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Wurzburg Germany: Beer, Wine, Castles, Palaces: Memories Are Made Of This !

Oct 16, 2005 (Updated Jan 16, 2006)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Historic sights galore

Cons:I'm not there now

The Bottom Line: Great food and drink...Wonderful old castle, palace and festivals

Nostalgia: From different dictionary sources I found on the internet..These definitions below define my feelings of the very word, for this intriguing Write/off

Deutsch German) translation

Nostalgie, Heimweh, Sehnsucht nach Vergangenem

English translations

1...longing for things, persons, or situations of the past

2... sentimental recollection: a mixed feeling of happiness, sadness, and longing when recalling a person, place, or event from the past, or the past in general

3...a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition; also: something that evokes nostalgia

When thinking of what or where I was most nostalgic for the first thing that came to my mind where the days and years I spent as a young women, newly married, in the town of Wurzburg Germany…During the 3 years we lived there we shared sights, sounds and personal experiences which could never be forgotten. The birth of our first daughter, the biggest highlight, the excitement of living in a foreign country, the joy of discovering the beauty and the history of fascinating places...the world of travel had opened up to us.

We were lucky to have been situated in such a diverse city and location, so near many incredibly interesting cities, villages and towns. Wurzburg, situated in the vine covered hills of Franconian wine country, is an outstanding Baroque city. For music lovers there is the annual Mozart festival..For art lovers, Renaissance and Rococo artwork fill the palaces and churches, for beer lovers, Wurzburger Hofbrau fill the beer halls. The X-ray was even invented in Wurzburg

The surrounding landscape of the Franconian hillside is the home to many well-preserved medieval castles, churches, monasteries and small villages. In between those hills and the edge of the Bavarian forest, and other forests where my husband spent many days and nights with his army unit, lies the upper Danube. Other rivers like the Rhine and the Main make this region one of the loveliest in all of Germany

Each weekend we would hop into our car or board a train to find and discover new places to visit. When hubby had longer periods of free time, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Italy were just hours away on the Autobahn.

For a day trip we could see the city of Nurnberg, a city almost completely destroyed now totally rebuilt, where we would climb the old ramparts and once, spent some time in the Zeppelinfeld Arena, the huge amphitheater where Hitler paraded his troops in the dramatic rallies we see now in old newsreels, chilling still when you think of it, to us, terrifying vibes still permeated the air.

One day we would be off on the train to Frankfurt to shop and to have Chinese food at one of the finest Chinese restaurants to be found in this region when the craving hit us.

Another day we would be off to Old Heidelberg for a few hours at the Castle…Though also damaged in the war, it still held a fascination to me, for on reflection, I think I love to visit castles more than any other type of historical destination...For a castle nut like me I lived in the perfect destination. I also developed my love of old villages and romantic locals. It was there we found another day trip we enjoyed so much which now is one of the most popular trips for tourists.

Wurzburg is the starting point for the 180 mile ride along the Romantische Strasse, otherwise known as the Romantic Road …The best way to take this journey is by car, to stop at one of the many unspoiled villages or 2000 year old towns along the way to the ultimate destination, Rothenburg au Tauber..Almost too charming some say, but I found the flower filled window boxes on nearly every building, the old fortified walls open to visitors to walk upon, the old market square where, on any given day, the best food, beer and wine could be found along with gifts galore…This is the scene of some of the best Christmas stores and festivals which take place at that time of year. Need a pair of Lederhosen or a beer stein? Well, this is the place to find them.

But, back to Wurzburg… Considered one of the loveliest Baroque cities in all of Germany, it is the home to the new and modern as well. It’s a young and lively town since it is a University city with a population of more than 50,000 students who, along with their studies, fill the beer halls and celebrate the end of the grape harvest season with young and old German citizens alike in the wine cellars and festivals that take place under big tents…. But be warned, stay away from the trenches that are dug along the outside of the tents to be used as pis*aurs by those who may have celebrated a bit too much. Another festival we enjoyed was called Fasching, where the citizens dress up in all manner of costumes, (wish I could show you the pictures of us during that festival), and celebrate in almost the same way as visitors did in New Orleans during Marti Gras. This was the time the Germans truly let down their hair, with private parties all over town as well as in the big tents set up for those celebrations.

I loved to go into the city by bus from one of the two small villages we lived in during those years, both on the outskirts of town…The bus drivers would always help me carry my baby Marci in her tram onto the bus and soon we would be in the middle of the everything…The shopping on the main street, always bustling, my favorite department store called the Kaufhof for any essentials I may need. Then it was off to the Market Platz where Bratwursts were sold for a pittance, where fresh vegetables, fruit and of course, wine and beer was always available. Oh, and the breads, the pastries, all so wonderful, the aromas mingling with the sounds of the market. I can almost see, smell and hear them now.

Then we’d be off to one of the fascinating historic sights that Wurzburg is famous for.

Since the town had been dominated by the Prince Bishops, who had lived there for centuries, there are two very important points of interest, first, the fortified Marienberg Castle where they lived before later moving into the famous Residenz Palace both still standing and a testament to those times.

