Eastern Sierra 2016

• Saturday, October 22, 2016

My parents needed a mini vacation and wanted to see some local fall colors, so I planned a last minute weekend trip to the Eastern Sierras. It is only half a days drive away from where we are in East LA County. We left on Thursday morning and came back Sunday evening.

DAY 1/// Bishop/South Lake Road/Rock Creek Road/Mammoth

We took windy CA-15 and the, at times boring first stretch, I-395. We left around 7:30 and got to Bishop right about lunch time. First, we stopped by the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center for local maps and confirmation of areas with fall colors sightings. The gentleman at the visitor center was super helpful and very patient, especially with everyone coming in to ask the same thing this time of year.

We then grabbed lunch at Holy Smoke Texas Style BBQ just across the street from the visitor center. The place had a nice laid back atmosphere and a good meaty menu. Schat's Bakkery (also across the street) is a good choice too. It is a famous bakery with very heavy lunch-hour foot traffic.
Mom and I shared a Texan taco. We chose brisket and it came with coleslaw on cornbread. We also ordered a side of mac n' cheese.
After lunch, we headed towards CA-168 a few blocks back south off I-395. CA-168 runs along Bishop Creek and leads to Lake Sabrina. Before reaching Lake Sabrina, there is a turn-off called South Lake Road that takes you to South Lake (On Instagram, I see this road geotagged as the south fork of Bishop Creek). We heard the leaves around Lake Sabrina were after peak so we only drove down South Lake Road.

Along South Lake Road (October 6, 2016).
After driving back to Bishop and gasing up, we got back on I-395 but turned on to Rock Creek Road in search of more fall colors.

Somewhere on Upper Creek Road (October 6, 2016)
Then we headed toward Mammoth. We stopped at the visitor center there to get a local map to find our way to our resort, since phone data was spotty in the mountains. We also asked about the shuttle service to the Devil's Postpile/Rainbow Falls trailhead. The rep at the center told us that we can drive directly to the trailhead as the shuttle season is over. I gathered after awhile that the whole Sierra region prepares for winter at the end of September: shuttles/gondolas stop, ranger stations and sites close, weather equipments are checked and repaired. Snow might come any time and smaller roads would not get immediately cleared.

We checked in to Juniper Springs Resort which we booked through Groupon. Accommodation in the Eastern Sierras isn't cheap. There are daily resort fees and sometimes separate parking fees. The consolation is that most hotel-type accommodations have kitchens and ours came stocked with all the utensils and cookware we may need.

That evening, we had our hearts set on ramen. But when we found Ramenya, a sign on the door said it was closed for the month! We ended up eating at Good Life Cafe. This restaurant is not very eye-catching, sitting in the corner of a sleepy strip mall. The menu had a good variety. The food wasn't fancy, was very homey but exceeded expectations. My mom and I shared the Shrimp Scampi pasta and it was the best non-red sauce pasta that I ever had. I usually do not like non-red sauce pastas but I really enjoyed this one. We also loved the local Golden Trout Pilsner.

DAY 2/// Devils Postpile/Rainbow Falls/Mono Lake South Tufa/June Lake Scenic Loop/Mammoth

We headed over to the trailhead around 7:30. I thought I did my research but the drive to the trailhead was longer than I expected. When we turned off the main road, the kiosk at the entrance was closed with a sign that said we can pay on our way out. Beyond that point, it was a drive down a one lane dirt road for what seemed like forever before we got to the parking lot at the trailhead. There was no one else there save three men working on weather equipment. I confirmed with one of these men that I could park there and asked another one what to do if I saw bears. He assured me it was unlikely I would.

The walk to the Devil's Postpile monument was a easy 0.4 miles from the parking lot, as all the hiking sites and the provided trail map attest to.  The walk to the falls is an additional 2.1 miles. It was really cool to see Devil's Postpile. I had to write a report on it in the 4th grade and rememberi having a hard time finding info on it pre-internet. To see it in real life was like meeting a friend I had only ever corresponded with.

