Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg is a charming little medieval town above the river Tauber in Bavaria, Germany. It has remained unchanged for centuries, with red roof houses overlooking the river, encircled by walls and towers which offer great views of the city, cobbled lanes, churches, historical buildings, a medieval Crime Museum (displaying devices of torture and execution) . The market place (Marktplatz} is the center of the town, and its most famous building is the Town Hall (Rathaus).

Christmas is not so far away, so it 's a proper time to mention the fact that this town has the reputation of being "town of eternal Christmas"; it specializes in Christmas gifts and souvenirs, local shops selling them all year round. In December its center becomes a big Christmas market. There's also a Christmas Museum exhibiting traditions of Christmas decorations , ornaments and figures.

I had a rather unpleasant incident while in pleasant Rothenburg. At that time, I started collecting tiny mechanical wrist watches as a hobby. I saw some nice models in a store in the center of the city, so while there, I opened a small pad to write down prices and features of the several displayed watches , in order to make a buying decision.

A saleswoman seeing me look at the watch items and scribbling in my pad started to yell at me; she thought I was some kind of spy for another store. I tried to explain to her in my very broken german what I was doing, but she kept on yelling. Judging by her accent she was hungarian, not german , which is a different mentality. Anyway, I decided to give up my purchase plan , and to avoid further embarrassment I left the store.

I then entered a nearby coffee shop and ordered a slice of 'black forest' cake and an esspresso. Suddenly, as from nowhere, the 'hungarian' appeared at my table asking for forgiveness and trying to drag me back to the shop, promising a big discount. It appeared that someone who had witnessed the incident reported it to the manager and she was in trouble. With my mouth full of the delicious cake I told her zu spat, that is, too late. I've just decided to give up my costly hobby. and I'm celebrating my decision over the german traditional black forest cake.

Would she care to join me? ( After all, I felt a bit guilty about the whole thing; maybe I should have asked permission prior to my writing down the info about the watches). 'To Hell with work', she said, and accepted my invitation. aLL's wELL tHAT eNDS wELL.

town wall encircling the historic center


  1. Greetings Duta,

    I think you were well within your rights to write down the prices. The clerk, because of the language barrier made this a very unfortunate and unpleasant experience for you. The Christmas spirit and her senses must have eluded her momentarily.

    However, you responded with grace and style. Nothing says sorry like sharing company over delicious black forest cake and espresso. Yummy!

  2. Wonderful photos and such a great story, Duta. I so enjoy your postings. You are such a special person to offer to share your table with her after she treated you so poorly. I applaud you.

  3. You introduce me to so many wonderful places in the World, Duta, and this is one of them. And oh how I so wish I could have shared the black forest gateau - it is one of my favourites! And how forgiving of you to ask her to join you after what had happened: you must have a kind heart.

  4. Looks like a fascinating place to visit, and I love these places that still have that 'old' feel and look. I don't know if this story happened recently or long ago, but I know that I'm very paranoid about doing anything in stores today that could be construed as shoplifting! I'm a chapstick addict and also use a kleenex quite frequently, so I make sure I have them in my hand or pocket before shopping so that I don't have to keep reaching into my purse! I've more than once caught a salesperson or even a shopper glance at my hand as it goes from face to purse to see what I'm up to, and that's very disconcerting when you're guilty of nothing more than chapped lips and a runny nose!

    Thanks for the visit to a new place...

  5. That's a great short story Duta, with a happy ending.

    I spent two years in Germany and loved all the places I was lucky enough to visit during that time.

    Auf Wiedersehen mein Freund.

  6. What incredible old buildings...just beautiful. Loved the story of the angry salesclerk and your gracious response to her apology. People do make mistakes. That cake sure sounds good.

  7. Angelina,

    I think you see it right. But in the end, since the saleswoman was in distress I felt kind of sorry for her

  8. C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    I'm glad and honored that you enjoyed the story and the photos.
    As for the saleswoman, I'not revengeful by nature so when I understood she was in trouble because of the incident with me, I tried to ' soften the blow'.

