During the morning info-walk on Day 10 of our river cruise, we saw a wonderful array of large colourful love heart collages strung high above the cobblestone streets in the city centre of Passau.
I have posted some in this blog. But this is really only a smallish sample of them. They added such a cheerful quality to this already picturesque little township. I’m not sure why they were there in the early Spring of this year or even if they are still there. Although I do doubt they would have survived the devastation caused by all of the rain and flooding that occurred just one short month later. If anyone does happen to know the reason behind them I’d really love to hear from you.
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #2
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #3
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #4
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #5
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #6
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #7
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #8
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #9
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #10
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #11
Love heart banner, Passau Germany 2013 #12
I’ve also added a link to a Youtube video on Passau at the top of this blog and I pasted again here for anyone who would like to view it. Just click on the video to watch it.
How could this be I had to ask? We did still have one more day in Germany after all. I’d thought Passau was in Austria but no…I find it’s actually in Germany but sitting right on the border between the two countries. It’s also only about 30klms away from the border of the Czech Republic.
Sailing down the Danube to
So with yet one more day in Germany, we were soon off to explore lovely Picturesque Passau (Pop approx 50,000), which sits rather poetically on the confluence of three rivers – The Ilz, The Inn and The Danube.
It’s also sometimes referred to in German as the Drieflussestadt which translates to “the Town of 3 rivers” and at other times as “Barvaria’s Venice”.
View from high on the hill overlooking the confluence of the 3 rivers, Passau, Germany
Another photo of the beautiful view in Passau, Germany
Veste Orberhaus, Fortress on the Hill, Passau, Germany
We’d decided to catch a little sightseeing bus and travel up to the top of the hill behind Passau in order to take in it’s picture perfect views. Needless to say there were watery vistas everywhere below…..indeed such a pretty little place.
Our bus driver was talking to all of the other passengers on board in German; hence we couldn’t understand a word he was saying for most of the journey. Many on board actually seemed to be participating in a little Trivia Quiz and some were even winning little prizes for their correct responses.
Then all of a sudden, the bus driver turned to us and directed a question in English.
“Passau is famous for its three rivers,” he said. “Can you tell me the names of all three?”
Well thankfully I’d actually read the little news letter delivered to our stateroom the evening before just as I always did. And I think I must have read it far more carefully than Dearly Beloved (D.B.) for I quickly rattled off my response ….”The Ilz, The Inn and The Danube,” I replied with quite some pride in my newly acquired knowledge.
Interesting doorway Passau, Germany.
“Wonderful,” replied our rather friendly bus driver. “You have won yourself this little voucher for some cake and coffee at a little café in Passau. I will show you where to go when we get back down into the town.”Indeed, I was quite excited by all of this! I’d actually won something.
Passau township, Germany
But as you are probably aware, the rivers of Passau have also caused its Town-folk much grief at various times throughout history. Sodden and waterlogged as it was yet again early in June this year (and just one short month after our own visit). Record high floods had again triggered a massive cleanup to remove all of the smelly mud and silt from the cities roads and buildings as the water receded. If you have time, you might like to click on the video links below and take a closer look at the havoc it caused.
Of the 50,000 inhabitants of Passau, 10,000 of them evidently include a revolving residency of students who attend the Passau universities. As such, this lovely little Town does have a rather youngish feel to it. There were love heart banners across its streets and young people out and about just enjoying the sunny day.
Yellow Rose display, Passau, Germany
According to Wikipedia, Passau was first settled by some displaced Roman tribes way back in about the 2nd century A.D. Later, it was called home by the “Batavi” an old German tribe. By the 8th century it had become the largest dioceses of the Holy Roman Empire.
Door on St Stephen’s Passau, Germany
St Stephen’s Passau, Germany
Detail inside St Stephen’s Passau, Germany.
One part of the organ, St Stephen’s Passau, Germany
Gold statue, St Stephen’s Passau, Germany.
More Statues inside St Stephen’s Passau, Germany
More detail, St Stephen’s, Passau, Germany
Last photo, St Stephen’s Passau, Germany.
For us, today’s wonderful little sightseeing gems included the Alstadt (Old Town area) and the majestic, Gothic and Baroque St Stephen’s Cathedral, which was built in about the 17th century A.D. With its beautiful white interior and its Carpoforo Tencalla, Ceiling Frescos, St Stephen’s is truly a stand out piece of architecture. The cathedral houses eight bells and lays claim to the largest organ in the world outside of the United States of America. We were lucky enough to hear it play as we were treated to an organ concert at the end of the morning’s info-walk. Just wonderful…….and yes yet another interesting and enjoyable day. But this one really was our last in Germany!
Spring Flower Display down near the river, Passau, Germany
Passau Resident, Germany.
