January 17, 2017

Away we go: Bavaria, Germany (Pt. 5)

On day 7 of our trip to Germany we woke up bright eyed and quite excited to be making a day trip out to a little storybook town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber. It was one of those places I regretted not staying overnight (the other was Füssen). It was absolutely lovely.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a popular town on one of the many stops along what is called the Romantic Road. It runs from Würzburg to Füssen and it is the most scenic route connecting Frankfurt with Munich. We opted not to rent a car and travel through the Romantic Road and instead made the day trip out from Munich using the regional train service leaving Munich Central Station in the morning. We bought our ticket from the ticket booth instead of the electronic kiosk and the ticket booth lady made sure that we were going to Rothenburg ob der Tauber as there are several towns in Germany named Rothenburg. According to Rick Steves' travel book, tourists do end up going to the wrong Rothenburg. Yikes. 

Aside from being excited to see this picturesque town, Yangkyu and were also excited for another reason. Karina, a long-time friend on Instagram and fellow cocker spaniel mom, offered to drive out to Rothenburg ob der Tauber from Stuttgart with her entire family, including Goofy and Yumsky (her adorable cockers), to meet us. Wha?! Really? For us? 

Many people who know me know that I shy away from meeting people. It's an introvert thing (hi - INFJ here) and I often times decline meeting people and utterly cringe inside wondering if I came off completely rude. It might be sound really weird, but I don't even meet my close friends on a regular basis and often times they have to text me if they haven't heard from me in a while to see if I'm doing ok. One of my closest girlfriends know this about me SO WELL and her personality is so flexible that while we were living just a few blocks away from each other in college, we spent the entire day hanging out by talking on the phone and chatting online at the same time. And for most of the time we didn't even talk on the phone or chat. Serious.

We arrived in Rothenburg ob der Tauber at around 10 am. It took us nearly 3 hours to get there and thinking back it really would have made sense to sleep here for one night. Karina and her family met us at 1 pm and we had a few hours to do a little sightseeing before meeting them for lunch. 

There were a few places I did want to see but a couple of the museums were closed and so we settled on three places -- 

St. Jakob's Church 
Where Tillman Riemenschneider's wood-carved Altar of the Holy Blood is located. It costs 2.5 euro to get in and on Sundays people must wait until after services end at 10:45 am to view. 

German Christmas Museum anKäthe Wohlfahrt 
The German Christmas Museum is just upstairs in the big Käthe Wohlfahrt store. It tells the history of Christmas decorations. It costs 4 euros to enter. At the very end of the museum you can write a little note on a paper ornament and hang it on their display tree. The hall leading you out of the exit will lead you straight into the Käthe Wohlfahrt store and it is huge and jam packed. We were literally walking in a long line the entire time inside the store. Its head office is located in Rothenburg ob der Tauber but we saw many Käthe Wohlfahrt stores all over Bavaria. 

Teddys Rothenburg
I don't know if I ever said this often on the blog but I had two Steiff bears growing up and I named them Bennie and Benna. My pops got them for me while he was on a business trip. They are so very old (just to give you an idea, the tags on their ears say Made in West Germany). I had many stuffed animals growing up but my two Steiff bears are the only ones I kept all these years. I still have them and purchased another one here. His name is Charly. There is a huge Steiff bear you can pose with in front of the store. This place certainly brought back a lot of childhood memories. 

We didn't get to stroll around the town too much or visit other shops or restaurants. Actually, we got lost as soon as arriving in Rothenburg. We ended up walking far away from the old town and lost precious time (and energy -- oh curse you, heavy camera). And so after visiting Teddys Rothenburg it was already time to meet Karina's family for lunch. They had reserved at Alter Keller, which allows dogs inside the restaurant, which was perfect since Goofy and Yumsky were joining in on the meeting.

Our meeting with Karina and her family was absolutely fantastic in every way possible. There were SO MANY laughs and conversations and curious questions (like how did you guys meet? this one drew so many laughs) and connection. There was none of the awkwardness I so dread when I meet people for the first time, and I fell in love with her family right away. I couldn't help but be drawn to the way they interact with each other and you could tell straightaway that there is so much love between them.

