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Germany: From the Mosel to Munich - A Detailed Trip Report

Germany: From the Mosel to Munich - A Detailed Trip Report

Mar 17th, 2008, 04:27 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,847
Lovely report artstuff!

Germany won't happen for at least a year and a half, but I'm preparing now.

Many thanks for the great details!
soogies is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 06:39 PM
  #22  
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Day Six (14 Oct, Sunday, Rail Pass) - EPPINGEN, OBEROEWISHEIM, ITTLINGEN

Today was the most anticipated day of our whole trip. Today was the day that started this whole German odyssey. Today was the day that I would finally get to walk in the footsteps of my ancestors - some of my fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth great-grandparents, who were born around 1609 in the little towns of Eppingen and Oberöwisheim.

We were up by 6:15 so we could grab some breakfast and check out of the hotel in time to catch the 8:20 to Bingen, where we transferred to a train to Heidelberg, then transferred again to Eppingen (located between Heilbronn and Karlsruhe).

We were both giddy with excitement, and it seemed that the train ride took forever, well, at least 3 hours long. On the Heidelberg to Eppingen run we passed the most interesting looking museum – the Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim, which has everything planes, trains and automobiles, complete with two Concordes in the parking lot! Okay, one is a French Concorde, the other is the Russian counterpart, a Tupolev.

At 11:22 we were finally rolling into the Eppingen train station. I had made arrangements through the town of Eppingen.de to have the daughter of one of the town’s employees pick us up at the station in her car and tour us through the region, particularly the two towns of interest and perhaps Maulbronn Abbey. As it turned out, the daughter was studying for University exams, so mom, Barbara, ended up being our tour guide, and what an excellent guide she was!

After stashing our luggage in Barbara’s car, we started our tour of Eppingen by walking through their lovely town park, past the Fachwerkpfad. Along a very well manicured path were various stations, where examples of different types of half-timbered construction are displayed along with descriptions (in German). Luckily Barbara spoke English very well, and did a wonderful job translating for us. This was a fascinating display which we really enjoyed visiting and prepared us for the many half-timbered houses to come.

The path through the park eventually led into the Alstadt, which was a series of twisted streets and half-timbered houses, most still in their original form, since Eppingen, which celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 1985, was spared during WWII. It was truly a fairy-tale town for me. At one moment I imagined one of the Grimm Brothers characters coming around the corner, and the next moment I imagined my seventh great grandmother walking down the street, returning from the market. I giggled inside like a little school girl.

The Alte Universitat, which dates back to 1495 and was used as a branch of the University of Heidelberg during the plague years, now houses the Stadt und Fachwerkmuseum, but unfortunately it was closed on Sunday. I was quite content just wandering the streets with the spirits of my ancestors flitting by.

When making arrangements for this visit, I had expressed an interest in touring through the towns cemeteries, hoping to stumble across one of my many ancestral surnames on a tombstone. So we jumped in Barbara’s car, and off to the protestant cemetery we went, only to discover, once again, incredibly well groomed, immaculate graves, no more than 20 years old. Barbara then explained to us the German burial system.

It seems that after 20 years they recycle the grave site. Within that period of time the contents of the grave have enough time to decompose, and then they recycle the plot. You can retrieve your loved one’s tombstone, to place in your garden or where ever, or the cemetery caretakers will just move it out of the way to make room for the new occupant. Barbara, whose father died when she was young, said it was a strange adjustment for her, 20 years later, to suddenly not have a place to go to memorialize her father.

And all those lovely landscaped grave plots, which we noticed an army of people in the cemetery tending to, here and in Moselkern… they’re a form of guilty competition among the town folks, a ritual done to honor the dead.

