Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bad, Wildbad K?

We had a free weekend and all of Europe too close to be ignored, so we decided to make a whirlwind, last-minute trip to Germany.  We'd already traveled through Germany on our way to Salzburg, Austria, but I don't think that counts as actually 'being in Germany'.  We decided to head to Rothenburg because of Uncle Rick's glowing reviews of the "cute medieval city".

You cannot imagine our delight when we found out that our seat reservations on one of the trains was a private compartment!

We felt like we were in Harry Potter - minus those creepy Dementors.

My favorite part of the private compartment was the lack of train smells.

{Side note:  If you're going to backpack across Europe, commit to doing just that and hoof it.  If, along your hiking days, you decide to get on a train where non-crunchy people are traveling please at least step into the WC and take a sink shower.  Just because you're okay with smelling like stale Cheetos and bowling alley shoes doesn't mean I'm okay with it.  Also, I think there are living dead traveling among us.  I can't tell you how many times I smell formaldehyde, or something like it.  Seriously, it's like dissection day in Biology all over again.  Maybe I read too much Dracula in October, but my sniffer doesn't lie.  Are there really nosferatu roaming about Europe on trains with us?}

 Josh did his very best to keep us from arriving in Rothenburg.  Train travel can be tricky, especially when you don't speak the language.  The Swiss train system does an excellent job of announcing in several languages, and I think we're all a bit spoiled by this.  Also, the Swiss trains are very punctual.  If you do miss the name of the stop, you can look at your watch and see what time your tickets say you'll be arriving and know if the stop is yours.  

As we were traveling along to Germany we saw a sign for a stop called, "Bad Wildbad K".  Josh pointed it out and we all had a laugh because it sounded silly.  Like Bond, James Bond-ish.  Anyway, fast forward a few hours and Josh looks at his watch and then at our tickets and deems the next stop to be ours.  We bundle up, gather our bags and rush out the door and Josh reminds us to be looking for Platform 5.  As the train speeds away we notice that this isn't a train station.  It's a single stop.  There is no Platform 5; there's barely a Platform 1.  Turns out our train was running behind schedule (no Swiss precision in Germany) and instead of stepping off at Steinach we were at Bad Wildbad K.  All around us were dense German woods, and spooky howling pierced our tired ears as the sun sank behind the dark trees.  No, I'm not being dramatic.  That happened.  Josh and Cole found an old man wandering around and he helped us read the posted train schedule.  There wouldn't be another train stopping there for over an hour!  It was freezing cold and we were so tired and hungry after hours of traveling. 

I thought about strangling Josh and throwing him to the wolves, 

but decided I might need him to keep warm.

 I debated whether or not I should put this video on here.  If you're going to watch it you have to know a few things: 1) Josh and I give each other hell about stupid mistakes.  It's who we are.  I think it was maybe in our marriage vows.  Any of you who have spent time with us know how we are and that we love just as fiercely as we tease.  In this video I am dishing it out, but later in our trip he did plenty of his own dishing when I told the waitress "auf wiedersehen" when I meant to say thank you2) If you're offended by someone calling a spade a spade (or a dumbass a dumbass) just keep scrolling and don't watch.

Eventually our train came and we made it to Rothenburg unscathed.

The next morning we enjoyed a wonderful Nutella-filled breakfast.

Rothenburg is just gorgeous.

We saw evidence of Uncle Rick everywhere.

An ancient Rothenburg flag

We toured through the old city vaults

and dungeon.

This dungeon was also used as a bomb shelter during World War 2.

I was really hoping to capture some ghosts in my pictures but it didn't happen.


Many thanks to Cody Jones (a sweet fellow 3L back at OU) for tweaking this picture to include a ghost.  Can you see it?  Thanks so much Cody!

We toured a gorgeous Lutheran church.

The woodwork, carvings, and stained glass were breathtaking.

This piece was upstairs in the back of the main church area.

Josh found a friend near the church steps.

Town hall

More pictures of the square

Our teeth chattered during our entire stay in Germany.  We saw this apple cider cart and were intrigued and eager to warm up a little.

The cider was warm, tart, and delicious.


Next it was on to the Christmas Store and Museum!
Ava found a friend near the entrance.

Just inside the door of the store/museum there is an entire town with stuffed animals who move around and perform the cutest tasks.  I think Ava would have stayed here for the whole weekend, though Cole said it would have been too creepy at night.  Pictures weren't allowed beyond this point, but we have many souvenirs to cherish and share.

I was determined to have a traditional German meal: beer, bratwurst, and sauerkraut.  We decided to have lunch at the next place with kraut on the menu and found this place in about two steps.

I normally don't drink beer, but in combination with this plate of German goodness I couldn't resist.  The food was unbelievably good.

Ava ordered her new favorite since Austria, wienerschnitzel; Cole ordered wienerschnitzel with mushroom sauce.

Josh had a German meatloaf.  We all sampled each others food and left with jolly bellies.

 Next on our agenda was to try the famous dessert: Schneeballen.

