the same areas.

I discovered there was a gate that was accessible in the old wall right near the apartment.  So I decided to go through there and see what I could discover.  The wall is much larger and wider than it looks.  There is actually a garden and park with a path atop the wall as well as a path which runs below in what would have been the moat that encircles the entire wall/city.  This was like a hidden oasis away from all the crowds of tourists.  I only ran into a few people as I got closer to the actual castle. 

There were some really pretty sections of the garden with plantings of many beautiful flowers and of course all the trees around are changing color and dropping their fall leaves.  I followed this path for quite a way until it reached the castle.  I then hiked the steep cobblestone road up into the castle courtyard.  You have to pay to enter the castle itself but it is free to wander around outside and take pictures from the wall which overlooks the city. 

I then made my way around the back of the castle and down to Konigstrasse which is a pedestrian walkway (large cobblestone street) which bisects almost the entire old walled city from one side to the other.  It is lined with shops (mostly high-end) and is pretty much a really large, long, open-air mall.  I walked all the way to the other end to Frauentor, which is one of the four medieval entrances to Nuremberg’s old town.  Just adjacent to this large tower is the handwerkerhof (craftsman’s courtyard) where I wandered through some of the shops.

After looking at all the neat stuff I didn’t need, I headed back down Konigstrasse for a way before cutting off on a side street.  It is really hard to get lost in the old city.  You just keep going until you hit the old wall and then follow that around or keep going until you hit the river which cuts the city in half.  I kept going down the side street until I came to the wall and then followed it around until it took me back to the apartment.  All in all, I did about 6 miles of walking. 

At one point I had figured I would wind my way around the entire city by going up and down various streets, but being such an old medieval city layout, nothing runs in a straight line.  It would be very hard to zigzag back and forth on the streets. 

Eric got done at the show around 6 and got back to the apartment around 6:30.  We decided for dinner we would try the one restaurant near the Hauptmarkt that apparently had the best s spätzle in town—according to TripAdvisor.  Spätzle is basically the German version of macaroni and cheese but with onions added.

It was very good spätzle and there was so much we ended up taking half of it back to the apartment.  Luckily we had an oven to heat the leftovers up.  The one thing our apartment doesn’t have is a microwave, so you have to go old school.  You just have to make sure you have about 30 minutes to heat up your meal…

After dinner we wandered around a bit and then headed back to the apartment.  Eric was obviously tired after working the show all day. 

Day 9

After Eric had left for the show and I had a bite to eat for breakfast, I headed out in search of a couple essentials.  We needed more toilet paper (very important) and I wanted to buy a wash rag.  I now understand why Rick Steves mentioned a wash cloth on his packing list.  So far none of the places we have stayed has offered a wash cloth.  You get bath towels and hand towels, but no wash cloth. 

So I first checked the discount grocery store for toilet paper.  They had a good price of 1,95 for 8 rolls of recycled toilet paper, but I didn’t need 8 rolls.  I didn’t see any bath scrunchies or wash cloths either, so off I went to the next store.  Next, I went into a small shop that had a little bit of everything and they had some wash mits for 1,99 (not bad).  They are big on wash mits here instead of wash cloths.  A wash mit is basically a washcloth that it stitched over so you just put your hand in one side.

I decided to explore a couple more stores before I made my final decision.  I went in what ended up being a higher-end department store.  They had a lot of nice stuff and had some wash mits on clearance for 1,99 but they were some really wild colors, so I decided to keep looking.  The last store I went in was Muller’s and they had a two-pack of toilet paper (which was a much better size) and also had wash mits for 1,00.  So I made my 1,99 purchase of a wash mit and toilet paper and headed back to the apartment. 

I ended up heating up half of the leftover spätzle for lunch and by that time it was close to 1:30 p.m.  Today was the final day of the convention.  Eric had asked if I could come down to the convention center around 2 o’clock to help them tear down the booth and get everything packed back up for shipping.  So he bought me a ticket for the U-bahn and I managed to make my way down to the convention center, walked over the pedestrian bridge and then caught the bus around to the hall where the European Microwave show was being held. 