Back in the car, we headed out of town, to a little restaurant that Barbara wanted to take us to for lunch. She explained that the restaurant started many years ago by a farming family who were trying to make some extra money by not only growing and selling their wares, but cooking them also. Dinners were served family style. The concept started out small, but over the years has grown and grown. So much so, that on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, everyone else in the valley must have had the same idea. The food looked and smelled really delicious… but we’ll never know. There was no room at any of the tables, so we were forced to move on.

Our next stop was the tiny town of Oberöwisheim, where the majority of the Schropp branch of my family resided from 1609-1751, before my fifth great-grandparents immigrated to Philadelphia. The town is located several kilometers from Eppingen, through countryside that very much reminded us of Pennsylvania, where we reside. We went first to the protestant church, which was high on the hill, and allowed us a great view overlooking the town. We drove down to the center of town, and all of a sudden I felt like I had come home.

Many years ago I found a very old picture on the internet of Oberöwisheim, taken during the early 1900’s, complete with half-timbered houses and an open drainage trough running through the middle of town. I was pinching myself, because now I was finally standing in that picture.

By now we were all very hungry. We found a little restaurant on the corner in Oberöwisheim, where we stopped in for lunch/dinner. B.J. had rumpsteak with spaetzle, salad and a beer, I had Jaegerschnitzel with spaetzle, salad and a glass of wine, and Barbara had a turkey schnitzel with salad and water (she was driving). Total cost was Euro 50,00, which included a very large tip.

We had a wonderful time just sitting and talking with Barbara, who was more than happy to answer our hundreds of questions we posed to her about Germany, the people, and their customs. She asked the waiter/cook if we could see the local telephone directory, so I could look up my list of ancestral surnames, but alas, I couldn’t find any relatives still living in the area.

After dinner we drove to Maulbronn, but the Abbey was already closed for the day, so we just walked around the complex, which was much larger than I had anticipated. A few of the small businesses were still open, so I bought a little cast iron pig for my pig collection from one of the artisans shoppes.

Our final road-tour stop was at Ravensburg, a small castle which has since been converted to a private home and restaurant, set on top of a hill, overlooking the valley of my ancestors. We had a beautiful view as the sun began to set on another picture-perfect day in Germany. We truly have been blessed so far.

Barbara drove us to Ittlingen, and helped us check into Room #4 at Ober’s Landgasthof (Euro 75,00/night), which was conveniently located, for us, across from the train station. We paid Barbara the agreed upon Euro 70,00 for her services (25,00 for the use of car, 45,00 for tour guide services), and gave her some gifts that we had brought with us – two handmade pins, and a T-Shirt and baseball cap from our town University (we thought we were bringing gifts for her daughter).

Our time spent with Barbara turned out to be much more than we had imagined. She was very kind and patient with us, and I think thrilled to be able to utilize her very well spoken English. While we weren’t able to locate any of my relatives that day, I do think my husband and I both found a new friend in Germany.

By 19:00 we were in our room, which was very large, nicely furnished and had decent pillows, wearing our pajamas and toasting to our wonderful day, with a glass of Riesling wine we had bought in St. Goar. We didn’t care that it was so early in the evening; we were exhausted, both physically and emotionally and soon found our selves nodding off to sleep.

Auto & Technik Museum Sinsheim - http://www.technik-museum.de/uk/
Eppingen - www.eppingen.de
Maulbronn - http://www.maulbronn.de/relaunch/e_800/html/kloster.php
Ober’s Landgasthof - http://www.obers-landgasthof.de/

artstuff is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 06:52 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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How nice to pop in here and find your next installment waiting for me to read. Now I am going to have to get my map out and find all these wonderful places.
We are planning for April/May next year and are tossing up to train or car so this is really helping us see that it can be done easily enough on trains. Artstuff, when did your trip take place?
You have an great writing style, easy to read and plenty of info, well done.
Maudie is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 07:13 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Would you mind giving me a link to Rick Steve's train ride along the Rhine? I have looked through the Germany section but must have missed it. Many thanks.
Maudie is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 03:38 AM
  #25  
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Day Seven (15 Oct, Monday, Rail Pass) - BAD WIMPFEN, HEILBRONN, ROTHENBURG


