14 May 2006

Vacation: Act I, Scene II - The Romantic Road

When we planned to give Dad & Jan their introductory tour of Germany, one of the things we all agreed on was that we wouldn't go places that Jeannette and I have already seen before. With the exception of Heilbronn, of course. Since we live there, it doesn't count. Just like broken cookies. Anyway, the first part of the trip took us along the Romantic Road, a strip of super-cute medieval German towns and castles. Since I was doing the planning, I skipped the common tourist stop Rothenburg ob der Tauber, because I have been there before, and instead started our romantic road tour at Dinkelsbühl, a miniature and less-tourist-crowded version of Rothenburg.

There just happened to be a market there that day, which made it even more interesting for everyone, though the market in Dinkelsbühl seemed overly sock-heavy to all of us. At one point I was ambushed by a young woman who was very interested in seeing my "equipment". I showed it to her, but she wanted to feel it and hold it. I didn't let her because I had no idea who she was and whether she would just run off with my brand new D200. From that point on, I was very self-conscious about leaving the strap hanging out of my camera bag, since it very brazenly announces to the world "Nikon D200".

Among other things in town, we saw this very sunny and cheerful sun dial, which doesn't seem to auto adjust for Daylight Savings Time (or simply "summer time" in Germany). Our last stop in town was the zany 3-D Museum, a collection of holographs, optical illusions and those wacky posters that you have to stare at for hours to eventually see a 3D image. ("There's a boat in that picture?") One of the things I realized after going to that museum is that apparently every new technology for visualizing anything will not really take off until people start using it to visualize topless women.

Our next stop on the Romantic Road was Nördlingen, a town that sits in the crater of a meteor that pelted the earth 15 million years ago. The town is almost perfectly circular, and is the only German town that has its medieval walls completely intact.

Unfortunately, we couldn't get a good vantage point to see the nearly perfect circle of the town, but I do have a post card that shows it. Or you could look at the town's web site. At lunch, I had a very nice Käsespätzle, where the cheese was more "saucy", like good ol' American Mac & Cheez. Not that I don't like "normal" Käsespätzle, because I do. But this was a unique twist on the whole cheezy noodles in Germany thing.

After walking a big chunk of the circular wall, we piled back into the big ol' boat and had Betty, our friendly but easily irritated navigational system, help us get to Schwangau and find our hotel. Betty did a pretty good job, and didn't complain too much when we took little side jaunts to satisfy my need to stop at random places to take pictures.

We would definitely recommend Haus Wiedemann, our comfy little hotel with excellent balcony views of Neuschwanstein. The hosts at the hotel were very attentive to our needs, and were quite shocked when we told them that Dad didn't want anything for breakfast except kawphy. Oops, I mean coffee. They were so surprised that they had to confirm and reconfirm several times to be sure that he really didn't want breakfast.

Well, that just about wraps up the 2nd day of vacation. One final photo for you:

No, I wasn't drunk. No, the castle wasn't sliding down the hill while I took the picture. This is a reminder to myself that when using a tripod and a lens with vibration reduction (VR), turn off the VR feature. It's weird that it does that.



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