From Blempfligen, our foursome rented a large Mercedes SUV and got on the autobahn, driving at speeds of up to 120mph, we raced by colorful fields of cabbage, sunflowers, corn, and hops. Our destination: Rothenburg, an entirely walled city founded in 1274. We also had with us two full sized Labrador Retrievers. Dogs are allowed most everywhere in Germany and considered part of family. We click-clacked through the old cobblestone streets of the large working city and found our way to Zur Holl (“Hell”: given the name due to no sunlight ever shining down this particular long narrow street in the shadows of the ancient wall); Hell is a medieval tavern serving authentic German fare. Two of us ducked inside and found there was a wait to be seated; we did our best to communicate to the owner that we were four people and also had with us TWO DOGS. He nodded in understanding. After a few minutes a waiter came out with two large glasses of blackish beer and said: “Your TWO DARKS”. It took a bit to sort out the misunderstanding and we eventually got seated, including the two dogs.
After dinner, we strolled the streets and came to a large wine festival at the city center. Musicians ambled through the crowd, over 70 regional wines were being offered, and small stands were set up selling tempting delicacies. It was a magical scene and as we walked away, I had to remind myself that it was all real and not made up for tourists with an entrance fee and a punched ticket. This is the type of place Disney modeled itself after, and while they did a great job, it cannot compare to a real Magical Kingdom.
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