Today was an intense travel day, with numerous trains and connections to make, so we hoped the rail strike would be kind to us. We made our way down for breakfast by 7:30, so we could catch the 8:15 into the city – actually back to Eppingen, where we transferred onto a train to Heilbronn. By 9:00 we were stashing our luggage at the Hauptbahnhof, then immediately caught another train to Bad Wimpfen. (Oh crap! We forgot to turn our key and fob in when we checked out of the hotel in Ittlingen, so we ended up mailing it back to them when we returned to the states.)

By 9:20 we were wandering through the sleepy little town of Bad Wimpfen, as it was slowly waking up and beginning to show signs of life. This is yet another picture-perfect postcard kind of German town, with windy streets, half-timbered houses, flowers flowing from window boxes, and a couple of medieval towers thrown in.

Our main purpose of travelling to Bad Wimpfen was to visit the Schweine-Museum (Euro 2,60 ea). As a collector of pigs, this museum turned out to be a shrine for me, with literally thousands and thousands of pigs on display. I was humbled and overwhelmed at the same time.

After spending an enjoyable 2 hours exploring the museum and Bad Wimpfen, we made our way back to the train station to catch the 11:37 back to Heilbronn. However, we learned from two gentlemen waiting on the platform that the train would be delayed about 5 minutes, because of the rail strike.

We ended up having a nice conversation with the one gentleman, Hans, who spoke some English. We learned that his extended family had moved to Milwaukee (US) many years ago, but he and several of his sisters had remained in Germany. In fact, he was on his way to one of his sister’s house in Heilbronn, for lunch. The 5 minute delay turned into more of a 15 minute delay, but the train eventually arrived and we were on our way.

We made it only two stops down the track, when the train decided it was joining the strike. After sitting dead on the tracks for several minutes, a German announcer came over the intercom, and suddenly everyone was disembarking the train. Having not a clue of what was happening, we immediately looked for Hans, who was already making his way back to where we were sitting. He motioned for us to follow him to another train on a different track which was leaving for Heilbronn in a few minutes. So we ran with Hans through the train station and caught the train just before it left. Thank God for Hans.

Within a few minutes we were back in Heilbronn. Hans gave us instructions for walking to the Marktplatz, we thanked him for taking such good care of us, and then we said our good-byes. We found an outdoor café on the Marktplatz, under the astronomical clock on the Rathaus, where we enjoyed a quick lunch of a salad with mushrooms and a warm sauce, and a glass of beer. We made it back to the Hauptbahnhof, where we grabbed our luggage, and caught the 13:47 to Wurzburg.

We changed trains in Wurzburg, for Steinach, but the train had “technical problems”, so we were delayed for over ½ hour, which means we missed our connection in Steinach for Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and ended up sitting on the Steinach train platform for 45-50 minutes, waiting for the next train to take us to our final destination for the day.

We finally pulled into Rothenburg around 17:50, and took a taxi (Euro 5,00) to the Gasthaus Edith, located above the Spaetzle-Schwob at Milchmarkt 6, where Edith was waiting to escort us to our room, #201, the Egyptian Room!

We have decided that Edith is the best kept secret in Rothenburg, and perhaps, she is the hardest working woman in Rothenburg. We booked the Romantik Days package for two nights, at a cost of Euro 89,00 per person. For Euro 178,00 total we received two nights accommodations in a very nicely furnished room, 2 nights of half-board each, plus coupons for the Night Watchman’s Tour, The Kriminalmuseum, the Reichstadtmuseum, and the Rathaus Tower. The price could not be beat. It worked out to be Euro 67,00/night for the room, Euro 11,00/person/night to eat, free tickets to the attractions.