  9. Vera,

    My mouth is watering from just thinking of the gateau. I felt I wish to be generous to the saleswoman as she was in trouble and I, on the contrary, following the incident with her, made a good decision to give up an expensive hobby.

  10. TallTchr,

    I ADORE the word classy. So thank you very much.

  11. Wander to he Wayside,

    The issue, ridiculous as it may sound,was espionage, not shoptlifting. The woman used the german word 'konkurrenz' (competition) she suspected that I work for the competitor, some rival store. Anyway, it was not a pleasant situation.

  12. PhilipH,

    Thanks for the compliment. Indeed there are some great places in Germany and I believe you had a marvellous time there.
    Auf Wiedersehen!

  13. Janie B,
    You're right about all three issues: The old buildings are beautiful, the black forest cake is delicious, people make mistakes (the saleswoman made a double mistake: she offended me, and she 'chased away' a client)

  14. black forest make me hungry! Different cultures make for interesting interpretation of things! You took it well!

  15. A lovely picture of that village, and I enjoyed that story - I think I would have done the same. You travel to some very interesting places!
    And I have to agree, cake makes anything so much better!

  16. I love the architecture of the village. Thank you so much for sharing. I also love the fact that you offered to share your black forest moment with a stranger who had been so very rude to you. Your a good woman Duta. MMMMMMM chocolate black forest is my birthday and if I get a cake I will have to bake it and your description of this one has made my mouth water so off to the kitchen I go. Have a wonderfully blessed day....I'm gonna!!!

  17. jeannette stgermain,

    You're right about different cultures; the saleswoman was indeed of hungarian origin which indicated a somewhat different mentality from the german one; she just got carried away by her suspicion of 'espionage'

  18. Arika,

    Very glad you've enjoyed the story. Indeed, a good cake sweetens and smooths everything.

  19. Nezzy,

    Yes, this small town is an architectural well preserved gem. As for the woman, she had indeed been rude to me, but in the end I felt happy and she was in distress, so I forgave her, and cake was my way to show it.

  20. Thanks for sharing that story, Duta. I haven't been on the computer much lately. My daughter is getting married this next Saturday, so I have been out of town helping her with last minute details. I actually might be in Rostock, Germany right now, if not for the wedding. I have a friend who is staying there with her daughter, and she had thought it would be a good opportunity for me to visit. I've never been to Europe, so I would probably have jumped at the chance.

    Anyway, I always look forward to your posts - they're always interesting and informative. What a nice ending to an incident that could have ruined your day if you had let it. Now I'm hungry for Black Forest Cake - you just don't find that everywhere.

  21. Hi Bica,
    Thanks for stopping by despite your being busy with your daughter's wedding. I greatly appreciate your comments.

    I wish your daughter a beautiful wedding and a happy marriage! After the wedding may be you could still use the opportunity and visit your friend in Germany; a change of scenery will give you a lot of pleasure.
    Anyway , Good Luck with everything!

  22. Those buildings looks like something straight out of Disney World.

  23. Kimberley,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Those buildings turned the small town into a big touristic attraction; they're very cute and very old. Anyway it's a very special place.

  24. So when we meet in person I'm going to be rude in hopes of getting some cake out of the deal! I like seeing the world through your eyes Duta!

  25. Hey Duta, I have an award for you on my blog. Come and get it!

  26. The Bug,

    Your humour is something!
    Well, the woman came to apologize and she seemed to be in trouble, so I softened.

  27. Janie B.

    Thanks Janie; that's very kind of you.

  28. DUTA, as usual, wonderful pictures, and a fun story. I couldn't help but think that your paranoid Hungarian may have grown up under communist rule there. I've known several people who've come from formerly communist countries, and grew up under communist rule. Paranoid doesn't even begin to cover it! It's more like terrified.