Schneeballen are layers of shortbread strips formed into a ball.  They are dipped in chocolate or white chocolate, or dusted with sugar.

They were not too sweet, and melted in your mouth.  So yummy!

We all had half a Schneeballen for dessert again later, since they were too big to eat in one sitting.

Josh and Cole went to the Crime Museum while Ava and I went to happier places filled with Christmas goodness.

My cuckoo in front of a giant cuckoo clock

Ava loves gummy candies, so she was in Haribo heaven.

 Silly girl

Another friend

Trip-trapping across a bridge in the most wonderful toy store I've ever seen.  The toys were displayed in large, warmly-lit toadstools.  The ceiling was a canopy of twinkle lights and leafy tree branches.  Ava and I pretended to be fairies as we explored all the nooks and crannies.

Later we returned to the hotel and layered on as many clothes as we could.  Some of us wore pajamas under our jeans.  One of us counted up 11 articles of clothing worn.  Then we headed out into the frigid night.

Ava and Josh hunted for pinecones beneath the giant Christmas tree.

A kind man  from Philadelphia snapped a picture for us and then told us he could tell we were from Texas because of our accents.  Really?  Us with accents?  You don't say.

Soon a dark figure with lantern in hand loomed up the cobblestone street.

It was time for the Rothenburg Night Watchman Tour!

The clock struck 8:00 and we were off.

Rothenburg had Night Watchmen on duty until 1920.  This watchman has been guiding a nightly tour for the past 20 years.  He showed us how they used a horn to alert sleeping town people of fire.

The tour was one of the highlights of our time in Rothenburg.  To read more about the history of the ancient city and learn more about the tour click here.

The next morning Ava slept as we packed up our suitcases.

 We took one last chilly walk around the city before our train ride home.

A memorial to the Rothenburg Jews who lost their lives in World War 2.


I loved this vine

A cold Cole in front of the big tree

In a few days Rothenburg will really go Christmas crazy as the Christmas Market opens.  I'd love to come back someday and see the city in full holiday swing.

Such a great little traveler!

We all wanted to take one more gander through the Christmas store.

Guess where Ava spent most of her time?

The same family has owned this house for more than 300 years.  Cole considered ringing their very vintage doorbells.

Walking in step, my inner band nerd was crying happy tears.

"Look Mommy, an Ava-sized door!"

Checking the map

According the the Night Watchman, this tiny door was used by people who missed curfew.  Instead of opening the huge door, and risking enemy attack, the late comer would pay a hefty fine and climb through the small opening.

Through the old walls

Another tower shot

Even though it was almost noon, frost still covered every surface.

City walls overlooking a cliff.  This part was cut out with a hole where the townspeople could pour tar onto would-be attackers.  I mentioned this and Ava said, "They would pour cars on  people?"  Silly girl.

Ava thought this looked like the entrance to The Secret Garden.

A very famous shot of Rothenburg, seen in almost every postcard, print, and even our new Advent calendar

Gorgeous buildings on our walk back to the hotel

Cutest Night Watchman ever!

In front of our lovely hotel

*Confession Time*
Our hotel offered free breakfast.  They had large trays of cold cuts, cheeses, and fresh-baked bread.  We knew our train trip home would be long, maybe even longer than we anticipated with Josh in the lead, right?  So we did what any good American would do.  We went to breakfast on Monday morning armed with Ziplocks.  While we enjoyed our Nutella toast, eggs, and fruit with yogurt we each made and packed a sandwich to have for lunch later.

Dishonest?  Maybe.
Delicious?  Most definitely.

I'm happy to report that we made it home without any detours, though Josh did try to make us exit the train at the wrong Basel station.  We stayed up late washing all our clothes and hanging them in the attic.  We're hoping they dry before Wednesday evening - when we have to pack up again for PARIS.  The girls have no idea, but we'll be spending four nights/five days in a hotel at Disneyland Paris!  The park is a 30-minute train ride from the city; we'll split our time between the city and the park.  I can't wait for Ava to hop off the train expecting another dusty old city and instead see Cinderella's castle!  We'll have our cameras ready to capture her face.  Until then enjoy these pictures from our past week.  Lots of love to all our loyal readers.


Adriane said...

I love the video...happy to see someone approaches marriage in a similar manner. Shaun's been a dumbass a time or two, himself. It's all in good fun. :-)

Patrick Broaddus said...

I think that video will have to suffice to tide our little family over till we can sit back and have front row seats for the real deal! Hahahaha! Hope you are having a happy birthday half a world away. Tell Josh and Ava hello from all the Broaddus'. Miss you guys.

The Broaddus Family said...

Love your posts and the video. It makes me have warm fuzzies in my heart for our friends! Tonight as we were driving and running errands, Patrick took the liberty to compare our current lives. It went something like this... "The Locketts are grocery shopping at quaint little stores in Switzerland with really yummy cheese, we're going to Walmart (mind you, both cultural experiences just in completely different ways)... the Locketts are spending weekends in Germany and Paris while we're staying in the thriving prison-filled metropolis of Huntsville..." ya'll win. ;)