Devil's Postpile Monument
The rest of the trail felt longish. There were lots of chipmunks and bluejays along the way. Thankfully there were no bears, just a fat coyote. We took lots of pictures as we do wherever we travel and got to Rainbow Falls around 10. Rainbow Falls has two platforms from which to view it or you can take the steps down to the bottom of the falls. We were there for no more than 10 minutes when other hikers started to appear. We slowly made our way back to our car, overtaken by many better hikers. We even saw a fully geared hunter looking for bucks but only seeing does.

A fat coyote along the trail. Definitely not a wolf.
A chipmunk with something in its cheeks.
Some sights along the trail (October 7, 2016).
Rainbow Falls From second view point.
My mom towards the end of our hike.
We got back to the hotel, and after a quick lunch of instant noodles we headed out again. We drove to the Mono Lake Visitor Center. This is a large forest service center with educational displays and a gift shop inside. You can pick up your National Parks pass here so my dad got his senior pass! After talking to the ranger, we headed towards South Tufa back down off I-395. The 2-lane road turns onto a gravel road before ending in the parking lot. It was a short walk to the edge of Mono Lake and the other-worldly calcium carbonate formations in that part of the lake.

Landscape around South Tufa.
Mono Lake South Tufa and the calcium carbonate formations due to underground springs.
After the visit to South Tufa, we drove the June Lake Scenic Loop which passes by 4 lakes: Grant Lake, Silver Lake, Gull Lake, and June Lake. We also drove the Mammoth scenic road back to Mammoth.

Somewhere on June Lake Loop (October 7, 2016).
For dinner, we were originally going to drive further to the Restaurant at Convict Lake but ended up staying in Mammoth. We ate at Campo, an Italian restaurant. Dad got the daily pork plate but he didn't love it. Mom and I shared a beet salad and the Prosciugula Pizza. The beet salad was too strong in goat cheese flavor but the pizza was amazing. The arugula on the pizza was heated and salted. The flavors were interesting and paired really well together.

The beet salad at Campo.
Prosciuga Pizza at Campo.
DAY 3/// Route 89//Lake Tahoe River Cruise//Overnight in Tahoe

The next morning was all about getting to South Lake Tahoe in time for our Lake Cruise but hopefully also seeing some sights along our drive. Instead of taking I-395 all the way to Tahoe, we turned onto CA-89 right before reaching Lake Topaz. This was my favorite part of the drive. It felt like we turned into a corner of the world that was unoccupied where there were hidden heights and meadows. Then soon after, the landscape drastically changed to a winding river-side road inside a canyon in perpetual shadow.

A vista towards the southern part Route 89, above Lake Topaz.

A meadow along Route 89 (October 8, 2016).
Once we reached the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe, we stopped by Getaway Cafe for some take-out lunch. We ordered a Beef Dip and a BLT.  Once we got our food, we got back on the road towards the MS Dixie II Lake Cruise. This tour had sold out fast. When I was hesitating about which time slot to book, the morning/afternoon tours sold out. Only the noon and dinner cruises were left. I decided on the noon tour but had to rush a little to get to there on time. The parking area was a little hard to find as the company tells you to board at the Zephyr Cove Marina. If you're looking on google maps, turn in at the Zephyr Cove Resort.

Though we booked online, we still had to check in half an hour before at the kiosk to exchange for real tickets. We parked at 11:20 and gulped down our lunch (which was very good, by the way) before getting in line. The boat ended up quite crowded with all sit-able places taken. It's no wonder it felt so crowded when it has a capacity of 599!

The cruise took us straight to Emerald Bay where we circle around Fannette Island and saw the cove with Vikingsholm. Other than that, the ride felt too long. Everyone was restless on the way back.