Apricot Rose in Passau, Germany.
Pink rose in Passau, Germany.
Children’s traditional clothing for sale Passau Germany
This is the story of a young student bear, some clever, sparkly gnomes, a rather large bag of magic fairy dust, and a somewhat disoriented Viking River Cruise tourist who loses her way in Radiant Regensburg! (P. S. Dearly Beloved (D.B.), continues to tell a similar (but perhaps far more colourful version to all who will lend an ear!) Do beware though as it is a rather looong story!
Well here goes…..
Once upon a time, there was a, not so young, Aussie couple who had found themselves lucky enough to have saved all of their pennies over many years. With all of this saved up treasure they’d been able to purchase a most wonderful Viking River Cruise in exchange for their “Penny Gold”!
This magical river cruise was now taking them through some five countries (The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary) and up and down three main rivers (The Rhine, The Main and the Danube). It was a truly grand European Sojourn. They were travelling in the early Spring months, as the trees were unfurling their emerald-green leaves and many of Europe’s prettiest blossoms were again bursting into their rainbow of Spring colour.
Everything had been going so well, just as it always seems to, right at the very beginning of a really great Fairy Tale! The couple had been wined and dined, cocktailed and trivia quizzed, entertained and nurtured, pandered, mothered and totally spoilt. They were meeting lots of new friends from all around the world. There were lovely people from England, Wales, Scotland, and America, travelling with them. The couple even met some 22 or more new friends from their own land down under called Oz.
They had been sailing for nine days so far. Today they were going to visit Radiant Regensburg.
The sweet (but not so young) girl with her beloved Nikon D7000, heartily vowed to try to take some of the very best photos she could on this day.
After all, she really wanted to remember this interesting little city. It was also going to be the couples very last day in Germany for many more years to come. And added to this, the sweet, not so very young girl, knew that Radiant Regensberg was quite well known for its amazingly old architecture. She also happened to know it held a rich place in European history. How did she know all this you may well ask? Well she knew it because she’d spent quite some time in the mid-morning hours quietly surfing around Google on the wonderful internet of the 21st century, just looking at many of the places they would soon be visiting.
After docking in Radiant Regensburg just after the sun had reached its highest point in the cloud filled sky that day, the happy couple quickly disembarked for their afternoon of sightseeing and info-walking. There were so many interesting things to look at….things that they simply didn’t have back in their own young country.
There were archeological diggings, stone-aged roman walls, a beautiful arched stone bridge dating back to the time of the crusades, a 900 year old sausage kitchen that smelled simply divine, and the most wonderfully ornate Gothic Dom.
Archeological Diggings, Regensburg.
Photographer living dangerously to take photos of Archeological Diggings
Well the girl with her beloved Nikon D7000 got busy taking lots of joyful happy snaps. She was most careful to try to minimize the number of people in her shots so that they looked more like the professional ones she’d seen on the Internet and in the glossy travel magazines.
In fact, she would often hang back for considerable amounts of time just waiting until the others had taken their photos and moved on again. At the very least it often took her some time to get all of her manual settings just right on her beloved camera.
Green Leaves and Horse Chestnut Blossom.
More pretty Spring Blossom.
So she was often lagging behind all of the other sprightly sightseers in her tour group. On several occasions, her concerned and kindly husband had come back to get her. He tried to warn her that she needed to hurry along and keep up with the rest!
Waiting for someone else to take a photo!
Taking a photo after the other person had finished!
But then it happened…..
The sweet, not so young girl, with her beloved Nikon D7000 turned around from taking a particularly time consuming shot and found herself all alone in Radiant Regensburg……..a city that was actually thousands and thousands of miles away from her home in the land of Oz.
“Crikey”, she thought…Where’s everyone else gone now? (She may well have said far worse than this you know! Being polite company it shall not be repeated here!)
She rushed outside but there was no one to be seen. Not even her wonderful Dearly Beloved (D.B.) They’d all suddenly vanished into the ether of the atmosphere. A whole river boat full of nomadic sightseeing tourists had gone “poof” and were now nowhere to be found!
She turned to look this way.
She turned to look that way.
Her gaze swept hurriedly up the street and down.
Ah….thankfully it wasn’t too long before she spotted a small group of tourist’s a long way up the street in front of (what was now looking to her like the most beautiful) Viking info-walk tourist guide she had ever seen. And yes…the guide was holding one of those lovely round lolly-pop signs that she recognized so well. Oh thank goodness she thought to herself, “THERE THEY ALL ARE”!
The sweet, not so young girl, rushed as fast as her little old legs could rush, as she raced along hastily to rejoin her group way up yonder on the horizon.
But something was still very wrong.
