Saturday marks the start of the weekend, with Mom free to explore with us! Looking at the pile of pamphlets that I have collected, one place in particular really called to me: Würzburg. It took very little convincing to get the family on board with my plans.
Located a convenient 1 hour train ride down the tracks, Würzburg is a much larger place than Bad Mergentheim, promising a rich historical heritage, museums, shopping, and I am sure pleanty more that I didn’t even see. It looked likely to be a full day of exploring and adventures.
The day was dreary and threatened rain, and it seemed to mark an end to the abnormally long summer and to welcome in the Autumn season. We got to the train station after breakfast at about 9:00, which ended up being about an hour and a half too early (or about a half hour too late, depending on how you look at it). We bought some round trip tickets for the day, and as we had time to kill, walked over to the post office where Mom and I both sent a post card to family. (They will probably get there after we get home, but it’s the idea behind it). We then decided to grab some coffee at a nearby shop, and I finally got my hands on a Pretzel, stuffed with butter. Yum yum.
The hour and a half passed quickly and soon we were off. We switched trains at the Lauda station and then continued into Würzburg.
Würzburg is huge! Certainly a city, and much different than the view of Germany I had gotten so far. Tall buildings stretched across the skyline and into the valley. And, as it turns out, there was a giant festival that day. All the streets for miles from the train station were crammed full of people and vendors and bands. Mom and I quickly found we had under planned for the weather. Since we have been here, it has generally been a bit cooler in the morning before reaching the 80’s later in the day, and was usually perfect for tank tops or sleeveless shirts. Now we found it wasn’t getting warmer and we needed something to keep the chill away. We found something right away thankfully, and got some cute super-warm shawls.
Now properly dressed and ready to tackle the city, it was only a question of where to start. On my travel map I had circled my five top things (and there were more that interested me as well), and Christian suggested starting at the farthest, and coincidentally the most interesting, point and work back to the trains. This made our goal the Marienburg Fortress across the river. It would be a long walk but we hoped it would be worth it.
Everywhere I looked there was something exciting and different. Beautiful, ancient buildings were everywhere, while a crowd of very modern people ebbed around them. Smells from various bakeries and food carts filled the air, and music from every street – ironically a lot of covers of old American rock songs, with some modern pop thrown in for good measure – mingled with the sound of the church bells ringing. I think Christian wanted to put me on a leash to keep me from running around from pure excitement.
In the midst of the happy chaos, we stumbled upon a set up of first responders. In the midst of a giant town, which just happens to be having a festival, we stumble upon the very thing where Christian could get a first hand look at the German fire trucks and talk to firefighters. I am assured that the fire trucks were set up much differently than American ones; I will take Christian’s word for it.
After a bit more walking we made it to the bridge called Alte Mainbrüke, which was finished being constructed in 1543, with the statues added in 1730. One of my to-see destinations, the large stone bridge was impressive. Unfortunately, due to all the people no good pictures were to be had of it. It did however offer an awesome view of the fortress. You can easily imagine how imposing such a structure would be hundreds of years ago, towering over friends and invaders alike. Indeed, it is still awe inspiring now.
Mom decided we needed some carbs before we attempted the long climb up the hill. We all grabbed a pastry at Müller Bäck (I got one of the twisty almond pretzel things on the left) and started up the long set of stairs that wind all the way up the hill. It is easy to make such a climb with such a destination ahead of you!
At the top we found ourselves at the first gate. Their was a large bridge that spanned a trench, which lead into a deep tunnel. We quickly realized it would not be the only gate we would travel through. All told I think there were 4 before we made it to the center courtyard.
The fortress is humongous. Starting as a refuge in 1000 BC, it became a church many years later. After it’s time as a church it became a fortress in the 1200’s, for the Prince Bishops, and remained that way into the Renaissance. The fortress was then turned into a castle, which was actually won in a conquest by a Swedish king, to be expanded with Royal gardens and to receive a Baroque influence. That history bleeds through so that there are evidences of various eras throughout.
We didn’t find a way to really see into the buildings themselves, but we walked through the courtyards and eventually dropped down into a garden between two of the walls. (We did find a super awesome gift shop though).
We realized there was no way to get out coming this way, so we backtracked back up and found more new things as we wandered.
We exited, through some more giant gates as you can imagine, and slowly wound down the hill through a beautiful garden walkway before hitting the stairs we had originally used to come up.
Back in the city we realized our time was winding to a close. The truth is that Würzburg is simply a multiple day excursion and one cannot see all the sights on a day trip. It was worth it for the fortress alone, and I would highly recommend a visit.
We did enjoy a few more looks at the architecture as we made our way back.
Mom had a craving for cheeseburgers, and as you can imagine those are few and far between in Germany. We did walk by some in a food truck, and stopped to buy a late lunch/early dinner.
They were, eh, not so good. Mom took some convincing that it was even beef. I suppose we should have known better, but I guess it’s good America still has a corner on some decent food, right?
We did also grab some crepes on our way back to the train. These were much better in my opinion, though Christian and Mom were hoping for something with more filling.
Mine was Eierlikör, which basically meant they poured a bunch in the center. Yummy. I was right, Eierlikör was much better not mingled with coffee, and it was strong from an alcoholic sense, but good.
It had started to rain by now and my umbrella came in handy as we waited for the train home. I was exhausted, with a headache to boot, but couldn’t help wishing I could have seem more of the city so full of promising discoveries.
I kept nodding off on the train, and Mom was too, making a very not lively party anymore. We got back to the clinic and I opted out of dinner to take a bath. The bathtub was narrow but super deep, and I opened the window and listened and smelled the rain that was falling.
I tried reading afterwards, but my mind wouldn’t focus so I gave up and went to bed at 7:30. Thus why I am a day late posting, but I will catch up. Christian says I can no longer tease him for sleeping in so much, and I suppose that’s true. 12 hours of sleep later, and today I felt much better. That’s another post though.