December 2, 2015 - Rottweil, Germany

After the cruise, I had decided to stay in Germany for about another week and a half, while Nannie flew straight back to the U.S. We had to wake up at 2:45 in the morning to be ready in time for her flight! After we were all ready and I'd grabbed some pastries for breakfast, we took the bus to the airport with the rest of the earliest group. Once there, it took 45 minutes for Nannie to get checked in, due to a very long line and terrible organization. Once we'd said goodbye at 5:15, I took the subway to the main train station, bought my ticket, and at 6:10 was on the first of my two trains.

I had decided to go to Rottweil, the oldest town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg and known, of course, for the dog breed that came from it. Martin, an old high school friend of my mom's, lives there with his family, and they had kindly agreed to let me stay with them for a few days. His wife Renate and their daughter Leilani met me at the train station the day I arrived, and drove me home through the medieval center of Rottweil so I could see it. Martin speaks perfect English of course (having grown up in Vermont) and Leilani's is incredible for an eleven-year-old. Renate spoke good English as well, and I somehow managed to communicate quite a lot with their younger son Keanu despite my lack of German and his equal lack of English (although his comprehension was very good)! The first afternoon I arrived Martin, Leilani, and I went to the tower that's under construction in Rottweil. Intended to test a new type of elevator, when completed it will include the highest observation deck in Germany. We also went to the Roman baths that were discovered in the city. In the evening, the whole family went to a small Christmas market at a local hospital. There were lots of kid-friendly activities, like making ornaments and coloring and even making a pin out of a picture they took. In one of the few stalls outdoors, I got a nice decorated candle on a wooden base. We ran into some good friends of Martin and Renate there that I really liked, and then went over to their house for dinner later. The father was German, very funny and interested in languages, and the mother was from Namibia, and was really nice. I enjoyed talking to them and all in all it was a fun evening.

The next day I woke up late, and relaxed and sorted photos until Renate came home at 1. She and the kids took me on a tour of the historic center of Rottweil, including the Black Gate, which opens onto the pretty main street. When I was there they were preparing for the city's main Christmas market (which opened the day after I left), so it wasn't as picturesque as it is normally, but still lovely. We went to the bakery for some pretzels, then saw the church, some pretty fountains, and the oldest building in Rottweil. We had tea in a favorite cafe, with pastries from the shop next door. I got the best-presented cup of tea I've ever had: the teapot sat conveniently on top of the mug, the loose-leaf tea was ready in a strainer, and the tray also included two different types of sugar, a biscuit, and three hourglasses for timing my brewing! Once everyone was home that evening, we had raclette for dinner, which involves ingredients like peppers, bacon, onions, pineapple, sweet corn, and mandarin oranges, assembled in a small pan with a slice of cheese on top and cooked in a special grill. The meal is often eaten around Christmastime, and can take several hours as the small pans are refilled over and over again!

On my last day in Rottweil, Martin kindly let me borrow his bike, since my mom had told me about a nice path that went along the Neckar River. After a bit of trouble finding the path, I eventually connected with it at the train station and rode out of the city towards the Black Forest. After going a little way into the woods, I came out again and went a different way towards the next town over (Göllsdorf), then back along the river to Rottweil. It ended up being two and a half hours, and was a good workout and great fun. I was back for lunch: delicious schupfnudeln (thick noodle/dumpling things) with sauerkraut made by Renate. Yum! In the evening I sorted pictures and watched Leilani doing her “punishment homework” – copying out an essay on forgetfulness for having forgotten something herself! Before everyone went to bed, we took a group photo.

The next morning I said goodbye to Keanu and Leilani as they left for school, then Renate drove me to the train station, and I was off to Karlsruhe!


Waffle at the Christmas Market
Rottweil Christmas Market
At the Christmas Market
Kids' Activities at the Christmas Market


December 14, 2015
Love that you are going for bike rides and hikes in so many of these places - definitely off the tourist trail! Beautiful scenery.
Susan Bowden:
December 15, 2015
If you are on the Neckar river you are near Tubingen which is another very beautiful medieval town where our cousin lived once upon a time. It is worth a visit!Baden Wurtenburg is our favorite part of Germany and includes the Romantic Highway or Romantiche Strasse as the Germans call it. The Christmas Markets are delightful. Enjoy!
December 20, 2015
What times did the hourglasses time? I wonder what different strengths of tea you can make with three hourglasses...
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