As she drew nearer the tour guide, she noticed that her audio head set was still not picking up this lovely Viking Tour guides radio signal as it should. Then suddenly it dawned on her…she realized there were no familiar faces in this group at all. No, not a one. Here she was in Radiant Regensburg such a long way from home and there was not one familiar face to be seen! Starting to panic now she knew deep inside that this was not her tour group after all.
She had to admit it.
She was lost.
She had no idea which way to go or where to start looking.
She was lost in this historic old German City of Radiant Regensburg and some thousands of miles away from her home in Oz.
But wait…..way up yonder at the other end of the street she could see some most impressive main-street looking buildings. Don’t panic she told herself resignedly. Panicking just won’t help at all.
Immediately she headed for the main street.
When she finally got there, she could see strangers everywhere. There were singles strangers, couples strangers and small groups of strangers. But sadly all appeared to be just that ….STRANGERS! Many appeared to be out and about enjoying a day’s shopping.
But there were no lovely familiar Viking Lolly Pop signs and there were absolutely no familiar Viking faces.
Adrenalin now pulsing through her body, she stooped to think…what to do?
“Ah”! She now recalled hearing that her tour groups were going to meet back at the Dom when the clock struck three!
She quickly looked at her own watch. It was now just ten minutes away from three. If only she could just find the Dom she could hopefully get back there by three o’clock and meet up with her group and her wonderful D.B. She now couldn’t wait to see his face again.
But where was the Dom? Which way to go? Surely the spires would have to be a dead giveaway. The sweet, not so young girl, scanned the horizon. But no, not a spire anywhere to be seen.
She stopped to ask a young student bear, “Excuse me kind sir, could you please tell me the way to the ornately beautiful Regensburg Dom?
Young Student Bear.
“Ah but no I cannot”, said the young bear sadly. “I’m from Munich and only here in Radiant Regensburg visiting for the day”.
“Oh no”, thought the girl with a sinking heart.
Then she saw some pretty sparkly green and gold magic gnomes. “They look wise and very kindly,” she thought to herself.
Kind Sparkly Gnomes.
She stopped to ask them, “Excuse me you pair, you look like a very wise and helpful pair of young gnomes, Could you please tell me the way to the beautiful Regensburg Dom?
“Ah but no we cannot”, replied the sparkly gnomes. “We’re from Ireland and we’re only in Regensburg visiting for one day”.
The girl’s heart sank further.
“Oh but wait”, said one of the kindly gnomes….….we do have some magic gnome dust with us.”
Magic Gnome Fairy Dust!
With a wonderful woosh and a whirl, the sparkly gnomes threw their magic glitter dust high into the air. It billowed around in a little whirlywind.
All of a sudden the girl spied the very familiar faces of a lovely Welsh couple who were also travelling on her longship.
With heart racing quickly she ran up to them.
“Hello are you with the group from our river boat sightseeing tour today she asked.”
“Why no”, they said.
“We’ve decided to just do a little of our own sightseeing and shopping today. We didn’t take the tour as we’ve both been here a few times before,” they said.
Relief flooded through the sweet girl’s veins. Surely they must know their way around.
Back to the Dom before the clock struck three!
And so all ended well. This lovely Welsh couple were able to direct the poor lost, not so young girl, right back in the direction of the Dom where she was able to rejoin her group yet again.
Strangely her D.B. appeared rather angry with her when she returned. How could he be so angry when she was now so very, very happy she wondered?
Well it turned out that he’d mistakenly thought she’d been absconded by the Gypsy’s. He’d been searching and searching and couldn’t find her anywhere.
She wondered what he thought the Gypsy’s might want with a sweet, but not so young girl? She couldn’t work that one out. Not at all!
Ah but the tale has a very happy ending as all good fairy tales do and nothing could spoil the sweet, not so young girls, deliciously happy frame of mind now that she had found everyone once more.
Well the motto of this story is obvious I think:
Never take too long to take your travel photographs for fear you may find yourself all alone and a long lost way from home!
Did you know that this is most certainly not the only Radiant Regensburg Fairy Tale ever written. I’ve recently read a news story that said there were some 500 lost Fairy Tales rediscovered in Regensburg just a couple of years ago. They’d evidently been hidden away for over 150 years. You can read all about them by clicking either of the two numbered links below. If you can read german, you can even buy a book containing many of these lost fairy tales from Amazon. For a small sample of these tales just click here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/mar/05/turnip-princess-discovered-fairytale
Oh and lastly, I wanted to tell you all about another wonderful blogger in our blogosphere called Brenda who writes lots of lovely modern fairy tales for the whole family. Do go over and check out her blog as well. You can find out more about her at: http://friendlyfairytales.com/about-2/
Despite this, I wanted to make the most of our last day and truly relish in this opportunity to explore yet another beautiful German city we’d never seen before.