If you ask me to describe Karina's husband, Thor, I'd probably say he's a nice guy. It might come off as such a boring answer, but he is really such a nice guy! Thor made such an impression on Yangkyu that he couldn't help but talk about him during our train ride back home. He enjoyed the side conversations they had (while Karina and I were laughing and getting silly with alcohol). 

Karina and Thor's daughter Kaya, who has grown into such a beautiful young lady (I could've sworn the last time I saw a picture of her, she was still a kid!), and who I presume would've preferred to do teenage girl things and hang out with her friends on a precious Saturday, was so present and engaging and friendly. And while she has grown into a teenager, seeing her sitting between her parents, she was still their little girl. It was just such a sweet image to see, the three of them (well five, because you can't forget Goofy and Yumsky). 

And Karina. Oh Karina. She made me cry as soon as we sat down inside the restaurant. She had gotten me a little something and as soon as I opened it I just lost it. But not because I was sad, but because I was so touched that she made this little Piri doll for us. I just cried wondering about the days she spent making him - what she was thinking and feeling. I know, I wonder about the weirdest things, don't I?

And then I saw Piri's big nose and curious big eyes. They were exactly how I remembered them. And his floppy ears and the little patch of white fur on top of his head (which we always kept round and bald by the way - and the doll was exactly that way). Karina is one of the first people I started following on Instagram who was fellow cocker mom. She had Ally then who suddenly crossed the rainbow bridge during a routine procedure. It was heartbreaking and one of the first of our cocker spaniels to have crossed. Karina has been with us through all the good, the bad, the sad and the unbearable. She has always been there with her infectious smile (which I finally heard in person and will always remember whenever I read her posts and comments) and I am so thankful for her friendship and kind heart. 

Time went by too fast at Alter Keller (we ordered our meals, had dessert and more drinks and it was still not long enough). Afterwards as the sun was going down, we decided to head over to the Christmas market and walk about, shop a little and have a little Glühwein. Thor purchased these little raffle tickets for Karina and me and Karina won a batch of cookies while I got a pink body soap. Ha!

Unfortunately, as it was in Füssen and the King's Castles, my stomach began to hurt not too long after eating and I began to feel uncomfortable walking around and my thought quickly became fixated on wanting to be back in the hotel room in the comforts of my bed (ugh! GI Tract! Get with the program! Now is not the time to act up!). I had wanted to spend more time with Karina and her family and thought about just sucking it up but it just was too hard to do. And so they walked us over to the train station and we just caught the train headed back to Munich. 

The last image I saw of Karina's family was Thor walking with his arms around Karina and Kaya's shoulders. I had already fallen in love with them and this just sealed it. It was the perfect image to end our time in this storybook town. 

Thank you, Karina, Thor, Kaya, Goofy and Yumsky for driving out to meet us, for the wonderful food, laughs and good company. I really can't believe we actually met you, I look back and think it was all a dream. Yangkyu said next time if we are ever in Germany, he thinks we should stay the night with Karina's family and that my GI tract will just have to suck it up. Ha. 

The following day we were originally supposed to head out to another day trip but Yangkyu ended up getting sick and so we spent the day sleeping in and spending time at the Munich Christmas Market where we ran into the most delightful tradition, the Krampus run. 

Hope you'll come back for that story. 


  1. That's a wonderful story of meeting up with your friends! What a beautiful and loving family!

  2. Firstly, these photos are just so gorgeous. It looks like such a beautiful place. Secondly, it sounds like you had such a lovely time with Karina's family!

    Jane / deluminators

  3. awwww so sweet to meet Karina and her family - such lovely photos too and the little piri dog she made is so thoughtful and gorgeous! Can't wait to hear more about this Krampus Run!!!

  4. Aww...this was too precious, I love it so much :)) x

  5. Jane, that was so nice of her to meet with you! You guys had a wonderful time. So thoughtful. I get kind of anxious also when meeting up with people. So I know what you mean. I like people from a distance. HaHaHa


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