A step back in time at all paces

"The bus pulled up outside the town wall and we walked through the old timber entry into the city.

"It was straight out of a mediaeval book, with gabled houses and mediaeval buildings.

"The market square was just beautiful and we were in time to see the magnificent clock on the town hall strike. Little gentlemen holding steins of beer come out of windows either side of the clock and when the clock stops striking they disappear again.

"We then went on a walking tour to the rampart that goes right around the outside of the city and were showed homes that are more than 1000 years old.

"Being interested in architecture and interiors, I enjoyed all of that. Like many places in Europe, you come across pieces of architecture that are up to 2000 years old and still being used. In one shop we went into there was a Roman column and a mediaeval beam across the ceiling.

"One of the great things about the way the excursion was organised is that they really looked after George, who can have trouble walking. They gave him a Nordic walking stick, which helped on the cobblestones, and he was able to join a slow walking group. He still got all the information; they just took a little more time.

"After the walking tour we had time to sit in the square and just watch the world go by.

"Rothenburg has wonderful Christmas decorations and the famous Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas store was like an arcade that just went on and on.

"It was freezing, only about five degrees. George had to buy me gloves because my hands were turning white but that was the only thing about the day that wasn't perfect."


Value for money

Many shore excursions are included in Uniworld's fares but Rothenburg was an optional extra - €43 ($55) a person. "It was money well spent," Heather says. "It was more than a half-day and included the bus and a tour guide, who gave us so much information. It was extremely well organised, which gave us confidence to just relax and enjoy the day."

WHO Heather Fisher of North Epping, on her second cruise in Europe.

WHAT Mediaeval history and architecture.

WHERE Rothenburg, Germany.

THE SHIP Heather and her husband, George, took a 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on Uniworld's River Empress (uniworldcruises.com.au).

As told to Jane E. Fraser

Have you done an interesting shore excursion? Drop us a line at travelshd@fairfaxmedia.com.au.