Fannette Island in Emerald Bay
Vikingsholm as seen from the cruise boat.
After our cruise, we checked into the Coachman Hotel. This is a glorified motel that opened earlier this year. It is similar to The Basecamp Hotel nearby. There are no elevators to the second floor, no telephones inside the rooms, and one person at the bar who doubles as the barista, the receptionist, and room service. Mom described this hotel as "for young people." The hotel itself is located two blocks from the busiest stretch of South Lake Tahoe right by the State Line. It is also two blocks away from the private Lakeside Beach. I think the room was overpriced for what we got, but then every hotel/motel in the area is expensive as the occupancy rates are high.
Kids soaking their feet in the frigid water of Lakeside Beach.
For dinner we went to Himmel Haus. It is a German themed restaurant with lots of beers, but unfortunately none local. It is right off a ski lift and would be great in the winter after time on the slopes. The decor inside is of a German drinking hall. We got a salad and the sausage platter to share.
The sausage platter Himmel Haus.
DAY 4/// Sacramento/E. LA County

We had breakfast at Ernie's Coffee Shop before heading home. I chose it because it opens very early. It seems to be very popular with locals and the waiter knew many by name. The food wasn't extraordinary, but it was hearty classic breakfast food. We had the choice of driving back via the same I-395, or CA99 or I-5. These routes are comparable in distance and time so I chose CA-99. I had to take CA-50 to Sacramento first so we stopped by the capitol building for some pictures. It was my first time being in the capitol city of my state. The mature tree lined streets made Sacramento feel real capitol-like!

Coffee at Ernie's Coffee Shop.
Capital Building in Sacramento.
We stopped at Bravo Farms for lunch and a bathroom break at Patch Fruit Stand before changing onto the I-5. Both places were bleh in my opinion. If I could have a do-over, I would stop at the Sun-Maid Market instead. We got back home around 5 or so. It was a nice 4-day getaway to see our beautiful state and to enjoy the season. 


• Friday, July 1, 2016

The Madrid symbol of a bear eating fruits from a strawberry tree.
This symbol originated from its coat of arms from the Middle Ages.
This statue is on the western side of Puerta del Sol.
Madrid is the capital of Spain and composes its own community. It is pretty much right smack in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula with the communities of La Mancha and Andalusia to the south and Catalonia to the northeast by the French border. It felt like any other European old city with its large park-like islands in the middle of wide tree-lined streets  and smaller shop-lined streets that lead from one plaza to another. There were many palaces, gardens, and churches to visit, and interesting neighborhoods or important main streets to walk down.

I bought the Paseo del Arte tickets which includes the tickets to all three of Madrid's main art museums (El Prado, The Thyssen, and Reina-Sofia). You usually specify which day you want to visit one of the museums when you buy your ticket through the museum website, and you can enter the other two museums within a year of purchase date. You can buy this type of ticket through whichever of the three museums, but you must go to the museum you bought the online tickets off of first to exchange for a physical voucher that will get you into the other two museums. 

Most of the museums in Spain do not allow photos inside. This I found to be surprisingly refreshing in this selfie-taking age. Here I could not visit the museums simply as a means of boasting my seeing certain masterpieces. Instead, I had to enjoy the pieces of art for their own sake.

All the museums were hard to navigate because they were usually in large impressive buildings of yester years; this meant if the rooms were on a 3 by 3 grid or 4 by 6 grid, they were all connected. This makes for circumnavigating each room and visiting every room without back-tracking difficult.

The Prado from Phillip V Street side.
El Prado, or The Prado is formally called the Museo Nacional del Prado. It houses a ton of master paintings. I went to see one of its most prized paintings "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Bosch which they moved to a special timed exhibit as part of the 5th Centenary of Bosch's passing. There ended up being 53 pieces in the exhibit, some by his followers and his workshop; but there were many ink drawings and large triptychs by him! His colors are amazingly luminesce and the rendering sharp, that they feel very modern. 

I was also there to see my favorite artist, Pieter Breughel the Elder who has two (out of only 45 authenticated) paintings there. The problem with the Prado is that there are way too many masterpieces there. There are Raphaels, Goyas, Velázquezs, El Grecos, Titians, Tiepolos, Rubens', and more! Can you imagine?! It was an ecstatic experience walking through the museum and even recounting the paintings I saw leaves me breathless. I can't believe how lucky I am! It is hard to choose favorites, but I loved Goya's "black paintings" which made me like him all the more. There is something very emotionally honest about that series of dark paintings.

