On the Road in Bavaria Day Two: Where Chastity Belts Meet Christmas Trees

This is Part Two in a multi-post series about the first roadtrip Nicole and I took together. We can’t wait to share our upcoming adventures from our Southwest roadtrip this fall!

After a restful night’s sleep, we awoke to a gorgeous October morning in Rothenburg, Germany. Wait, scratch that: I awoke from a restful night’s sleep. Nicole’s insomnia had set in, a harbinger of what was to come for the rest of our trip. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our first German breakfast, a hearty selection of crusty rolls, local meats and cheeses, fresh berries, and yogurt. Love those German breakfasts!

With a full day and night in town, we started off with my number-one, must-see attraction: the Medieval Crime Museum. I’ve written about the museum before, so I’ll just share a few more pics. With four floors, the museum is comprehensive, informative, entertaining, and yes, dark. (Where else can you view a selection of chastity belts, shame masks, weapons, an execution chair, and an Iron Maiden?)

view from Rothenburg's Medieval Crime Museum

The view from Rothenburg’s Medieval Crime Museum

a chastity belt

An authentic chastity belt at the museum

a shame mask of a pig for gluttons

A shame mask shaped like a pig. Gluttons were forced to wear this as punishment.

medieval execution chair

An actual Medieval execution chair. Yikes.

Next up, a visit to the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store, which claims to offer the world’s largest selection of holiday decorations. I’m a little “meh” on Christmas myself, but Nicole absolutely LOVES the holiday season and was determined to pick up a few traditional ornaments for herself and her family. As ambivalent as I’d felt initially, I’m really glad we visited the store, even if I did leave about $60 poorer than when I entered. The shop is huge, with multiple trees decorated to the hilt and rack after rack of ornaments. It was impossible not to smile.

Christmas teddy bears in Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas-y teddy bears on display

schneeballen pastry in Rothenburg, Germany

The dreaded schneeballen. It did last about 8 days in my luggage before Nic finally made me toss it.

After another filling Bavarian lunch (weiner schnitzel!), we strolled around town, in search of some sweet treats. While researching this trip, we’d come across many descriptions of scheenballen (“snowballs”), a pastry that’s a specialty of Rothenburg. While travel writer Rick Steves had been less than impressed with these donut-like balls, we were intrigued. I mean, I’ve never met a sweet I didn’t like. How were they, you ask? Well, when the clerk tells you, “They’ll keep for two months,” you should take that as a sign that said treat will be… dry. So long, schneeballen.

A street in Rothenburg, Germany

A street in Rothenburg

Timber-frame houses in Rothenburg, Germany

I mean, could these houses be any cuter?

Colorful houses in medieval Rothenburg, Germany

More colorful houses in Rothenburg

Soon, it was time for our other much-anticipated stop: the Night Watchman’s tour! If you know anything about Rothenburg, you know you can’t miss this fascinating walk around the town, guided by “night watchman” Hans Georg Baumgartner. Steeped in history (and, of course, drama), the tour starts at 8 p.m. and is worth every Euro—7, to be exact. Although it started raining almost the minute our tour began, the bad weather didn’t hamper an otherwise awesome walk.

monkey head and globe on a truck in Rothenburg, Germany

No idea what this is, but I like it!

Rothenburg town square at dusk

The town square—starting point of the Night Watchman’s Tour—at dusk.

We had enjoyed the previous night’s meal so much that we returned for the exact same thing before retiring to our guesthouse. We had a drive to the alpine town of Jungholz, Austria planned the next day and—unbeknownst to us at the time—some even wilder weather in store….

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