I always found them to be fascinating and spent many hours walking the grounds of both, but my first love was the Castle. I wrote an essay about that castle a while back, below is just a small sample of that review:

The Marianberg Fortress as it's called, is built on the site of the first Church in Germany, which was named after Mary in the year 706, on the site of a pre-Christian pagan shrine and still retains the original building shape and it's rotunda walls. It is one of the oldest stone churches north of the Alps. The Prince-Bishops (the Bishops of Wurzburg who were also Dukes of the Franken region) improved the fortifications in the 11th century and did so continuously, until 1719, when they began building their new Grand palace across the river called the "The Residenz". Most of the features of the buildings are Baroque including the 100-meter deep well and the garden, which date from 1631.

There are so many ramparts and gates dating from so many different periods of time it is an architect's dream to explore and though many portions of the stronghold have been restored, the combination of age and wartime destruction has taken a toll on it's thick walls and once impenetrable ramparts. But, what remains is definitely worth a visit or many visits as in my case.. You can also see where there was a moat that protected the site though now the moat is grown over but, let your imagination take over and you can visualize just about any sight if you close your eyes and mind to the present day urban growth.

In the former arsenal to the right of the first courtyard is the Mainfrankische's Museum. Opened in 1946, it is the historical museum of the former bishops of Wurzburg and the Dukedom of Franconia as well as the provincial museum of lower Franconia. Exhibits include a well-known collection of sculpture by Tilman Reimenschneider, including his Adam and Eve, paintings by Tiepolo, and sandstone figures from the Rococo gardens of the prince-bishops summer place... A tribute to one of the few industries of the city, wine making, are the press house, the former vaults of the fortress, which contain historic casks and carved cask bases and a large collection of centuries old crystal glasses and goblets.

In the Furstenbaumuseum, one of the museums, situated in the restored Princes wing of the fortress, you get a very interesting glimpse of the living quarters and living conditions of the Prince Bishops in those years. The Urban-history section offers a stroll through 1200 eventful years of Wurzburg's history, including an exhibit relating to the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen in 1895, one of Wurzburg's biggest claims to fame. Two very large complete 3-D scale models of the town shows its Medieval appearance in 1525 and the other shows the destruction after the Allied bombing in 1945

We always took our out of town visitors to this castle and once even snuck in at night, but that’s another story all together.…The time we took both my grown daughters back there was a thrill, even though we were chased by a few wasps while dining in the outdoor café on the premises.

One of the things I had noticed on subsequent visits to Wurzburg, years after we had returned home, was that the land surrounding the Castle had more and more buildings and houses slowly encroaching their way up the hillside. Those hills that, during our years living there, were nothing but vineyards, the grapes back then slated for the famous Wurzburger wine which we had enjoyed so much. I don’t know where they are grown now but the wine is still being made so I guess the vineyards have found a new home…After all you can’t stop the progress of man and the desire to live on the best property in town.

Second most famous visited site, was the Residenzplatz, the home of the Bishop’s after they left the Fortress. This Building and the grounds are worthy of a visit or many visits if the art of the Baroque and Rococo period are of interest to you besides the history of such a splendid building...Begun in 1719 at the request of one of the Prince Bishop’s who had a passion for the elegant and over the top splendor, this Residence of Wurzburg is the last and finest of the baroque palaces built in Bavaria in the 17th and 18th centuries…Taking more than 24 years to build, it was the joint effort of the best Viennese, French and German architects of the time…The head architect, Balthasar Neuman, who oversaw every detail during it’s construction. Since it was built all at one time instead of at different periods in history, there is a unity of all it's design, most unusual in buildings of such historic significance and size.

Upon entering it’s dazzling when you look up, the breathtaking ceiling seems to come alive with the frescos done by the most famous painter of that time, Tiepolo...Everywhere you look, the colors, the themes of the these frescos of the four corners of the world, the seasons, and the Zodiac seem to come off the ceiling on to the sides of the upper walls.

The twin staircase designed by Newman is a masterpiece. It’s almost too much to see in one visit but it can be done…The grounds are also fantastic to behold especially in the spring and summer months though in the summer it can be a bit crowded…My hint for that time of year is to go late in the day when the crowd thins and the tour buses leave…But be careful, you might get locked in behind the tall black gates as what almost happened to us the year we went back with our daughters.

Speaking of which..What a delightful time we had there with them a few years ago...It was a thrill to take them on that trip, especially thrilling to show Marci, my Wurzburger baby where she was born, to go on the same walks I took with her when she was so little on those very narrow village streets…To walk along the Main River bank behind what used to be our apt…The walk along the famous All Saints Bridge…. All of it. As you can see I’m getting very nostalgic again, just thinking of those years, the trips we took to my favorite of all German cities, Wurzburg, my hometown.

Wurzburg is located 174 miles N.W. of Munich, 74 miles S.E. of Frankfurt, 68 miles N.W. of Nurnburg

Many thanks to Michelle for starting this Write/off…It was fun just thinking of those days and though this review is a bit on the long side, it could have been so much longer..:)

A little hotel by the river with an incredible view of the castle


Happy And Safe Travels

Recommend this product? Yes

Best Time to Travel Here: Anytime

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