Yet another Rothenburg post. Yes, I have been to other places in the meantime, but I kind of get a little OCD if I don’t publish every last post I have come up with on a subject, so please bear with… There’s just one more after this (at some point!), honest!
Hopefully, by now, I have convinced you that Rothenburg is well worth a visit – Romantic Road trip or no Romantic Road trip…
I hope to an even greater extent that I have convinced you that it is most definitely worth staying too, for that’s when you get to experience the Real Rothenburg away from the tourist crowds, and when you really do feel like you have the whole place to yourselves! If you do plan on staying, then promise me you will take me up on this next recommendation?
Every evening between April and December at 8pm precisely (come rain or shine, and quite possibly deep deep snow), Rothenburg becomes the domain of the Night Watchman… Wait for him by the steps of the town hall – you will know you are in the right place as there will be a smattering of tourists that also eagerly wait nearby. And when he does turn up, you can’t possibly mistake him for anyone else – as he wields a lantern to guide the way, brandishes a halberd to ward off marauders, and has a large cow horn tied around his neck… And today (as they did in days gone by) he will occasionally use this to herald the announcement of important news (of both the good and bad variety- fires were the main thing to watch out for in medieval times), the time of day, and any other emergencies…
I had no idea that there were Night Watchmen in towns such as Rothenburg up until relatively recently (at least up until war time!) but, this Night Watchman has controlled this particular patch for the past 23 years…
After a brief introduction, and a demonstrative blast from said cow-horn you are lead through Rothenburg’s main streets, and lesser known alleyways. And as you follow in his foot-steps listening to his narrative the years fall away, and you really become immersed in the history of your surroundings…
We studied the defences of the town, including the mighty door in one of the main gates. Set into this particular main door is a tiny weeny door built to let in those who missed curfew. Only after answering a few questions correctly would the guards let the miscreant back in, without risking an large scale attack by enemy hoards. Everyone oooed and ahhhed at this ingenious medieval thinking, but in the midst of the crowd, a small (Nine Year Old) hand popped up, and the owner of which promptly asked why the enemy just couldn’t come in through the small door instead. “Well they could…”, said the Night Watchman brandishing his halberd – no further explanation was necessary…
Along the way you will learn all kinds of things from this knowledgeable soul (and may I say at times this knowledge is delivered in a brilliantly droll Monty Python-esque style!), including how the celebrated walls of the town did more to protect the town folk from those intent on taking over this place for themselves (I would be tempted!) – it also kept out disease – in plague times nobody went in or out… You could say its walls and buildings saved Rothenburg in more recent times too – people often ask why it’s so well preserved when many other nearby places were raized to the ground during World War II. But I am afraid that’s a story that you must hear from the mouth of the Night Watchman himself… By the way, this is a tour completely suitable for children if history is their cup of cha – it’s funny, educational and interesting too, and was definitely a highlight for both of mine…
And finally, if you would like robes similar to the Night Watchman, might I suggest you pop along to Spitalgasse where you will find a shop selling all sorts of finery (I would give you the name, but it doesn’t appear to have one – you can’t miss it though!) The Small girl spent a happy half hour trying on all kinds of medieval apparel here, and came out with a beautiful hand-made dress and veil bought with the last of her Christmas money. The Seven Year old came out brandishing a (wooden) sword. Rather sweetly the shop owner had also snuck in a couple of hand-made whistles to the swag unbeknownst to me, which they loved. Don’t tell them, but I might have preferred the sound of the cow horn…
Meeting point – market square in front of town hall at 8pm every day (tour in German at 9.30pm) Price: 7 Euro for adults, children under 12 free of charge.
Annette Moccaldi says
I’ve been promising to buy sweet & FUNNY George’s video for years, but things keep happening. The PANDEMIC was one of the big things that got in the way, and it’s not even gone yet! It keeps mutating! It makes me feel like we’re almost in the Medieval days again. Not really, thank goodness, but it’s a definite reminder! I really want to visit Bavaria someday! And see George do his Night Watchman tour LIVE! NYC is a LONG way from Germany :'(
It is a long way, but if you do get to visit, you must go and see George! :)
Sally Sellwood says
Oh I love this sort of thing – it looks brilliant!
Thanks Sally, it was worth the cold evening for! :D
maggy, red ted art says
You always make me want to visit the places you write about!
Thank you Maggy, I am pleased about that! :)
Oh this looks so cool – I imagine that chap has seen a few bizarre things around town in his time. I had no idea Night watchmen still existed!
Thanks Annie, for historic re-enactment purposes mostly I imagine, but I reckon he has probably seen stranger stuff nowadays than they did back then! :D
Ha ha, how lovely of the shop owner to give you the whistles ;-)
Sounds like an amazing tour, yet another reason to come visit. x
Thank you Emma, you need to book a trip soon! :) x
I’ve always wanted to do this tour! I am going to have to stick around late enough to do it. Maybe this summer when my niece is here.
You must Brooke, I am sure your niece would love it too! :)
Sim @ Sims Life says
That looks amazing, never considered Rothenburg before but I love all the cultural aspects!! Being shown around by The Night Watchman would be cool!x
Thank you! (:
Funky Wellies says
Rothenburg sounds more and more interesting! xx
Thank you… Have you booked it yet? :) xx
How interesting! I wish there was a watchman in every city. If we ever get to visit will definitely go for it!
Thanks Otilia! :)
Sounds like a fabulous place to visit. I know my teen boy would like it. And I adore the final photo…. a lovely street filled with such character. xx
It is a beautiful place. Thanks Jazzy xx
Oh to go travelling! One day I will make the time once the children have grown up and left!
It will be less stressful at times using that method! Thanks Emma :)
I feel really naive in that I did not know that they actually really still exist. So fascinating – thank you for sharing.
Thank you J. This one exists purely for historical re-enactment purposes, but strange to think they were still around in the 1920’s! :)
Lovely, lovely photos as ever Emma! You’ve definitely persuaded me – Rothenburg is well worth a visit! For the wonderful sounding shop in Spitalgasse if nothing else ;-) x
Thanks so much Ruth! :) x
Trish - Mum's Gone to says
Oh I just love this! Reminds me of two places – Ystad in Sweden where the night watchman still sounds his horn from the top of the church and Edinburgh where our costumed guide took us through the underground streets, telling us gory stories about the plague.
I loved Ystad, something so peaceful and beautiful about that place! Will have to go to Edinburgh too one day! Thanks Trish! :)
he is slightly creepy, but the guided historical/Month Python tour sounds but totally awesome :-)
I think he would definitely take that as a compliment! Thanks Elisa! :)