Casey and I were up before dawn on Saturday to put breakfast (her) and lots and lots of coffee (me) in our bellies before heading to the train station. Having no particular destination in mind, we played eenie-meenie-miny-moe with a map before deciding on two little Bavarian towns we had heard great things about.
After a ride through enchanted woods and countless quint villages, the train deposited us in the beautiful Bamberg. Bamberg is a well-preserved and historical city that is also a thriving hub of culture and education. Sprawled over seven hills and laced with bustling cobbled streets, this university town is easy to fall in love with. Casey and I snacked on apple strudel as we roamed the outdoor marketplace and dipped into small artesian shops and bakeries. My backpack swelled with goodies as we mosied: dark chocolates, freshly roasted nuts, postcards, nick-knacks, and other such treasures. We walked a path along the river and marveled at the colorful and traditionally German homes that lined the riverbank. After taking countless picturesque photographs, we hoped the train to head to our next destination.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber, roughly translated “Red fortress above the Tauber”, is a well-preserved medieval old town and a destination for tourists from around the world—understandably, once you see the impeccably preserved medieval structures perched in their fortress over the Tauber River. The building’s red roofs, after which the town has (partially) been named, add an up-beat atmosphere to the charming city. The “Altstadtladen” or “the Old Store” was my favorite shop. It was a warm little woodworker’s haven, scented with pine and filled with authentic woodwork engraved on the spot with whatever German phrase you might want. A white-haired man whose face was filled with smile-lines sat at a tiny round table and engraved the pieces that I bought.
Dusk was falling as we waited to board our final train back to Ansbach, and we had barely ducked our heads into our red caboose when fat snowflakes began to pelt from the sky. As I dipped off to sleep, lulled by the rhythm of the train gently clattering over the tracks, I couldn’t help but think that I must be the luckiest girl in the world.