Museo Reina Sofia and Lichtenstein's Brushstrokes. 
Museo Reina Sofia and its other entrance.
Museo Reina Sofia is the one that houses more modern and contemporary art. I was too tired to see the entire collection so I tried to go straight towards Picasso's Guernica. I don't think it is Picasso's best work, but it certainly was striking in its size and subject. Though seeing that painting was the goal, I couldn't exit the museum without inadvertently passing by Dalís, Miro, and Serra. The ability to renovate buildings and add interesting new structures to impressive old ones is a skill that excels here. Every building has its own character.

The Thyssen
The Thyssen, or El Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza is the museum I almost skipped. Since I already had the ticket, I decided to make it a few days later. As I walked through the collection, I kept saying to myself "JUST STOP IT ALREADY!" There was Hopper, Hall, Braques, Picassos, Degas, Balthus, Chagall, Delacroix, Magritte, and more. What was enlightening are early works by Picasso, Gaugin, Monet and their contemporaries that show the development of their content and style. The Thyssen did allow photos to be taken of the paintings inside, but oddly not the galleries themselves.

Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol- This is only one of many large plazas around Madrid. With Palacio Real demarcating the western edge of the city and the Prado on the eastern edge, this plaza marks the city center with many streets fanning out from it. 

Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor is a large square plaza a few blocks southwest of Puerta del Sol. There are many other popular plazas like Plaza de España or Plaza de Oriente as well as innumerable smaller ones on corners of multi-street intersections.
Santiago Bernabéu as viewed from Zen Restaurant 
Santiago Bernabéu is where the ever popular fútbol happens! I didn't really visit the stadium; instead I was inside the fancy Chinese restaurant called Zen Restaurant that is actually inside the stadium. There are tours that will take you inside, or even better, go see an actual game! The Chinese food at the restaurant was good but over-priced for not being the fanciest Chinese food one can get.
Temple of Debod
Temple of Debod is a legit Egyptian temple that was gifted to Spain. It is set up in the middle of a park that isn't right beside any other points of interest. 

There are only two other places in and around Madrid that I would try to visit that I haven't already. One is Palacio Real which is the official residence of the Spanish royal family and the Escorial which is also a royal family retreat/monastery. The Escorial is hard to get to but looks amazing in pictures. Large tour groups to Madrid often only stop at the Prado and the Escorial.

The interior of the  Casa Hernanz Alpargateria with woven grass soles lining the wall. 
The line outside Casa Hernanz Alpargateria by the time we left.

Espadrilles are traditional Spanish shoes worn in the summer, but bought now by tourist rather than locals. We went to Casa Hernanz Alpargateria around 16:20 and it wasn't to open until 16:30. We sat in a nearby cafe for a drink and saw from far away that a few people were gathering. The shop seemed to open a few minutes early and once we walked to the front door, we were already the 6th or 7th in line. It took half an hour for our turn and an hour before we had our purchase. But the time we got out of the store, a very long line had formed. It isn't a wonder why people would buy espadrilles as they are well-made, comfortable, and cheap. But I noticed almost all shoes made in Spain highlights comfort. I guess in a culture where walking is a necessity, comfort is non-negotiable.

The view of Mercado San Miguel as you exit the southwest side of Plaza Mayor.
Fried seafood mix, assorted olives, and sangria at Mercado San Miguel.
Mercado San Miguel is a covered market that is a great for grabbing a bunch of different things to eat. You can buy tapas, seafood, olives, sweets, and everything you need for a satisfying meal. It may be hard to find seats during lunchtime, but having to stand at the corner of a table with others contribute to the atmosphere.

Acorn-fed Iberian ham.
Jamón Museums are everywhere and sell cuts of cured ham in paper cones. But the best of the best is supposed to be acorn-fed Iberian ham. Don't judge jamón by its hotel breakfast cousin.

