Monday, June 28, 2010

GERMANY TRIP BLOG DAY 4 - 5-26-10 - Autobahn & Rothenburg - St. Jacobs - Crime & Punishment Museum - Night Watchman Tour

Slept pretty good. Felt ok when Nani woke us up at 7:30. I got my shower stuff out, got in the shower, and couldn't figure out how to turn it on so hot water ran. Finally asked Matt for help. Ahhhhh….Clean can’t ever be over-rated.
Monk, their pet chipmunk, was up and running around his 6 foot high cage. Natasha, the dog saw him and soon they were nose to nose. Very cute. They’re good friends. Nani, Maryam, Matt, and I went to Peter and Marlies's house for breakfast. Nani stayed a few minutes, then left for work.
Expansive breakfast, like only Marlies can create – cheeses, meats, left-over scrambled eggs from yesterday warmed just for me, jelly Marlies made herself (picked the fruit and everything!). There was a poached egg in an egg cup and I spent most breakfasts in Germany perfecting my “smoothly whacking the top off the egg” technique. I averaged 3 eggs for breakfast (12-15 g of protein is average for my meal), so I got pretty good. Plus there were fresh rolls and bread Marlies bought at the store this morning! She got up at 3:00 a.m. That woman works so hard. She's amazing.
Marlies brought out the family photo calendar her other daughter, Sabine, gives her once a year, so I could "meet" her other daughter's family (they live too far for a quick visit). Sabine, like Nani, has 2 boys and a girl.
Peter, Matt, Mom, and Marlies spent some chaotic time trying to firm up plans and dates, for the Dresden part of our trip (Peter and Marlies will meet us there).
After our meal, Marlies immediately started making sandwiches for us with leftover rolls, cheese, and meat. I helped her figure out who preferred what on their sandwiches while Maryam and I cleared the table. Maryam told me Marlies cooks like this all the time.
Maryam is studying to be a midwife. Her boyfriend is in medical school to become a doctor though he hasn’t decided what branch of medicine he wants to specialize in. He falls in love with each area he interns in. Matt helped bring over the rest of our bags and packed the car. Everything fits, but it's a little scrunched. Today it was colder, and it started to rain before we left.
Marlies really wanted all of us to just sit outside for 10 minutes, but because of the weather, we sat in the living room instead. (The living room table always had an assortment of 7 different types of chocolates – half of which had liquor inside. European chocolate with alcohol makes a delicious combination.)
Marlies was glad it rained – meant she didn't have to garden today. To thank her for all she’s done, and because I suspected she desperately needed it, I rubbed Marlies’s shoulders. Peter started looking like a puppy needing attention, so then I rubbed his shoulders. He moaned and groaned appreciatively. Matt gave them the wine we brought them from the U.S. They were surprised, delighted and pleased (we knew they had a fairly extensive wine collection, so figured it’d make a good gift).
Matt followed Peter to the Autobahn, where he went 90 mph while cars raced past him. He slowed (as did everyone else) when it rained, then poured. The lanes got really skinny at one point (keep in mind, it’s hard to see because of all the water dumping on us), but the big trucks precisely stayed within their lanes. Mom promised Matt a beer for his excellent driving.
I read up on Rothenburg (where we were heading), ate one of my sandwiches, and tried to sleep, but couldn't get comfortable enough. Still tired from the flight migraine. Read a horror book I’ll review for, about the Black Plague coming to TX.
We drove 3-4 hours. I laid my head on my lap, but couldn't actually sleep.
Matt and Mom had problems trying to find out hotel. The car’s GPS and map weren’t helpful. It was still pouring. Growing more and more tired, I just tried to hang on. Matt asked for directions and we finally found our hotel. I was so tired my body ached. Went straight to bed and slept for a few hours while everyone else ate their sandwiches. Felt a lot better when Matt woke me.

Altar of the Holy Blood – 35 feet high, carved wood, 1499-1504 by Tilman Riemenschneider to hold a crystal that contains a cloth with wine spilled "miraculously" into the shape of a cross (too high up to see). The figure of Judas can be removed from the carving of The Last Supper. For the 4 days before Easter, they take him out.
Huge wooden organ in the loft, across from the Holy Blood carving.
1350ish – side altar carved from stone has Father and Son connected by a dove touching both. Christ stands on a skull to indicate he conquered death.
1466 – Frecrich Herlin carved the wooden altar. Painting of Jesus face in the back has the illusion that his eyes are always looking at you, no matter where you stand. (Not spooky, just neat.)

We also saw another fountain in the town. In front of many shops are fancy iron and gold signs.

Various "masks of shame" and torture devices, plus other artifacts from the era.

In the smaller Christmas store, Matt and I got some 3 inch high, wooden, carved, evergreen trees, plus I really loved a beer mug key chain. Real liquid and foam inside the mug that moves around as you tilt it. Thick plastic on top keeps it contained. Awesome!
Mom bought a teddy bear for her dear friend Patti and went to a bank to get money to have it shipped.
We were hungry, so found a restaurant. I got the lobster soup. Matt and Dad drank tall mugs of dark beer. I hate beer. Mom tolerates it enough to sample one sip from each beer Dad bought, just to experience the variety of flavors. Bitter flavors and I don’t get along at all. I don’t do coffee, mocha, or beer.
While doing Diary in the hotel, Matt said, "For the first time, I have motivation to keep learning German, because I really like Nani’s kids and want to find out what happens to them." Aw…..

Our tour guide started doing the Night Watchman tours 20 years ago after reading an article on night watchmen in the paper. He's from a nearby town and is completely fluent in English.
Night watchmen (there were 6 in town) each covered a district of town. Only thieves, murderers, and crooks were out at night. Watchmen made sure doors were locked, and walked around the city all night. They lit the lamps of the city too. The last night watchman stopped working in 1920.
The watchman showed us his spear and horn, which was blown if there was a fire (#1 fear). He asked if there were any fires around. I pointed to his lantern fire. He looked like no one had ever said that before, admitted it counted, and blew his horn.
We watched the Town Hall clock go off, and windows open for the "re-enactment" of the mayor drinking a huge stein of beer in one gulp to save the town from an invading force (who bet him he couldn’t do it and promised to leave if he could). Got my picture taken with the Night Watchman. Hard to hear him because people talked, and a little over half way through the tour, it started pouring again.
The Night Watchman showed us the house belonging to the richest family in town. Centuries old. Has a huge door (for carriages) with a smaller door inside it (for people). The owners, tired of tourists testing to see if they worked, have disabled the four pulley doorbells.
We saw the worm hole, where people could sneak out of town once the gates closed.
Walked through the last remaining gate of the city and it started raining. Not quite pouring, but big drops of solid rain.

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