Order Tara's Bicycle Touring Cookbook Today!

Into the Woods

by Tara

Before leaving our pension this morning, I decide to visit one last thing before we leave Rothenburg—The Craftsman' House. This is the oldest building in town, dating back to 1270(!) and is now filled with antique goods, appearing as if it belonged to a craftsman and his family. While Tyler waits in the lobby programming, I head out to investigate the attraction.

The house is surprisingly large, with three floors and many, many rooms. I love the low ceilings, wooden beams, thick walls, and unevenness of it all. One of the upper rooms has a spinning wheel:

The Crafstman's House, Rothenburg

There is a storeroom, filled with containers of all shapes and sizes. My favorite is the giant wheel-thrown ceramic jug, sitting on the countertop, plugged with a cork:

The Crafstman's House, Rothenburg

There's a nice dining room:

The Crafstman's House, Rothenburg

…and a linen closet filled with handwoven, hand-embroidered cloth:

The Crafstman's House, Rothenburg

In the kitchen, an abundance of copper pots, ceramic jugs, and lovely hand-carved wooden bowls fill the room:

The Crafstman's House, Rothenburg

In the cobbler's workshop, I am intrigued by the glass balls hanging from the ceiling:

The Crafstman's House, Rothenburg

This sign explains their purpose. How cool is that!?

A Shoemaker's Crystal Glass-Ball

With my visit concluded, I return to our pension where we pack up our bikes and head towards the central square. As we do so, the sun makes a rare appearance. Jumping at the only opportunity we've had to take nice pictures of the city, we run around snapping photos like crazy.

Nearly all of the shops in Rothenburg have nifty, ornate signs. While I relax in the shade, Tyler takes many pictures of them:

Rothenburg Sign Rothenburg Sign Mekgerei Bahn Rothenburg Sign Zucker-Backerei Sign Rothenburg Sign Rothenburg Bakery Sign Auf Wiedersehen

Then I take a turn with the camera, and snap a few; the town is really lovely in the sunlight. One shop has a bubble-maker blowing delicate soapy orbs into the air:

Bubbles in Rothenburg Rothenburg Building Rothenburg Town Center Rothenburg Fountain

Feeling like we've finally 'captured' Rothenburg and done the city justice, I return to the bikes.

Our Bikes in Rothenburg

As we pedal out of town, I am deeply grateful for the hour and a half of sun we've just enjoyed. Even if it starts raining (which it likely will), I'll be able to handle it a little better, having had at least a little relief from the constant grayness we've been enduring lately.

Just outside town, I tell Tyler to put on his raincoat with me. In a fit of superstition reminding me of my grandmother, I cling to the idea that if we wear our raincoats preemptively, it won't rain. Knock on wood!

As we weave our way along cycle routes, growing increasingly weary of their convoluted winding nature, dark skies loom overhead. Our path seems to climb every single hill in the countryside, and it is tiring. Nevertheless, Tyler and I enjoy riding side by side, humming soft tunes and listening to the birds.

The landscape is farmland, waving green fields of wheat, interspersed with small villages and patches of forest. When we ride through a small woodland area and I smell the distinct aroma of garlic, I call us to a stop.

Tara Foraging Wild Garlic

We'll have wild garlic with our supper tonight! I pluck a few until I have a good sized bundle:

Wild Garlic Tara, Wild Garlic Fairy Tara, Wild Garlic Fairy

Continuing on, we ride peacefully, stopping for a snack every so often. Before leaving Rothenburg, we bought a few bratwurst which now fuel our workout.

Rainy German Road Old German House

There is little I've found on this trip that can top a good free-camp. Today, as we wheel into the forest after climbing to the crest of a hill, it feels like coming home. Soft moss cushions each footfall, welcoming us with a pillowy carpet of vibrant greens. Old pine branches bow gracefully, bearing the brunt of the rain that has begun to fall once more. Under the trees, we are sheltered and safe.

Tyler & The Tent Pine Tree Pine Tree Our Bikes in a German Forest Mossy Forest

The forest is alive: this is no silent haven, but a gossipy neighborhood, loud with the colorful, cackling songs of many birds. A small, grey spider crawls past me over dew-covered clover; though they haven't made an appearance yet, I know that maroon, jelly-filled slugs will slime their way to our tent by morning. Even the slugs I don't mind. As long as I don't grab one accidentally, I've mostly overcome my disgust, embracing them as our constant companions.

Now we're in our tent, not quite hungry enough to start cooking dinner yet. Tyler's busy on several programming projects, so I'll be doing the bulk of our writing for a few more days. A little later tonight, I'll make gnocci in a wild garlic sauce!

Wild Garlic Gnocci