if you've followed my adventures for awhile you'll know that Baden-baden, germany was my special place. A place where i could just relax and decompress. i had some great times there with my family and it was my #1 spot to getaway - that is, perhaps until now.

On Tuesday 12 December I left Frankfurt after two nights to head to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, an old quaint, medieval town in Northern Bavaria. I knew it was going to be an interesting journey when the ICE (Inter City Express) train was 8 minutes leaving Frankfurt. My connecting train in Wurzburg had already departed when the ICE pulled into the station. Fortunately, the two trains that I needed to reach Rothensburg o b Tauber were regional trains and ran every hour. So, I arrived in Rothensburg only an hour late.

As many of you know I now have a bum right knee and it's not so happy now. Although the hotel was only about a 20 min walk from the train station I arranged a Taxi to pick me up to take me to the hotel - I'm glad that I did as shlepping a large suitcase over cobblestone streets is not fun. After a quick taxi ride I was at my hotel - the Hotel Altes Brauhaus. Let's just say that the "Brauhaus" caught my attention when I was making my arrangements. The hotel was absolutely amazing! My room was on the top floor with beautiful exposed beams on the ceiling and side walls. The views, well the views rivaled those of Baden-Baden. I said, "could this place supplant Baden-Baden as my new Happy Place?" I would have to discover more of this town before I hastily decided.

Over the next day I explored a lot of the city, or as much as my knee would let me. I visited the Weihnachtsmarkt and had Gühlwein, special Christmas beer, grilled Bratwurst with a roll, etc. The buildings are spectacularly beautiful. I walked around the catwalk of the city protective wall and through several of the gates to the fortified village. All very beautiful. All very peaceful.

I do think that Rothenburg ob der Tauber may well indeed be my new happy place. But as a dedicated scientist I need more data - I guess I'll just have to come back very soon and visit them both, and then visit them both again, and again, and again. You know, for the sake of good science.

Until next time, be safe, be kind and I hope that you have a place that is your happy place.