Saturday, May 17, 2008

Misnomer...

I am not sure why they call it the 'Romantic Road'. Oh sure, it's scenic as hell. Rolling Green hills passing through quaint medieval towns. But this involves driving. In Germany. It takes three years and about 3000 euros to get a drivers license here. They know what the hell they are doing on the road.

I, by comparison, do not.

Our first day with the car was not so much Romantic Road as 'Mad Max'. With yelling. It is better today. We are in Dinklesb├╝le south of Rothenburg. Great little town. Winding streets with surprises around every corner. We may be trapped here a while. The town appeared abandoned most of the day. It was eerie. Like a zombie movie. The cause was a championship soccer match with the Beyer team won. TV's are showing the city of Munich in a state of ecstatic celebration. Wait till the beer kicks in and the rioting begins. We haven't reserved a room there yet, not sure if we can. Then there's the problem of not wanting to leave. We love this place. Really. I could learn to live in a medieval city, to recycle, to drink beer and have streets clean enough to eat off of. I could get used to trains that run on time, politeness and more kinds of sausage than you can shake a stick at.

And then there's the German addiction to Ice Cream and Baked goods. Don't get me started.

Gotta go now, the bells of the church are chiming the hour. Cake time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I am a bad person...

I must be. When we rolled into the medieval walled city of Rothenberg we were just blown away. Sparred from bombing in WWII is is so well preserved. But the tour only allowed 2 hours or so to see it all. We might wave grudgingly accepted this fate except that THAT very day a medieval pageant was going on commemorating the town being saved from an invading Swiss army. Apparently the Swiss general bet the mayor that he couldn't drink 6 liters of his towns best wine. The Mayor stepped up and delivered. And now the streets were filled with musketeers, artists, pikemen, musicians, a period market.

This was torture.

And what were we supposed to see after a mere two hours in this paradise?

Dachau concentration camp.

And so, we quickly found a local tourism office, tracked town a schedule for the trains, found the tour director and told him outright that we were staying and that we would make our way to Munich on our own. He let us go and we spent the day in the town. Amazing.

Does this make me a bad person? I don't know. At the end of the day as we saw next to a drunken squad of German soldiers I had to admit that my soda tasted no less delicious.

And if I wanted to be technical, we did visit Dachau. Our train passed through the station on our way to the city. So..... Yeah.

Now we're in the Black Forrest region, eating torte and drinking schnapps. Tomorrow he head to Heidelberg and then back to Frankfurt.

Sausages!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Nuremberg

Yesterday we abandoned the tour group and made our way to Leipzig for the Wave Gothic Treffin event. Think Pennsic for goths. What an event. What a day. I will have to wait until I get home to tell the tales of that day. I think it unwise to discuss details while I am still in the country and could face prosecution. Needless to say we made it back to Dresden just in time to head out to the lovely city of Nuremberg.

I am enjoying the tour more and more. Yes, it has drawbacks but we are covering a lot of ground. The one dark cloud so far is and whacking big pain in the ass...Rita.

Rossana pegged her as trouble the moment she opened her mouth. Loud, constantly interrupting, butting into conversations. She rambles endlessly. And it's not just us, she annoys everyone in the group. After a few days of observation we pegged her as suffering some form of metal illness. This doesn't make her any less annoying. People are actively trying to avoid her, but that's not easy.

I have come to really appreciate Germany. It is clean in every sense and they are really going green. There are wind turbines everywhere. Urinals that don't use water. Recycling. The air, the sky, they are somehow brighter.

Today our guide talked about the process of reunification or what happened after the wall came down. It was quite a struggle. West Germany basically inherited an entire country that was broken and broken badly. It took years and Billions of Euros on top of the already high taxes Germans pay. But they did it. So why can't the US rebuild the Gulf Coast?

There is more, much more. I've taken lots of pics, some of which I really hope come out like the armory in the Zwinger Palace or the Altes Museum in Berlin.

Tomorrow we visit Dachau. I would prefer to skip it. My interest in Germany is based in its more distant past. We've already seen several examples of the brutality and waste that was communism in the DDR. This morning we visited a tiny town of only 60 people that was cut in half by the East/West border. For forty years the townspeople couldn't talk or see each other, separated by barbed wire and guard towers. Insanity. Dachau will be far worse.

After that its on to Munich for two days. And after that, we are on our own. So far nothing at home seems to have broken down or caught fire. (knock on wood).