Tapas for newbies.
Tapas seemed like an abstract concept until actually facing it on every street corner. I realized that tapas aren't any specific or set dishes, but is small-portion-eating very much like Chinese Dim Sum. They can be anything really and can be innovative in newer restaurant, but traditional tapas dishes are fried seafood, various potato creations, olives, or hors d'oeuvre-looking stuff-on-open-faced-bread.

Sangrias are a must. But I ended up questioning whether sangrias are popular with locals and therefore tourists drink it, or because tourists think it is popular with the locals, drink it and therefore it is popular. You can find it on every menu, individual-sized or as a pitcher to share.

Churros con Chocolate is something you can buy in many cafes and breakfast places. It is basically a cup of hot chocolate with a small stack of churros. Except these churros are not the straight, cinnamon-sugared things in the U.S. Churros in Spain are also fried star-tubed dough but looped and unflavored. You are supposed to take the churros and dip it in the hot chocolate before taking a bite. Dipping really makes a difference!

This is front door of the Atocha Station.
 This entrance is not accessible except by foot and far from the platforms.
An inside view of Atocha from the second floor.
There are two main stations in Madrid: Atocha and Charmatín. When traveling to Barcelona, we left from the Atocha main station; We departed from the smaller Charmatín station for Segovia. Google Maps App is usually good for all my transportation needs, and it was so for the metro and bus in Spain; but for all the trains and times (AVE, AVANT) available to smaller side cities, download the Renfe App. 

Metro and Bus are €1,50 for each ride but you can buy a Metro-Bus pass for 12,50/10 rides to share. It's really easy to buy on the machines at any metro station and at newsstands. I used google to tell me what lines to take and what stops to get off. I was more certain of where I was going than even some locals are. 

Taxis are very affordable in Spain and makes a lot of sense if there are 3 or 4 of you. It is a set price of 30 for the 30 minute ride to the airport. Within the city, it is usually within 10 to get anywhere you want to get to.



• Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A rooftop with views of the Roman Aqueduct in Segovia.
I just came back from a work-cation with my parents in Spain, where my dad taught a seminar in Madrid to more than 90 TCM practitioners. During the 4-day stay in Madrid, between selling my dad's books and meetings with some of our collaborators, mom and I managed to visit museums and took a day-trip to Segovia. We were planning to go to Avila too but had to cut it out of our schedule. After Madrid, we took a tour booked through Viator because it took us to Cordoba, Seville, Granada, and Toledo in 4 days; something we couldn't manage ourselves in that time frame. Once that tour ended back in Madrid, we headed to Barcelona on our own.

I don't remember any expectations I had of Spain before visiting, but I find Spain a warm and welcoming country. As a traveler, Spain is well-priced, safe, clean, easy to get around, and with lots of food choices. The metro and bus system is well-connected, and taxis are plenty and cheap. Driving may be a bit difficult in the city with lots of large roundabouts, but you will never have trouble finding underground parking near your destination. There are many tapas bars, burger joints, pizza, kebob, Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks. Fruits, cured ham, fresh bread, and gelato seem to be everywhere.  I saw police presence every day and at every crowded place, so I'd say Spain in pretty secure! And checking-in at the airport required an interview similar to that in Israel. Though not everyone speaks English, I never had trouble communicating what I needed and understanding others. 

Apparently people the world over know how suitable Spain is for travel, as there are no shortage of crowds. Therefore to avoid wasting time standing in lines (and the sun), book tickets for trains and famous museums/castles/cathedrals if you already know your schedule. The only thing that may require a little getting used to is the late lunch/dinner hours and the long lull in between when many shops are closed. Restaurants open from 1:30 to 4:30 PM for lunch and then earliest after 7:30 PM for dinner. 

A corner in the Alcazar at Seville.

