November 9, 2019
Yesterday was a full day so I didn’t even get a post written! We arrived here more than 5 hours early, again, minimal river traffic so we made good time. Our tours weren’t going to start until 1 PM, so we asked Jessie what we might explore in the morning. We walked all through the town and then, based on her advice, we went to the Wurzburger Residenz for the 11 AM tour in English. What a bonus that turned out to be! It was built to compete with Versailles, and it is pretty spectacular. Unfortunately no pictures are allowed there, but Reinhold, our guide, told us we could ask “Mr. Google!” The beautiful staircase is something to see and above it on the ceiling there is a depiction of the (in the 1700’s) 4 known continents painted in frescoes. We were glad to have a guide for explanations. In the White Room, the entire room is covered in sculptures and the whole room was completed by the sculptor in 9 months!!. Amazing.
Much of the Residenz which was commissioned by the Prince Bishop Johann Philipp when the fortress residence was not grand enough for him!
The town was 90% destroyed in March of 1945 by a fire bombing, but the staircase and some other parts of the complex survived.
Here are 60 churches in the town and we visited the main one, the Wurzburg Cathedral which is consecrated to St. Killian. It is one of the 5 largest Roman Catholic Churches in Germany. This area was the site of the Thirty Years War where more than 900 “witches” were accused and burned.
We learned that most of the roofs are the red type seen everywhere here. If you see black, it is slate which was rare and expensive back then, so it means that the building was of great importance. The churches were very important and very ornate in most cases. The cathedral here is an interesting combination of old style and new and there is a Jewish menorah as you enter, symbolizing the Old Testament. By the way, St. Killian, who is revered here, was born in Ireland and is the patron saint of rheumatism. The things you learn when you have a great guide!
It didn’t mention that on yesterday’s hike, we were on part of the Santiago de Compostela, the Way of St. James. If we had continued we would have had to hike 1000 km. to Spain where the pilgrimage ends. We saw that place in our travels previously. The route is marked by the scallop shell symbol. Sabine was our guide on that hike and she was great too.
Our guide, Stephanie, told us that the city has about 135,000 residents and 50,000 students. Medicine is one of the main focuses in the University here.
We ended the city tour on the Old Main Bridge which was modeled after the one in Prague, the Charles Bridge. It is not as long and it doesn’t have as many statues, but it is beautiful and the tradition of drinking wine on the bridge is going strong here! Norm bought two bottles and went back to the ship and I joined our next guide, Dorothea for the 5 mile hike!
The hike was a good one, again through forests, up long and steep staircases and up to near the Marienberg Fortress. We actually ended after dark and were the last 11 people back to the ship!
Tonight after dinner they made bananas foster in the lobby and we had our dessert in the lounge. Then Jessie gave her talk about the two towns we will visit tomorrow and the raffle followed that. I won a purse!
Watch for the posts about Wertheim and Miltenberg, the destinations for tomorrow, November 10.