(Recommended by Larry - PStuyvsant)

Richard und Elsa Hahn (Bauernhof)
Schmalfelden 25
Schrozberg/Schmalfelden (near Rothenburg o.d.T.)
Tel - 7935/470 ~ Fax - 89/244359146
Email -
Apartment for up to 7 persons - Separate zimmers available
Parking area, Grill area, Children's play area
Pigs, chickens, ponys (pony rides possible)

My next accommodations are a repeat from a previous visit back in 2001. As a rule I donít usually repeat, only because there are so many to discover, and so little time. But I make an exception in this case.

I am booked on a farm in the small community of Schmalfelden, about 10km from Rothenburg.

I chose this place again for location, plus the family was very attentive and truly good hosts. This is another place where I was the first American to come through, and still hold the record according to the family.

The family Hahn runs the farm, and it has been passed down several generations. Due to their age, they have cut back on much of their former activities, and today it is mainly a small dairy farm. Although Mom and Pop donít speak English, their son Klaus does. His career path as a computer tech keeps him traveling a lot and so he is not the budding farmer type.

Near Würzburg I veer off the
A3 onto the B290, which takes me directly to my destination. I arrive about an hour later than planned, a little after 1 pm. But Frau Hahn is expecting me, and we renew our acquaintance as she shows me upstairs to my room.

On my previous stay I had a DZ on the very top floor which was OK. But this time she cranks it up a notch and puts me on the floor just above the family quarters. It is a huge Ferienwohnung, which I did not expect. There is a nice balcony, kitchen facilities, and all the other trimmings which take up the entire second floor, for just E20 a day, including breakfast. She even offers me a Bier from the family fridge while Iím unpacking. What a score.

Klaus, the son, is working but he has left word that he will see me later this evening. I decide to head on into Rothenburg for the rest of the day. It is about 3:00 when I pull into the parking lot next to the Gasthof Zum Rappen and the Galgentor. The lot is pretty full and I expect the crowds in town will be sizeable, as usual.

I stroll on down to the Marktplatz to get some photos. The crowds are about what you would expect, heavy, but I know that in a couple of hours they will start to dwindle significantly.

Down at the famous picturesque spot at Plönlein square it looks like a car bomb went off. Work crews have torn up several meters of the cobblestones, and much of the sidewalks. Wooden planks are laid out as temporary walkways for the tourists. They have dug holes at least twenty feet deep, right on the spot where all the tourists come to get their pictures taken. It looks like they are replacing sewer lines. No doubt to keep from reverting to the Middle Ages method of waste disposal again, which obviously would be bad for the tourist trade.

I position myself as best I can in order to snap off a quick shot and then retreat back up the hill.

Itís about chow time so I head over to one of my favorite hangouts right around the corner from the Zum Greifen. You have probably passed it countless times and never gave a second look. It is Alís Imbiss, and has been there forever. The owner and his wife do all the cooking from a variety menu posted on the wall.

Today I elect to go with the half roasted chicken, pommes, and a couple of Bier vom faß. The tab, only E6. Plus, at no added cost is the great people watching as folks stroll up and down the street while I'm munching away.

Afterwards, I always enjoy working off a good meal by computer surfing, but then thatís just me. I say save the walking for those who want to die healthy.

On the last several trips here, I used to use the computers at the Rotor Hahn. They had a really a neat place as there were just a few terminals in the far back room, with Bier, and plenty of quiet time. Unfortunately they no longer offer that service, at least not this time.

But never fear. A former old reliable spot that previously went out of business, but is now open again, comes to the rescue. It is located on a side street near the Rodertor, next to the post office. It is named the ď
Inter @ PlayĒ cafe. Catchy huh.. The machines are coin fed, at 50 cents for ten minutes, something I would encounter several times along the way. I still prefer just paying a fixed amount per half hour, or hour, since it all comes out about the same in the long run.

I am mainly concerned about the weather for the next few days. So far it has been perfect, but I know that the farther south I go, the odds are sooner or later it is going to change. But my luck is holding, and it looks like sunny and clear for the next five days. Unfortunately, the weather gods had other ideas.

By the time Iím done surfing the sun has gone down, so I head back over to the main square. What a drastic difference a couple of hours make. The crowds have disappeared, and the place is almost empty. The horse carriages are dropping off their last load of passengers for the day, and several of the shops on Spitalgasse have already closed.

This is definitely not a party town after dark. About all there is to do is window shop or eat, or take the Watchmanís tour. There isnít much reason to hang around, since I will be back tomorrow, so I make my way back to the parking lot, which is now all but empty.

I head out of town by way of the Bahnhof, but make a quick pitstop at a Spar Markt for some goodies for later on in the evening. I am deeply engrossed in a Stephen King novel, and if that gets boring there is always the big TV in the room.

