Hoch Wasser

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
1
28
189
Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Sunday, February 3, 2013

Howdy folks,

As a present from Steffie for getting my Visa, we drove to Würzburg on Friday night for the weekend. The weather wasn't great and we were driving in the rain for 2 hours on the Autobahn in the traffic. Würzburg is only 170kms from Edingen, but you have to drive around the Odenwald via Heilbronn if you want to take the Autobahn. I am glad that Steffie was doing the driving! We had dinner before we left and checked into our hotel which was really close to downtown and with a great view of Festung (Fortress) Marienberg and the alter Mainbrücke. There have been a lot of comparisons made between Würzburg and Heidelberg because they both have old bridges, old towns and a schloss, but that is really where the comparisons end.

After an early night, we got up at 7am on Saturday morning to go down for breakfast. We had a breakfast buffet as part of the hotel stay for only €5 each and there was a lot on offer. From fruit salad, yoghurt, eggs, breakfast sausages, bread, cheese and sliced meat there was definitely something for everybody and the best hotel breakfast we have ever had (and we have had a few!). We got ready and left the hotel at 9am for our stadt wanderung.

First we walked down along the River Main which is the same river that starts near Nürnberg and runs through Frankfurt before emptying into the River Rhine. Germany seems to be full of rivers compared to Australia and it isn't hard to see how they have been used for agriculture, transport or navigation. On this particular day the river was quite high because temperatures have been above zero this past week causing all the snow to melt plus it has been raining quite a bit. The alter Mainbrücke sort of funnels the water through as it flows past and it has a river lock such as the one in Heidelberg for the long riverships that run up and down them.

Our destination was the Festung Marienberg which is the prominent feature of Würzburg sitting high on the opposite hill. After traversing the bridge, it didn't take us long to climb up the hill to the fortress gate, but unfortunately for us it was under repair so we had to go up through the back. That wasn't such a bad thing because we got to walk through the city walls which loomed high above our heads. It was easy to imagine how imposing such a structure would have been for any would be plunderers which would have been at a definte disadvantage. The rear entry came through two gates and soon we were in the fortress.

Heidelberg might have a castle, but a fortress is quite a thing to behold. You can tell that every aspect of it is built for defence from the moat, drawbridges and towers. The main structure seemed completely impregnable and in fact over its long history it was only conquered once by Gustav II Adolf of Sweden in 1631 during the Thirty Years' War. I was fascinated by it although Steffie was more taken by the stray cat looking for food in the courtyard! As it was still early, the museum wasn't open although we were happy just walking through and taking it all in. We walked out and around the front of the fortress to take in the view over the river to Würzburg which was pretty good and you could even see the Residenz in the background which was our next destination.

We walked back down the same way we came up although we walked through the parklands instead and crossed over the bridge again until we came across the Rathaus and Dom St Kilian. There are more than a few references to the three Irish missionaries Killian, Kolonat and Totnan who were murdered trying to convert the town to Christianity. The Dom is also significant for being completely modernized throughout. 90% of Würzburg was destroyed on 16 March 1945 by British bombers which killed 5,000 people in the ensuing firestorm in a situation comparable to Dresden. The city had to be painstakingly rebuilt which is why the white interior of the church is quite new. It is certainly hard to imagine that such a vibrant city was once so utterly destroyed.

We did a loop out to the Residenz which is the local palace used by the ruling Bishops and home to a very beautiful staircase. It is even part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites although the front courtyard is now a very large car park. We were going to do a tour, but we couldn't be bothered waiting and we weren't allowed to take photos! Instead we walked through the gardens and back to have fish and chips at the Dom. Steffie wanted to take a look around in the shops near the Market Square which also housed the information centre and the Marienkapelle. After we were finished, I was pretty tired so I took a nap at the hotel and we rested there until dinner.

Steffie was keen to check out the Mexican Restaurant and Bar down near the lobby which just happened to be the same room we had breakfast in, although you couldn't recognise it! It was quite busy and we only had 90 minutes to eat before our table was taken. The cocktails were good and at €4.20 very affordable. I had a few Speedy Gonzales' and Steffie went for the Sex on the Beach. It was a great meal and I finally got to eat a Ceasar Salad. I would have thought that a Ceasar Salad was universal, but you just can't find them here in Germany.

On Sunday we had a quick walk along the river after breakfast before jumping in the car to drive back home. I wanted to drive through the Odenwald this time although many people drive along the Romantic Road. Würzburg is the start of a popular drive south to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in thes south of Baveria, but on this occasion we drove west from Tauberbischofsheim (known for producing fencing champions) through to Michelstadt. The Odenwald isn't completely forest as there are large expanses of open farmland, but the drive through the high snow country of Amorbach to Michelstadt was nice nonetheless.

Michelstadt is known for having the oldest altstadt in the Odenwald (over 1250 years) although most of the buildings are 300-400 years old and the altstadt itself is quite small. We walked into the market square to have a hot drink in the cafe and admired the old wooden buildings. We ended up doing a loop around the inner city before jumping back in the car to drive due south to Eberbach on the River Neckar. The Neckar was also quite high and was even flooding over the riverside carpark although not quite as high as the unbelieveable high watermarks in the town. If you need a boat to nagivate through the town then it would definitely be flooded!

It was time to head for home and we had to detour through the Königstuhl tunnel because the riverside street was flooded near the Alte Brucke. We were home around 2pm and relaxed for the rest of the day.

Who knows where the next adventure will take us?
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