  • Madrid
  • Catalonia: Barcelona, Montserrat
  • Andalusia: Seville, Grananda, Cordoba
  • Castilla-La Mancha: Toledo
  • Castile and Leon: Segovia

Israel & Jordan 2016

• Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My parents and I returned a week ago from spending 20 days in Israel and Jordan. It was a family friend's wedding that brought us there, but it was our love for Israel and desire to see Jordan that kept us away from home so long. While in Jerusalem, mom and I took dad to see a few places he missed the last time while he was working (e.g. Knesset, Mahane Yehuda, Garden Tomb). But we also went to many places that we haven't seen. That said, there are still many places in Israel we want to see (e.g. Safed/Tsfat, Negev, Jericho, Mt. Carmel). Maybe next time... DEFINITELY next time!

Since we were visiting Israel, hitting up Jordan seemed a sensible thing to do, no? We booked a driver and set an itinerary through an agency in Amman. I enjoyed Jordan overall; It is as much the Holy Land as Israel is, dripping with biblical history. But as the two Americans I met working for the U. S. State Department in Amman said: unlike Israel, Jordan is more akin to the rest of the Middle East than to western countries. This statement sums up my experience as well, though nothing I can give in conditionals.

While traveling in Jordan, I never felt I was in danger to crime or terror and I never felt particularly threatened as a woman. I enjoyed some local hospitality and I received some attention for my Asian face. But one thing I was uncomfortable with throughout my time in Jordan was an expectation that I had money to fork over. The relationship of the locals that rely on tourism to foreigners is one of economic exchange: no sentiment, no philadelphia. I was walking cash. 

Jordan's tourism industry and economy are suffering due to the instability in the surrounding countries. The suffering is no excuse for harassing tourists for money, but the surrounding instability is no excuse for travelers not to visit a safe haven in an unstable region. I believe more tourists visiting Jordan would provide economic security to the country, and in turn give Jordan the means to remain a stabilizing force in the Middle East. 

Here I've listed the places we visited and will try to post write-ups on these locations. Stay tuned!

Frishman Beach, Tel-Aviv

  • JERUSALEM// Jan 2-5, 2016 Knesset, Mahane Yehuda (The Souk), Yemin Moshe, Garden Tomb, Kotel Tunnels, The City of David
  • ACRE// Jan 15, 2016 The Hospitaller's Fortress, Templar Tunnel, Market Street, The Turkish Bathhouse
  • HAIFA// Jan 14, 2016 Ba'hai Shrine and Gardens, Louis Promenade
  • TEL-AVIV// Jan 16, 2016 The White City (Bauhaus Architecture)
  • HEBRON// Jan 6, 2016 The Tomb of the Patriarchs

The Treasury at Petra, Jordan

  • Day 1// Jan 7, 2016 Crossing the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge Border
  • Day 2// Jan 8, 2016 Ajloun, Jerash
  • Day 3// Jan 9, 2016 Amman Citadel, Roman Theater, Dead Sea
  • Day 4// Jan 10, 2016 Mt. Nebo, Madaba, Kerak
  • Day 5// Jan 11, 2016 Petra
  • Day 6// Jan 12, 2016 Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Red Sea
  • Day 7// Jan 13, 2016 Crossing the Allenby/King Hussein Bridge Border


• Tuesday, October 6, 2015

View of Wurzburg, from Marienberg Fortress.
Mom and I took a day trip to Würzburg from Rothenburg. We planned to catch the first train in the morning from the Rothenburg station. We were worried about not finding the station but it wasn't as difficult as we imagined. From Rothenburg Market Square we went due East on the main road leading off Market Square (map). There was no one in the station office and we were worried because we haven't purchased our day tickets yet, and there was only one rail and no signs. Apparently there was only one train in the morning going off to Steinach and that is the one to take. Transfer at Steinach to Würzburg and get off at Würzburg Hbf, not Würzburg Süd. 

Once we got out of the station at Würzburg we were greeted by a lot of hustle and bustle. Würzburg felt like a pretty lively town where many people must commute to to work or to change trains. I was also markedly greeted by the smell of fresh pretzels. If you have a Würzburg map already, then you're off and running. If you want to get a physical fold out map and some tips, you can head over to the tourism information office, marked by "i" on the maps. The "i" office is not right where you get off the train, but Würzburg is very walkable. The "i" office is at the Market Square and there are bulletin maps at the station to guide you there. 

