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:
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:
There's a nice dining room:
…and a linen closet filled with handwoven, hand-embroidered cloth:
In the kitchen, an abundance of copper pots, ceramic jugs, and lovely hand-carved wooden bowls fill the room:
In the cobbler's workshop, I am intrigued by the glass balls hanging from the ceiling:
This sign explains their purpose. How cool is that!?
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:
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:
Feeling like we've finally 'captured' Rothenburg and done the city justice, I return to the bikes.
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.
We'll have wild garlic with our supper tonight! I pluck a few until I have a good sized bundle:
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.
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.
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!