Armed with my trusty D7000 and our knowledgeable, but young info-walk guide, I was determined to get the very best photos I could in this pretty city.
Outside Portia Praetoria, Regensburg, Germany.
According to one famous British architect, Lord Norman Foster, Regensburg, Germany, (Population about 140,000) is actually one of the most beautiful, and historic cities in the world. Sitting right on the banks of the Danube and Regens Rivers; just a little west of the Black Forest in Germany, it is historically abundant. The city showcases many old buildings and “centuries old’ architectural styles. Some buildings even date back to the Stone Age (around 90 A.D.)
Wandering around Regensburg’s cobbled streets, in Germany.
Unlike Nuremberg (which we visited yesterday), Regensburg was left relatively untouched by the World War 2 bombing raids. But it is of course another UNESCO World Heritage Listed City due to its many irreplaceable treasures. As such it provides significant windows into Germany’s architectural and historical richness…….a city that has survived many of Germany’s early conflicts.
St Peter’s Dom, Regensburg, Germany.
Inside the Dom, Regensburg
All of the early architecture is still there, Romanesque, Roccoco, Gothic. There’s even a very early Roman wall and a reproduction temple built to honour of the Parthenon in Greece. The latter, called Walhalla is evidently some 15 kilometres to the east of Regensburg; it sits in a little place called Donaustuaf. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see it. I think I would have loved to visit but maybe there is good reason why we didn’t.
I’ve been told, Regensburg lays claim to the oldest sausage kitchenin the world (some 900 years old in fact). Dating back to about the 12th Century A.D., people still throng to its rustic ambiance. They sit on basic wooden bench seats watching the Danube pass them by as they chat about the treasures cacooned within the area. And they enjoy sampling the deliciously spicy German fried sausages with caraway seed rolls, homemade sauerkraut and mustard. Yummm
Old Sausge Kitchen, Regensburg, Germany.
But Viking were indeed keeping us very well fed during this wonderful river cruise. I have to say there were always delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners; smallish servings on the whole, but so many courses meant we were unable to squeeze in even a another morsel…not even a mouthful of sauerkraut, let alone a whole sausage meal, complimented by a caraway roll and other condiments to boot. Sadly our very sated tums meant we had to leave the sampling of such tasty age-old morsels to all of the other hungry visitors to Regensburg that day!
As we wandered along the banks of the Danube, we came to Regensburg’s old, arching stone bridge. It was evidently the very first stone Bridge to cross the banks of the Danube in Germany…..so old indeed, that it has seen the knights of the 2nd and 3rd Crusades trotting across its structure on their trusty steeds way back in about the 12th Century A.D.
And I must say that the view from the bridge was really beautiful…..there were historical regional city views with Cathedral spires in one direction, busy river boat and water views in another and there were even some small wilderness areas on the other side.
Regensburg, Germany, taken from the old stone bridge across the Danube.
The Danube River, Regensburg, Germany.
Greenery seen from the bridge in Regensburg, Germany.
We visited so many places that afternoon on our short 1- 2 hour info-walk.
I more than most it would seem!!!
Between all of the historic buildings, knowing it was our last day in Germany, and with my very deep-seated desire to take the best photos I possibly could…….. it turned out to be a rather more eventful afternoon than we’d intended!!
Ah but that’s another German “tale” altogether! Germany’s simply full of all sorts of German tales I believe. Must be something to do with a tradition of the fairy tales and the Grimm Brothers perhaps!
Another view from the old stone brige, Regensburg, Germany.
Traditional clothing for sale, Regensburg, Germany.
Mozart with a tourist, Rergensburg, Germany.
David and Goliath Mural, Regensburg, Germany.
“Dr Bear” outside of a medical centre, Regensburg, Germany.
Cute little garden gnomes, Regensburg, Germany
Can you believe it though? The continuing story has something to do with some Magic Gnomes having to return a rather lost Viking tourist to a very worried husband and her tour group! But more of that intriguing little tale next time! Please don’t worry ….. all good fairy tales tend to have happy endings these days!
Nuremberg (Population about 510,000) in middle Franconia, sits on the banks of the Pegnitz River and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. It’s the largest city in Franconia, Germany and the second largest in Barvaria.
Nuremberg City, Middle Franconia, Germany
Nuremberg’s history dates back to about the 11th century A.D.
It’s actually a miracle we can still enjoy some of its rich historical atmosphere, considering about 90% the Old Town Area was totally destroyed towards the end of World War 2. But miracles do happen!
Nuremberg sits on the Pegnitz River.
Ceiling shot in Cathedral of Our Lady, Nuremberg
Stained glass windows in Cathedral of Our Lady, Nuremberg.
