An ABSURDLY long drive from Speyer (thanks to bad traffic, a stubborn gps, an impatient navigator and a skittish driver) we arrived at Rothenberg ob der Tauber. Our German friends described it thusly; "it's like German Disneyland and totally cliché... You'll love it."
Well color me predictable; I sure as hell DID love it. The ancient walled city may have been partially reconstructed in the past few hundred years or so --specifically to attract tourism-- but that doesn't change the fact that it's jaw-droppingly beautiful, with its unending medieval maze of picturesque cobblestoned alleys, overflowing flower boxes, shops and cafes; even if it IS overrun with Japanese tourists. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I could easily see how more than a day or so there in the uber touristy sections would make me want to hop the next train back to the middle of nowhere.
We had a late birthday dinner for Amanda and got to see the final drunken remnants of a festival parade through the town square (that involved carrying around saplings, for some reason).
We had our own little festival parade back to our hotel nestled beside the interior of the ancient wall. Intrigued by the loud cheering and drums, we climbed to the top and peered over to the outside to see a whole medieval style camp set up, complete with bonfires, traditional medieval festival tents and raucous Germans dressed in period costumes.
As cliche as it may have been, climbing that wall in the middle of the night and looking out over that scene, I couldn't help but feel transported through time to a loooong gone era.