    Many years ago I lived in an Apartment building that was very popular with Russian Immigrants, I've got no clue why, I don't associate Denver with being a destination for Russians, but the small Russian community was concentrated in that building. It was small enough that there were two floors above me that had been primarily rented out to recently arrived Russians, many of whom were old enough to have grown up and been adults during the Soviet rule.

    I'm the sort of person who will chat with people in an elevator. "Oh hello, doing your laundry? The elevator really helps, doesn't it?" or "Pretty day, do you have plans?" That sort of thing. Well, it took about two months of living there before I realized that past a certain age, I was terrifying the heck out of these folks with inquiries! I'd comment on laundry, and the person next to me would assent, yes, they were doing laundry, and then hug their basket a bit closer, while staring at me, with fear.

    One of my friends was in Russian studies, and she finally took pity on my and explained, "Under communist rule, neighbors don't ask the same sort of friendly questions. You never, ever ask about what someone is doing. It's interpreted as an accusation. Just smile and nod."

    I followed her advice and stopped scaring the heck out of my neighbors in elevators.

    You handled that situation well, and it was kind of you to ask her to join you. Truthfully, you did her a favor. Paranoia and commission sales do not mix well!

  29. Land of shimp,

    Thank you for such a detailed and interesting comment. Indeed, people who lived under the communism regime might react sometimes in very strange ways. You've assessed the "hungarian" correctly.

  30. What a beautiful picture. I am always taking pictures inside of places, I often wonder what people think.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog, and following. I will return the favor.


  31. Someone's Mom,

    Hi Sue, Welcome to my little blog. I'm glad you liked the picture. Happy following to both of us!

  32. Hi Duta,
    Great story and great pictures. What a special person you are. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on the crocheting my mom does. She is quite the artist :-)

    Be Well!

  33. Alicia,

    Thanks for the compliment. I like the stories about your gifted mother. Do tell them often. I enjoy reading them.

  34. Jane's Place and Mt Forest Pictures,

    Hi Jane. Welcome to my blog and thank you for the visit and for the comment. I'm going to follow your blog and hope that will be reciprocal.

  35. Duta,
    You always have the most wonderful adventures in your travels! I think you must be a wonderful traveling companion.

  36. Hello Duta :D

    I love this story! It's so funny that you write about it because I have heard of this place before and have been thinking about visiting it at Christmastime. I love the pictures and your words.

    I have not been on the blog so it has taken me too long to come over here...please forgive me for not coming sooner. I have been not feeling well and trying to rest.

    Okay, Duta, thank you for your fun story and wonderful pictures! I love to visit you here and appreciate you very, very much, friend :D



  37. Hi Lisa,

    Good to hear from you.
    Well, adventures, small or big, just happen. I believe they happen to anyone, only not anyone is willing to memorize the happenings and then if given the chance, write about them.

  38. TheChicGeek,

    There's nothing to forgive. I'm sorry you felt unwell. You should indeed rest more. I feel through the lines of your posts that you're a very active person, and as such it's easy to get tired.

    I also like to visit your site, and I'm not amazed at the increasing number of people that enjoy following your blog.

  39. A bad begining but happy ending story for you. The town seems to be very quaint. Peace

  40. Lady Di Tn,

    Hi! Thanks for the comment. You're correc: the town seems quaint and there's a happy ending o the sory.
    Peace & Love to you too.

  41. ryn: Thank you! and Thanks for coming by my blog!

  42. Wow! Those red-roofed buildings look like they came straight from a Bosch painting! That would be a wonderful palce to visit... hmm... each year I wonder about going over for one of the famed Christmas markets.... I wonder if this will be the year? You have go me thinking!

    Hope the cake was yummy enough to make up for your being shouted at!

  43. Helena,

    It would indeed be a nice place for you to visit. I'm glad my post made you think about the possibility.

    The cake was delicious and it did a good job to smooth things between me and the woman that shouted at me in the store.