The majority of the city was rebuilt shortly after the war ended. Historical buildings still coexist alongside more modern architectural structures. Its elaborate fountains, ornately decorated churches, grand old statues and even the centuries old Nuremberg Castle itself are all still there to be viewed by the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the city every year.
Fountain, Carousel of Marriage, Nuremberg
The Schroner Bruner Fountain, Nuremberg.
Today Nuremberg is best known for its gingerbread, sausages, quality homemade toys and Christkindlesmarkt or Christmas markets.
It is also very much a part of the industrial heart of the wider Barvarian Region, with large companies such as Siemens and Bosch having both firmly established in the city.
Architectural mix in Nuremberg Street
It appears to be a township of renewed vigour. A city, that despite near total destruction less than a hundred years ago, still stands proudly as a symbol of what can be achieved through a concerted effort and unyielding spirit.
But it certainly hasn’t forgotten the atrocities that took place either. In the year 2000 it was awarded one of the UNESCO Peace and Human Rights Education prizes for its role in promoting peace and for educating others about the importance of human rights for all.
Nuremberg City of Peace and Human Rights Education
After our rather solemn morning, Dearly Beloved (D.B.) and I really enjoyed just spending our afternoon meandering around Nuremberg’s pretty streets, taking in the interesting shop windows and soaking up the lovely eclectic architectural mix and cosmopolitan feel.
Nuremberg, wandering the peaceful streets.
This was indeed a small, yet vibrant city and a joy to visit during our river cruise.
Oh and I also recall this was the one and only day we didn’t decide to go back to our “Longship Tor” for lunch. We’d stayed on to savour some of the traditional bratwurst sausage and sauerkraut instead. Then to top it off, D.B. happily got to sample some of that delicious Apple Strudel he’d been hankering after for some time now!
Maybe when people truly understand that we are all citizens of the same beautiful planet, sharing the same vaporous atmosphere within the same radiant solar system, perhaps then….they may at last realize, it is not their country that they need to protect but rather our entire living breathing Earth, along with its place among the stars in our shimmering Milky Way.
After all the destruction, the atrocities of World War II, and all of the other major wars that came long before that, it’s quite confounding to find that there are still people on our wonderful planet that believe terror and violence constitute an appropriate means of resolving conflict!
Hitler’s Colosseum, Nuremberg, Germany.
Ah well….. that’s enough of my soap box for now other than to say please….we must all advocate peace whenever we can.
Well it was Day 8 of our European River Cruise. We’d docked early in Nuremberg that morning.
2nd World War, Nuremberg Museum, Germany.
To start the day, Dearly Beloved (D.B.) and I had chosen to visit several of the more solemn areas within this historical city called Nuremberg, Germany (population about 510,000); areas and places that, for us, had become so much a part of our own modern-day history, as we’d grown up in Australia just after all of the catastrophic destruction of World War 2. Indeed, during our childhoods, other wars still raged close by in Vietnam and Korea.
We therefore felt it important that we pay our respects and honour our fallen. We also hoped that the day’s sightseeing choices would allow us to gain a greater…much deeper….understanding.
The Colosseum, Exhibit in Nuremberg Museum, Germany.
We would be heading off to visit Hitler’s uncompleted Colosseum, along with the the Zeppelinfeld and the Courts of the Nuremberg War Trials.
Hitler had wanted to build a Colosseum of truly grand proportions. It was never completed. Today it is a museum housing many documents and newsreels (very old movies) from the 2nd World War. It stands solidly as a macabre reminder of past atrocities and as a fervent symbol of caution to our current and future generations.
After passing the Colosseum we travelled on to the Zeppelinfeld, originally known as the Nazi Party Rally grounds. It was enormous; far bigger than one would think. It evidently catered for some 200,000 spectators and many more thousands of participants during the early rally years. Just to be there… to actually see where this person once stood rallying a nation actually filled me with the most eerie and unpleasant feeling.
The Zepplinfeld, Nuremberg, Germany.
Since the war, the Zepplinfeld has become a vacant and unused area of the city. It is mainly a sightseeing venue for tourists. On occasion, it has also been used as a venue for school football events and as a race track. It was also been used infrequently for rock festivals.
Today the Zeppelinfeld is crumbling; much in need of repair. The Government is quite controversially talking about spending money to maintain its structure. This is believed by some to be a scandalous project. But if repairs were to take place, it is envisaged that the area would continue to be used mainly as a tourist destination. It may house another museum…..I myself believe it is important for us to see the reminders…….lest we forget!
We then travelled on to the Nuremberg Palace of Justice; the actual court location of the Nuremberg War Trials. This is where the Allied Forces of World War 2 tried a large number of the most notable Nazi war criminals; mostly the more prominent members of the old political, military, and economic leadership of Nazi Germany.
Palace of Justice, Nuremberg, Germany.
