Würzburg

• 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///
MARKET SQUARE
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


THE SITE RESIDENCE COURT GARDEN
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
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.


FORTRESS MARIENBERG
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. 

EAT///
STERNBÄCK

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.

REFLECTIONS///
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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