Friday, 25 May 2012

Spring Birthdays and Roads Trips - Part 2

The Criminal Museum

We celebrated my first spring birthday in Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber, a beautiful medieval town along the Romantic Road.  The city walls date back to the 13th century and the medieval charm of this town has been well preserved. 

I have many beautiful pictures of Rothenbrug to share, but want to first share our experience of the criminal museum (Kriminalmuseum).  This is the only museum of its kind in Europe and it gives insights into the life, laws and punishments of medieval days.  A lot of the pictures speak for themselves, and life in the so called good old days seemed pretty tough.

We saw a display of chastity belts, a shame masks, shame flutes, and torture devices. These were the days when women were captured and accused of being witches. It may sound funny at first, but upon seeing the methods used on women and the injustice that prevailed, it was actually quite sad and scary to see how these people were treated.   A woman could be accused of being a witch and have to prove herself innocent.  But after many hours and days of torture she would eventually give in and admit “guilt” simple to avoid further pain.  She would then be burnt at the stake or hanged.  A man could accuse a woman of being a witch for something as simple as having a dream about this woman because he happened to spot a part of her skin sticking out from under her dress on her ankle for example.  This woman would be captured and tortured until admitting guilt.  The witch catcher tool looks quite scary.

Some of the other punishment methods seemed quite humiliating, but are things we could laugh about and thank our lucky stars we don’t live in such times.   The shame masks were used for various “crimes” like talking too much (many of us women would have been punished for this!) or telling bad jokes - perhaps the men would get this punishment :-).  The flute of shame was used on someone who played bad music; a cage was used for bad bakers who baked bread too small or too light!  These masks would be attached to the offender who would have to walk around town for everyone to see. 

The school punishment methods of children actually reminded me a bit of the boarding school I went to; pity nothing changed over hundreds of years. At least these days one can’t use such methods to punish children.

The chastity belts looked rather uncomfortable and quite disgusting. To think that the woman wearing this would have to stay in it for weeks/months at a time, I’m not surprised so many people died of diseases back then – ugh! 

Enter at your own risk...

Witch catcher
Shame masks

For talkative women

 School punishments
Ass of shame hung around the neck
Kneeling on a wooden plank
Getting an ear-pulling
Sitting on an ass of shame
News on the more beautiful side of Rothenburg coming soon.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Spring Birthdays and Road Trips – Part 1

Usually we celebrated our birthdays in autumn, having lived in the Southern hemisphere of course. But this year saw spring birthdays for both of us. It felt really good to have a fresh new start with all the green springing up and blossoms blooming.  We began the celebrations at home for Arne’s birthday at the end of March, and for mine we took a beautiful road trip to a medieval town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber (see part 2).  
Hmmm, schnapps! 
Celebrating in style...we saved this fancy Champagne for  the two fo us
Das Wetter – I thought it appropriate to mention the weather at this point.  In my mind spring should have begun according, to the calendar (and my body clock wishing winter would be over) in March.  And when the sun came out and blue skies abounded around the third week of March, with temperatures reaching 25°C, I celebrated and took out my running shoes to enjoy the weather, and packed away the winter blankets. I thought “horray, winter is over and I survived”. Well, it was short-lived. From the end of March up until the beginning of May it has been rainy and cold. We even had snow in April! 
Snow in April

Most days have seen temperatures of around 9 to 12°C and have been very wet. So it seems that Spring temperatures that I am accustomed to really only begin at the start of May! Yesterday was a sunny 24°C, and although it’s rainy today, it’s feels more like “spring rain” than horrible cold, grey days. 

Easter was somewhere in between all the birthday fun, and in Germany Easter decorations are all around people’s gardens, just like Christmas but this time with colourful eggs in trees; almost every house in our road did something in their garden. 
(Above)My attempt at Easter decorations German-style (this is kind of how they do the indoor ones)
In Rothenburg
In Rothenburg - Real eggs!

On Easter Sunday we took a drive to a little town called Cochem along the Mosel River.  Cochem is about 130km west of where we live, and a lovely drive.  When we got there we took a steep walk up a hill where the Cochem chair lift is, then admired views of the Mosel river and Reichsburg Cochem, had coffee and cake (as Germans do) and took the chair lift down.  The little town is very quaint, and the area along the river was dotted with beds of tulips – so pretty.
Finally at the top 
Reichsburg Cochem
Well-deserved coffee and cake
Loving the tulips
Mosel River
The hill we climbed

The blossoms have been blooming and for the first time I am seeing the life-cycle of a cherry tree in my own garden. It’s amazing to see how the buds suddenly appear one morning, then the blossoms, and then after a couple of weeks they fall off, and like magic the tree is filled with bright green leaves. 
The blossoms fell like confetti all over the garden 
The other cherry tree in our garden
More news on the cherry trees another day … the poor things have to be removed.

Coming soon…torture devices, rhubarb and another new bed!