I would have to say that the morning’s visits were thought provoking, unsettling, emotional and moving.
Would I have wanted to miss the experiences? No not at all….I don’t think so.
Some things in life still need to be experienced even when they prove difficult.
Afterall such experiences still enlighten us and thereby contribute to our awareness…..our unique understandings and central core of inner beliefs.
But I’m told we’re now living in the 21st century…Time now I believe to have a united flag for our earth and our solar system….. rather than just our country!
We need one flag symbolising our Earth and our Solar System for all nations and all people to raise high! The sooner the better.
I believe we need to unite under just one flag as we see our allegiance for planet earth and all of its life forms interconnected through our solar system.
After our morning’s visit to the magnificent Wurzburg Residence and a rather informative info-walk delivered by our knowledgeable tour guides, we chose to fill the rest of the day exploring on our own.
The Kapelle Pilgrim Church across the Main River.
Wurzburg (population approximately 140,000) is built on the banks of the the Main River. Its architectural style is quite different to that of the half-timbered or Fachwerk style of little Mitenberg township which we’d visited on the previous day.
Fortress Marienburg from across the Main River in Wurzburg
With a rather eccletic mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Boroque and Rococo styles along with some other rather modern architecture interspersed, we found it a small but most interesting modern day city.
The Market Square, Wurzburg.
According to Wikipedia, Wurzburg has experienced many changes. In earliest times (from about the 4th to the 7th century A.D.) it was called home by some of the Celtic race. Later there were the Franks. It was also visited by early Christian Irish Missionaries. But by about the 8th century, it had come under the rule of the Catholic Prince-Bishopry. Today, of course it is part of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Dom St Kilian in Wurzburg.
Skeleton detail over doorway to Dom St Kilian in Wurzburg
A closer look at the detail surrounding the doorway.
Along with several other German cities, Wurzburg has seen many religious, cultural and political upheavals. It is a veteran of the civil unrest associated with Napolean’s French Revolution and the Wars with the Hapsburgs. It has been witness to the cruel events related to the medieval Witch Trials. It has seen the atrocities that impacted its Jewish population during the German holocaust. Added to this, it was very extensively bombed by the British during World War 2.
Yet Wurzburg survives…..one could even say it flourishes.
Flower Shop in the Wurzburg Market Square.
Red and White roses in the Flower Shop in Wurzburg.
Today it is home to some 30,000 or so University students and it is famous for its Franconian Wine production. There are many beautiful vineyards throughout the region. We sailed past many of the grape growing areas as we travelled along the Main River. Even the Wurzburg wine bottles are famous. They are called a Bocksbeutel and have their own very distinctive shape…… a rather short neck leading down to a flattened yet bulbous looking bottom.
Dearly Beloved (D.B.) and I found it interesting just strolling the banks of the Main River. We enjoyed taking in the lovely views across to the Marienberg Fortress (built 13th century) and the Kapelle Pilgrim Church (built 18th century).
D.B. letting the jeweller know that one of the clocks on the building was showing the wrong time for Sydney Australia. It was still showing Daylight Saving time in May.
In the afternoon we made our way back into the cobbled stone centre of Wurzburg City and then spent a further couple of relaxing hours just exploring the more accessible sights of this lovely Franconian district.
Yes it was definitely a modern a modern city but it was also steeped in a long ……and at times traumatic history.
D.B. outside Marienkapelle (Chapel of St Mary), Wurzburg
Ornate timber doorway of Marienkapelle, Wurzburg
Neumunster, a Romanesque Style Cathedral in Wurzburg.
We’d now docked in Wurzburg, Franconia (Population approx 144,000). We’d sailed from Miltenberg the previous evening and then travelled on down the Main River through the night. Today we’d moved into the Northern Barvarian Region of Germany.
We were preparing ourselves for another enjoyable morning of sightseeing when over the longship’s speaker system came the call we’d all been waiting for:
“A very, very, lovely good morning to you all my wonderful ladies and gentlemen. This is your first call for this morning. Would those of you wishing to join our morning’s sightseeing in Wurzburg to visit the Residenz Palace, please start to make their way to the departure area.”
Ceiling Painting – Wurzburg Residence
We were in the habit of dressing early, then waiting for these ‘always on time’ and ‘always oh so polite’ announcements to come from our absolutely wonderful and extremely well organized, travel-hostess, Valerie.
Today the announcement procedures were no different…..yet I found myself becoming more excited as our departure drew nearer. Afterall, today we would soon be heading off to see one of the most ornate, most spectacular residences in Germany, a residence with some real “WOW” factor –“The Wurzburg Residenz.”
Wurzburg Residence, Germany
Another photo of Wurzburg Residence, Germany.