Plus, we have never done a half-board before, so we decided to try it with Edith. Let me tell you folks, we were not disappointed… not at all. Edith took very good care of us during our stay. We would highly recommend Gasthaus Edith to anyone who is thinking of visiting Rothenburg.

Dinner was to be served at 18:30, so we had just enough time to freshen up before we went downstairs to the dining room where there were three other couples taking advantage of the Romantik Days package. First course was a delicious stuffed noodle soup (stuffed with mincemeat, spinach and herbs), followed by a salad of mixed greens with a very tasty dressing. The main course was a pork schnitzel smothered with mushrooms and sauce served over spaetzle. Dessert was raspberry ice cream with fresh fruit coated with a liquor sauce… most delicious. The presentation of dessert was like a work of art. We had 2 glasses each of beer and wine with dinner, which cost an extra Euro 8,60.

After dinner, it was time to start exploring this wonderful medieval town, so we did a zig and a zag down the windy streets from our hotel, and the next thing we know we’re standing on the Marktplatz, and it’s 20:00, just in time to witness the re-enactment of the Mayor drinking his large tankard of wine on the wall of the Ratsherrntrinkstube, and the Night Watchman is beginning his tour, and we have tickets!!! What luck.

We really enjoyed the Night Watchman’s Walk, and recommend it to all who visit Rothenburg. It was an excellent way to orientate ourselves to the history and culture of the area – it was an historical and light hearted presentation at the same time. We found particularly fascinating the history of how Rothenburg was spared from complete destruction during WWII.

After the tour we wandered around a bit until we ended up at our hotel, where we decided to call it the end of another great day… despite the inconveniences of the rail strike.

Bad Wimpfen - http://www.badwimpfen.de/showpage.php?lang=2
Heilbronn - http://www.heilbronn.de/
Schweine Museum - http://www.schweinemuseum.de/#translate
Rothenburg - http://www.rothenburg.de/index.php?get=121
Gasthaus Edith - http://www.spaetzle-schwob.de/index_eng.html
Night Watchman’s Tour - http://www.nightwatchman.de/index.php?&sprache=ENG

artstuff is offline  
Mar 18th, 2008, 03:52 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,705
Hi artstuff,

Like everyone here, I am thoroughly enjoying your wonderful report! Your descriptions are so detailed and vivid, it seems I am reliving some of my favorite times in Germany.

Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this! I'm loving it!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
Mar 18th, 2008, 06:47 AM
  #27  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,135
=D>

Love your report, artstuff. You certainly covered lots of ground. I can imagine how frustrated you were with the train strike, but (at least so far) you coped with it very well.

And I noticed you had very long traveling days!

Looking forward to the rest of your TR.
yk is offline  
Mar 19th, 2008, 09:27 AM
  #28  
 
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ttt
dgassa is offline  
Mar 19th, 2008, 12:36 PM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 877
I too am greatly enjoying your report. And I too love in NE PA. I'm guessing you're either from Bloomsburg or East-burg?
Zeus is offline  
Mar 19th, 2008, 01:09 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 79
bookmarking for planning... I am enjoying your very easy-to-read post, especially your train and dining experiences. Will be traveling with 2 teens so glad it seems to be so easy. Family hopes to visit Mosel Valley this summer.
(I was born in NE, PA (USA), parents live in Sunbury, have lots of family in Montrose... Germany reminds me a lot of NE Pennsylvania)
explorefamily is offline  
Mar 20th, 2008, 05:01 AM
  #31  
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Only enough time this morning for some quick comments -

owlwoman - How cool that your great grandfather was mayor of St. Goar! Which made me start thinking… here in the US the mayor of the town is authorized to marry people. I wonder if the custom is the same in Germany? Maybe your g-grandfather helped some couples tie-the-knot.

Caitroselin – We enjoyed our stay at Pension Westfalia, and found Peter, our host, to be most gracious and helpful. It’s located in a nice little neighborhood, and easily accessible to the Marienplatz by the U-Bahn.