It is just getting dark when I return to the farm, but right on cue comes Klaus, waiting to renew acquaintances. As an added attraction the Dad comes along carrying a small tray with a bottle of home grown Schnapps, and three shot glasses. We proceed to imbibe for the next hour or so, while making general chit chat and Klaus serving as interpreter/translator.

All in all itís been a good day and Iím glad to be back among familiar faces.

Sep 23 - Friday - Day 7

While I like Rick Steves as much as the next person, since he is geared toward independent travel, I donít always follow his tips. But one tip of Rickís I do follow. And that is to give yourself a break about every 5th or 6th day of a long trip. He calls it a vacation away from your vacation. I have found it to be good advice. In the early years of travel I felt that if you werenít running from daylight to dark, with a checklist in hand, then you were wasting valuable time and money for coming on the trip. Boy have those attitudes changed.

Today is going to be that day. Being back in familiar territory also helps. There is no burning desire to drive hither and yon the whole day. I plan to just go with the flow and do whatever comes to mind.

At 8:00 Frau Hahn has breakfast all laid out.

I spend some time over coffee browsing through the Gästebuch. There are lots of entries since my last visit in 2001, but none from America. I'm still the only one.

There is a low morning fog as I head out for the day, but the sun is trying to break through so Iím not discouraged. I do a quick check of the map to outline a rough route for the day. I decide to make a long loop on the backroads. No main drags for me.

First stop is the little town of Blaufelden where I stop at a gas station to pick up a couple of Löwenbräu. After all, I donít want to break down somewhere without supplies.

Todayís loop will cover Schwäbisch Hall, the outdoor museum at Wackershofen, then over to Crailsheim, Rot am See, and finally back to Rothenburg, to close the loop. A nice little drive of about a hundred kilometers.

The weather is perfect for a drive in the country, there is almost no traffic, and I am now in radio receiving range of the Bayern channels out of Munich. Who could ask for more.

The only hitch in the day came in early afternoon as I neared Crailsheim. I was on a farm to market road (for those of you from Texas) with not a car in sight. All of a sudden I top a small hill and spread out in front of me are about a half dozen Polizei cars, a couple of fire trucks, and two ambulances. Lights are flashing, people are scurrying around, and in general it appears to be controlled chaos.

A cop waves me over to the far side of the road and I slow to a crawl. The cause of the mayhem becomes clear. A small compact car has collided with a huge tractor which has one of those shovel type attachments on the front. This is no minor fender bender. The entire top of the car, from windshield to trunk, has been peeled back like you took a can opener to it. The whole left side is caved in. Glass and debris litter the road, along with some blood. I canít see who was driving, so I assume they are already in the one of the ambulances. The tractor definitely came out the better end of the deal, as the car appears to have plowed head on into the shovel thingy.

Somebody really had their day ruined...

By late afternoon I am ready to finish out the day with a final visit to Rothenburg. Arriving around 4:00 I park in the same lot as before. Today it isnít nearly as crowded as yesterday.

Over at the Galgentor, I climb the steps and start making the walk of about a half mile or so for the section I plan to cover. Fortunately, I donít encounter a lot of other folks so there is no sucking in your gut while you squeeze by routine to have to go through.

I get some nice photos and movies (like I donít already have enough to begin with).

There is a nice cool breeze blowing on the ramparts, and in this part of town there are no crowds. Only the occasional Frau out tending the backyard gardens that are yielding their fruits and vegetables this time of year.

With the walk concluded, I exit the wall over near the gardens which overlook the Detwang valley. This is always a nice spot with all the colorful flora in bloom.

As I head back to the Marktplatz I am right in front of Käthe Wohlfahrt's when I hear someone calling me. Iím not quite sure if it was ďHey LarryĒ, or ďHey DummyĒ. I usually answer to both. Well what to my surprise, itís none other the Carolyn (CGRAM) and her traveling companion, Jim. Apparently I was oblivious to my surroundings, because I almost passed right by them as I went merrily on my way. They have just arrived today and are going to be spending a few days here. We spend a few minutes chatting about the great time on the Mosel. They also mentioned running into BB in Bacharach. Small world.

I then head over to the Internet Café for a fix, since you never know when, or if you will run upon another opportunity. I am peacefully surfing away when all of a sudden in pops Carolyn and Jim again. SayÖ.are you following me? They were also looking for the place, and I guess someone either pointed the way, or they just stumbled across it. Since Iím done, I offer them my terminal and I split for the farm to pack up and get ready to move out first thing tomorrow.

Upon arrival I see Herr Hahn relaxing on the front porch, and he motions me over to take a seat beside him. For the next few minutes it is a comedy of errors, with both of us (mainly me) trying to communicate with a mixture of hand waving, and my broken German.

I manage to get a little more history of the farm, and with Klaus being the only son, they are not sure just what the future of the place may be. Somehow I canít picture Klaus in coveralls sitting on a tractor.

Hey Herr HahnÖ whatta ya say we have a little more of that Schnapps.. :

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