SEE & DO///
The Farmer's Market. (White asparagus seem very popular in this part of Bavaria. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to enjoy any myself. They are definitely a rarity in Southern California. ) PHOTO CREDIT: Mu Yu Young

The Square is surrounded by restaurants and a church. Once you get there you can't miss the "information" office. I don't know the operation hours or days, but there was also a lively farmers market in the square that day. There were vendors selling flowers, fruits and veggies, and food.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Residence Palace
The Würzburg Residence

The Site Palace isn't very eye-catching from the outside; it is very gray and formal. The large stone-paved lot in front acted as parking lot, but with no clear right of way. We weren't quite sure of where to enter as there were no clear markings. After some hits and misses, we realized the entrance is dead center of the building. Duh!

The establishment felt very mercenary as the first room you enter is the ticketing counters and then lockers for large items. But after that, we walked into a hall leading to a grand red carpet covered staircase. Walking up can make anyone feel like royalty! Above the staircase was a Tiepolo ceiling fresco! I first saw this image in my art history book (Janson, for those who know!) so seeing it in person was humbling. I didn't know there is no photography allowed until I took a few photos already.
Tiepolo ceiling fresco.
The interior was very à la Versailles. This is not to my particular practical tastes, but I can still appreciate it. I appreciate the attention to details and the use of colors, especially the monochromatic themes of each room. 

White Hall

Court Garden
There is the garden behind the the Site Residence. The garden is free to enter and great for your morning jogs if you live in Würzburg. It is quite a formal garden but not stern, as I feel some formal gardens can be. What made the garden seem unceremonious are variations in scale and the fun-loving sculptures by Johann Peter Wagner. I honestly can't believe such wonderful, varied sculptures are subjected to the elements and potential destruction at the hands of nature or vandals. But I read in the guide book that "the originals were all replaced by copies at the beginning of the 20th century." I hope this means the originals are either stored away or they have the original casts from which to make more copies. 

Cast Sculptures by Johann Peter Wagner. So fun!

Alte Mainbrüke looking east into town.
Domstraße is a main street headed by a cathedral and lined by restaurants and vendors. As you walk towards the end of the street, you come to the Old Bridge that takes you across the river to the hill where the Fortress sits. The Old Bridge is reminiscent of the Charles Bridge in Prague, but about 100 times less spectacular. 

Looking west to Marienberg Fortress from Alte Mainbrüke.

A gate inside the Marienberg Fortress
The Fortress was the old residence of the prince-bishops of Würzburg until the Site Residence Palace was build. It can be accessed via public transport but we approached from the wrong direction, so we had to walk. I climbed 37 floors that day according to my iPhone! It was entirely tiring but still worth it. The view of the entire town is spectacular there. You also get a good view of the Käppele from the side of the Fortress.

By the time we got up to the palace, we were too tired to explore every nook and cranny. Therefore, I do not know how much interior is open to the public to check-out. But just walking around the grounds gave me all the Medieval feels! I could imagine a princess in a tower here and a horse drawn carriage there. 


There are many eateries along the Market Square and the road to Alte Mainbrüke. We chose one at random on Domstraße that looked like a German pub as we are always in the mood for sausages when in Germany.  Just don't order water. I ordered a hot water and was charged for it. Might as well have gotten a tea.

If I were to do lunch over again in Würzburg, I would go to the vendor in front of the supermarket Kupsch Markt Luksch. There they sell different hot meats. You choose what you want, with or without bread, and eat it on the go. It's the original fast food.

Würzburg is not a tourist town with a small town feel, but a city where people live and work. It feels more commercial and spread out for this reason. There are more places to explore if desired but it would take more than the 6-7 hours we were there. We did hit all the highlights and it was enough. My favorite part was the walk from the Hbf to the Site residence and the view from the Fortress. The walk to the palace through quieter streets gave me a sense of everyday life in the city. While the view from the fortress allowed me to take in the whole breadth of Würzburg. 

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