Architect, Balthaser Neumann designed and co-ordinated the building of this extraordinarily, beautiful baroque palace back in the early 1700s. It was built for Prince-Bishop Johann Phillipp Franz von Shonborn and the Counts of Shonborn. It encapsulated the work of many of the very finest artists and craftsmen of the day, including the ornamentation genius, Antonio Bossi and ceiling painter extraordinaire, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
Ornate work, Wurzburg Palace
On viewing the residence Dearly Beloved (D.B.) and I were naturally awestruck. Afterall, we’d never seen a structure of such ornate magnificence. It captured so many different historical styles of interior décor of the time. I believe it could be described as similar to, yet different from the Palace of Versailles in France. Having not seen Versailles myself I can’t really comment.
Mirror Room, Wurzburg Residence
Ornate Ceiling Work, Wurzburg Residence
As we followed our “Residenz Tour Guide” from one highly decorative area of the palace to another exploring each the individual rooms, the whole splendor of place just seemed to envelope us in its history and grandeur.
It seemed to become more and more ornate as we moved further into the building.
Antique Room Heater, Wurzburg Residence
We saw so much; first there was the large entry vestibule, then we moved on to the enormous grand staircase room with its extremely high painted ceilings, then there was the absolute beauty of the neoclassical White Room, the marble and stucco work of the Imperial Hall, the dazzling Room of Mirrors, the Residenz Chapel and so so much more.
Lost for words for most of the time, all I seemed to be able to say as one door closed and another opened was………
Wow, Wow, Wow and Wow or else lots of O.M.G’s which for me is Oh My Goodness or Oh My Golly Goloshes!
With some free time to ourselves, before we reached our next scheduled UNESCO World Heritage destination of Miltenberg, we’d decided to take advantage of a relaxing opportunity to just kick back and enjoy some time to ourselves.
We wanted to mellow into this most magnificent holiday; after all we were totally enjoying our new home-away-from-home on Longship Tor. We were also enjoying being pampered and spoilt; it was truly so lovely not having to do anything for yourself…..well not very much for ourselves anyway!
This must be the most luxurious way to Journey through Europe!
To wile away a few hours this morning I’d chosen to spend time reading. I’d recently picked up a very light-hearted, yet humorous little book on modern-day Germany entitled “Those Crazy Germans” by Steven Somers.
It filled in a couple of hours nicely (actually triggered several lively conversations and a few hearty chuckles along the way)….Really it did help me to start to differentiate the “bergs” from the “burgs”; it developed my understanding of tipping and even clarified the appropriate etiquette for eating out at a local German tavern.
It also did a great job of acquainting me with some of the other less-well-known cultural aspects of every day life in today’s Germany.
As the morning passed, it was also delightful just watching the river and all of the little Bavarian villages pass by; lovely to see the green of the countryside in all of its new Spring leaf and most enjoyable to take photographs of yet another new day.
A swan on the Main River in Germany
I loved watching the graceful, white swans as they swam just out from our stateroom windows.
I recall there seemed to be so many beautiful white swans; they were on all of the rivers throughout Europe and most wonderful to look at. I could have sat and watched them for hours if I’d had time.
But the morning soon disappeared and we were again off and away to sightsee and explore.
We spent the afternoon in an absolutely delightful township called Miltenberg (population about 10,000).
It was just magical.
Coming from Australia we’d never seen a township with so much history or so many traditional medieval buildings before. Initially I thought them to be some sort of Tudor architectural style but I was quickly corrected.
After all Tudor is English….most definitely not German.
Out and about in Miltenberg Germany
Metal sculptures outside a shop in Miltenberg, Germany
Fachwerk Architectural Style, Miltenberg, Germany
Scarf shopping Miltenberg, Germany
Main street in Miltenberg, Germany.
They are, in fact, great examples of what is known as the “Fachwerk” architectural style.
Though do be most careful how you say that. It’s a little tricky for the English speaker and should always be pronounced with the very guttural European tone. (Please remember…. it’s not to be confused with any sort of poor English enunciation!)
Actually many people, including the helpful Viking team, just seem to call it the half-timbered façade style.
Whatever you prefer to call it, I found Miltenberg a most magical little village. It was filled with the kind of charm, architecture and history that we just don’t have in our land down under…… in Australia.
Once again I found myself thinking that perhaps Walt Disney or one of those Grimm’s brothers might just materialize as we were rounding a medieval corner or passing one of those very traditional timber doorways in this amazing little place.
Beautiful old doorway with flood levels on wall beside, in Miltenberg,Germany
One very old cottage in particular reminded me so much of that Fairy Tale about Hansel and Gretel. Take a look…isn’t it just so charming. I do so love, love, love it!
Charming old cottage in Miltenberg, Germany
After our educational Viking info-walk, looking at the culture and history of Miltenberg and the Lower Franconian region in general, we’d had some free time to explore on our own.