The convention center here is huge.  It would be a loooong walk from the train, so thankfully they offer the bus to shuttle people around.  I met Eric at the front of the convention hall and he took me to their booth.  The show was supposed to be over at 4:30 today and he figured most of the booths would probably be packing up early (like the show in Hawaii).  However, most actually waited to pack up until close to 4:30.  So around 4:30 we finally started tearing down the booth.  It didn’t take too long and we had everything put back into the large box on the shipping pallet. 

We had made reservations for four at an Italian restaurant down by the Hauptmarkt for Tim (Radar Systems) who had let Eric (Signal Microwave) share his booth along with Greg (CMC) who was also sharing the booth.  We were cutting it short on time by the time we got done packing up the booth, so we all caught a cab to the restaurant. 

We had a very nice dinner and some good conversation.  After dinner, we treated everyone to gelato at the gelateria near the restaurant.  There are so many restaurants and cafes in the old town area that you could easily eat somewhere different for six months and probably still not have tried every place.  There is no shortage of shopping in the old town either.   Everywhere you look there are shops. 

By the time we got done with our gelato it was nearing 10:30 and Eric needed to get back to the apartment to get ready for his trip to Stuttgart tomorrow.  He had booked himself on the early train to Stuttgart to go visit a customer there for the day to see their plant and talk with their engineers, etc.   So we got back to the apartment and he got all his stuff packed up for the next day.

Day 10

Eric got up early, had a quick breakfast, and headed out to the train station.  It was a beautiful sunny day today.  I did not feel very good and could tell I had a headache coming on, so I had some breakfast and crawled back into bed for a while. 

Later, I managed to get up and take a hot bath, but spent the entire day in the apartment.  A pity too, as the weather was really nice.  Oh well, my feet probably needed a rest.  The day before the callus on the bottom of my right foot was getting really sore from all the walking.  On most days I have probably easily done at least 10 miles of walking. 

Eric made it back around 6:30 p.m. and picked us up falafel wraps for dinner and brought them back to the apartment.  Needless to say, he was beat and we were both ready for bed.

Day 11

It was a beautiful sunny day today.  This was the first full free day Eric would have in Nuremberg, so we got up and headed out first thing to find breakfast.  We went to the bakery down by the Hauptmarkt and Eric got to look around at the stalls in the market.  There are obviously many more stalls set up on the weekend as they get a lot more business then.  We bought a couple things at the Hauptmarkt as well as the bakery and then made our way back to the apartment to eat our breakfast.

After breakfast, we decided to do a little shopping.  We had seen a leather store along the river that had some very nice belts.  Eric decided he could use a new belt since he only has one belt that he has had for 15+ years.  I had also scoped out another leather store in the craft market that had some nice belts. 

On the way to the first leather store, we stopped into the health food store and I bought my souvenir, some German-made essential oils.  It is apparently very hard to get this brand in the United States and they are supposed to be really good. 

Then we made our way to the first leather store and looked at their belts.  We then walked all the way to the other side of town to check out the belts at the craft market.  Eric ended up liking one of the belts at the craft market, so he bought one there.  Of course, he is so skinny they had to cut it down and add about three holes to make it fit him. 

We trekked back across town, back to the Hauptmarkt and bought some flatbread and fresh cheese spreads to have for a late lunch back at the apartment.  We had made reservations for a late dinner at 8:45 at one of the Italian restaurants we could not get into a couple nights ago, which is apparently very good.  So we needed to have something for a couple snacks this afternoon. 

After we made it back to the apartment and Eric had a breather, we packed up some of our stuff (in preparation for our early departure on the train tomorrow morning to Rothenberg).  After we got some of our stuff packed, we ventured out again so I could show Eric the garden park that runs all along the old town wall just outside our apartment and all the way to the castle. 

We made our way along the wall to the castle and then down to the Hauptmarkt and over to the other side of the old city and then back to the apartment.  I think we have done about three laps of the old town today so far.  Then, later for dinner we get to walk almost all the way across town again.  We will easily probably have 15+ miles of walking in today.  I think I have just about worn Eric out…

Around 7 p.m. we decided to head out to see what kind of night photos we could get from the few vantage points we had scoped out.  We headed toward the castle and took a few photos there and then down toward the Hauptmarkt area.  By that time it was getting close to our dinner reservation time of 8:45 so we high-tailed it to the restaurant.  We tried a new Italian restaurant that was very popular and rated very highly on TripAdvisor.  Since it was a rather late dinner, we split a pasta dish that was fabulous—the ratings were correct. 