Dearly Beloved (D.B.) had been hoping for some yummy traditional Apple Strudel. How could we possibly eat any more I questioned?
D.B. outside the cafe that sold the longed for Apple Struedel
Somehow I recall I managed to talk him into a pleasant little uphill stroll to explore the scenic views from up on high at the Miltenberg Castle.
Like all castles it was perched on one of the highest points overlooking the little township. The views were breathtaking and so well worth the slightly strenuous walk uphill to see them.
Through the tunnel and up the hill to the castle, Miltenberg, Germany
The path to the castle in Miltenberg, Germany
Flowers in our travels around Miltenberg, Germany.
The view from the Miltenberg Castle, Germany
D.B. and I with the view of Miltenberg, Germany in the background
HAVE A LOOK AT THESE OTHER PHOTOGRAPHS OF CASTLES ALONG THE MIDDLE RHINE ON THE LOVELY ADINPARADISE BLOG – IT TOO HAS A GALLERY OF BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS SHOWING MANY OF THE CASTLES FOUND IN THIS AREA:
Today we were excited about exploring Koblenz and the castle district of the Middle Rhine in Germany.
View to the Rhine Germany
Early this morning we’d tied up in the Deutsches Eck or German Corner which sits majestically on a headland at the confluence of the Rhine and the Moselle Rivers in Germany.
German Corner in Koblenz Germany
We’d looked out to see the most wonderful equestrian statue; an historical monument depicting the well known German Emperor, William the 1st that was initially erected in the late 1800s. Sitting grandly right on the tip of the headland it signalled yet another historical window into Germany’s past. It is now viewed as a dedicated landmark to the continued unification of Germany.
We were on the outskirts of the city of Koblenz (Population approx 110,000).
Tulips at a church near the German Corner Koblenz
It was green and it was spring.
We’d soon be heading off to explore the medieval past with our scheduled visit to Marksberg Castle this morning.
Marksberg rises high above the small town of Braubach on the banks of the Middle Rhine. Amazingly,it still remains firmly intact despite the two world wars and the significant turmoil and destruction of the 20th century. It’s one of the very few castles that remains in original form despite the centuries of battle and the civil calamities that are all part of early German history.
This castle’s survival provides a kind of lens through which we can view our affluent German ancestors, their enemies, their servants, their goals and their daily lives in days of yore.
Viking Coaches to take us to Marksberg Castle
As we disembarked our Longship Tor, we saw that Viking had organized their very own….. very modern Viking Fleet of Buses to Transport us in comfort up to the Castle for the morning’s sightseeing. (We weren’t aware they owned a fleet of company buses prior to this.)
Well anyway once again there would be many wonderful travel photo opportunities and I was looking forward to them all. My battery was charged and my beloved camera was close by. Dearly Beloved (D.B.) was kindly helping to carry the photographic paraphernalia as he often does.
First we saw the neat traditional outside structure of the castle itself.
Marksberg Castle Germany
Then there was the well maintained historical inner core.
The painted ceiling Marksberg Castle
Four Post Bed Marksberg Castle
The Kitchen Marksberg Castle
The Armoury Marksberg Castle
Another ancient wall painting Marksberg Castle
Finally there was the wonderful view down to the river.
The Middle Rhine Germany
After our morning’s immersion in daily castle life, it was once again back to our Longship Tor for lunch.
As usual, the Viking Chef’s had very been busy in our absence. (I still occasionally wonder what life may have been like if I could’ve actually taken one or two of those wonderful chefs home with me! Anyway enough with the daydreaming). They had prepared yet another delicious buffet.
For today they’d naturally chosen a variety of the more traditional German recipes such as wurst, sauerkraut, salads and freshly baked pretzels. The dishes were made from the very freshest of local ingredients which had again obviously been sourced from the surrounding bakeries and farming areas along the Rhine.
Castle on the Middle Rhine
After a fairly busy morning we were now able to relax up on the beautiful Aquavit Terrace with our fellow travellers as we watched in awe of the surrounding scenery on this lovely Spring Afternoon.
There seemed to be castles everywhere…well at least castles every couple of kilometres or so. They perched high on the hills overlooking the river. There were times when there seemed to be castles everywhere you looked…and sometimes they were even on both banks of the river in the same area.
Same castle on the Middle Rhine in Germany
I recall that the the weather that afternoon was delightful…not too hot, not too cold……..just right in fact.
With the soft white clouds floating across the beautiful blue sky, our chilled glasses of German Moselle were adding an even more magical quality to the fairy tale vista unfolding before us……It was yet another glorious afternoon sailing down the Rhine… one to savour and just enjoy.
Another castle on the Middle Rhine that was once an hotel