After dinner we made our way back to a couple other spots we had wanted to try taking some night photos.  After we had exhausted about all the photo spots, we made our way back to the apartment.  By that time I think it was close to 11 o’clock.  We probably made it to bed around midnight. 

Day 12

We got up early, had a little breakfast, took the trash out and cleaned up the dishes in the apartment before trekking our way down the moat path with our luggage all the way to the main train station.  We thought that taking the 9:05 a.m. train on a Sunday would be a good choice.  We didn’t think it would be very busy.  We were wrong—the train was packed.  Luckily there was a very small first-class section which had space available.  The people in coach were packed in and were standing in the aisles. 

We had a very short time to change to our next train at the designated stop.  Like the majority of the trains on our trip so far, our current train was running late.  So we did not think we were going to make our next train which meant we would be sitting at the station for about an hour.  So Eric looked up an alternate route on his phone.  As it turned out, if we stayed on the train we were on and changed to a different train at another station further down the line, it would take a little longer to get there, but it would get us to Rothenburg.  That train also had a first-class car, so we would have a better chance finding someplace to sit if it was busy.  So that is what we did. 

We finally arrived in Rothenberg around 12 p.m. and took a taxi to the hotel.  Eric didn’t feel like hauling the 50-pound bag all the way through town, up and down hills over cobblestones.  It was a good choice after we saw the route to our hotel.  It was super busy in town as well.  I’ve never seen so many tourists wandering everywhere.  You would think it was Disneyland.

We got checked into our hotel and then went out in search of food as we hadn’t had anything of substance since breakfast.  There was an Italian restaurant a very short walk from our hotel, so we decided to try that.  It was very, very good.  After filling our bellies, we decided to walk around town and see if we could get any good photos and scope out any possible night time photos spots.  We had plans to attend the night watchman’s tour at 8 p.m.  It is very well known and very popular.

It got dark around 7 p.m. so Eric got his camera ready and we headed out to see if we could get any good night shots around town before the night watchman’s tour.  We found a few really good spots and managed to get some photos without people in them, which after seeing the crowds earlier, we thought would have been impossible.

At around 8 p.m. we made our way to the town hall to catch the tour which took about an hour.  The guy who leads the tour has been doing it for 20 years and does a really good job and is both entertaining and educational. 

After the tour, we took a few more photos before heading back to the hotel room to get to bed so we could get up early the next morning and attempt to get some morning photos before the crowds overtook the town.

Day 13

We got up around 6:30 and decided we would walk the entire wall around the town.  The majority of the wall is originally, but there are several sections that were rebuilt by donations from all over the world after parts of the wall were bombed in 1945. 

It was a lovely morning walk.  The sun was shining and there was a light fog hanging over the valley as the sun rose.  We only ran into one other person on the wall for the entire 3-miles.

We made it back to our hotel room around 9 a.m. and got cleaned up and finished packing so we could get checked out by 11 a.m.  We were told we could leave our bags at the front desk while we wandered around town until our 3 p.m. train.

By the time we got checked out, we were hungry, so we decided to go to the bakery then to Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum.  It was very interesting seeing all of the way that they got confessions from accused people and what happened to you after you confessed to a crime.  Many of the items on display like shame masks, thumb and leg screws, and documents were originals, several of which were from Rothenburg.

 After the museum we decided to go back to the Italian restaurant we had eaten at yesterday as it was so good.  The weather was beautiful, so we sat outside on the sidewalk as we watched all the other tourists walk by.  There were much smaller crowds today than yesterday.  Obviously, in addition to the usual tour groups, they must get a lot of locals doing daytrips on the weekend.

After having lunch and walking around town a bit and we made our way back to our hotel to catch the cab we had reserved for 2:30.  We wanted to make sure we got to the train station in plenty of time.  It is only a short ride to the train station, but if you miss the train you have to wait an hour for the next one. 

When our train arrived, we climbed aboard to start the couple hour journey through various towns on our way to Frankfurt.  We made all our transfers okay and arrived at the Frankfurt airport station around 6 p.m.  We had a reservation for tonight at the Sheraton which is actually attached to the airport.  Needless to say, we don’t have to worry about getting to the airport tomorrow, as we are already here.

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