Maudie – I found the Rick Steves’ Rhine River Castle Tour in his Germany, Austria & Switzerland travel guide (1998 edition). Maybe your local library has the book.

Zeus – Okay, you win the gold star. I live in the only town in Pennsylvania. Just curious – how did you guess correctly?

Explorefamily – We really enjoyed travelling by train through Germany, and didn’t find it to be a problem, even with the delays from the train strike. We just made the best of every inconvenience. We figured a day stuck on a train platform waiting in Germany was still better than a day spent at work at home in the States.

BTW, maybe the next time you’re planning on visiting NE PA we should plan a GTG (get together) with Zeus (that’s enough acronyms for one sentence).

Everyone else – Thank you for your positive comments. I will post the next installment as soon as I can.

Robyn >-
artstuff is offline  
Mar 20th, 2008, 01:47 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 79
June at Knoebels in Elysburg! Taking the kids and a friend who is visiting us from Hungary for 3 months! Can't wait!
explorefamily is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 10:04 AM
  #33  
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explorefamily - Sorry for the delay in responding to your post. Between work, tickets to the theatre, and preparing my taxes, I just haven't had the time to jump back on Fodor's.

Yes, June would be a great time to catch up with you at Knoebel's. Which weekend are you thinking of?

Robyn >-


NOW... back to the trip report.
artstuff is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 10:10 AM
  #34  
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Day Eight (16 Oct, Tuesday) - ROTHENBURG

After an okay night’s sleep (I’m using a pillow from the sofa, placed under my bed pillow) we make our way down to the dining room where Edith provided a delicious breakfast buffet of meats, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit, fresh baked breads (still warm from the oven), spreads, juices, and coffee/tea for us and the other three couples staying at her gasthaus.

All the couples migrated to the same tables we occupied last night, with two of the couples sharing a table across from us. Last evening, during dinner, one of the guys in the group made it his point to photograph each course that Edith served, with his wife gently tipping the plate upwards so he could get the best depiction of the carefully prepared cuisine. So we had to laugh this morning while we watched him coax his wife to pose her bowl of cereal for a photograph.

Since we started planning for this German journey, B.J. has dreamed about walking the fortification wall around the perimeter of the town, so that would be our goal for the morning. As we exit our hotel on Milchmarkt, we look to our left and see the Markusturm, then look to our right, past the Kapellenplatz, where we can view the Weißerturm. Our hotel is located along the course of the first town fortification, built during the 12th century. How cool!! We took the little alleyway in front of our hotel, which quickly led us right into the Marktplatz.

With hardly another soul in sight, we enjoyed soaking in the morning sun, while studying the many different forms of half-timbered architecture. We kept trying to recall all the different styles of timbering we had learned about on our tour through the little park in Eppingen, as we meandered through the wonderful medieval streets of Rothenburg. We ended up on the Plonlein, where we were able to take our obligatory tourist shot of the most photographed square in Rothenburg, sans tons of tourists.

We eventually stumbled upon an entrance to the fortification wall. It was still early enough in the morning that we only passed a handful of people as we walked from one end, and circled around the town, until we ran out of walkway around the Klingentor. We enjoyed the views both inside and outside the wall, and relished in the fantasies of medieval days. There are many plaques imbedded into the stone wall which represent Euro 1000,00/meter donated towards continued restoration of the wall and towers. It was fun to read who and where the donations came from. We spotted the Gerlachschmiede (Old Forge building) which is perhaps one of the most charming houses in Rothenburg. We spent an hour or two exploring the wall, and then went back to our hotel room to change our socks and shoes.

After a quick respite, we meandered over to the Kriminalmuseum (Romantik Pkg tickets), where we spent the next two hours looking at some very sadistic torture devices and learning all about medieval laws and customs. Perhaps the most important lesson we learned was that being a Baker was a very dangerous profession. You could get sentenced to the dunking tank for baking too light a loaf of bread, which I can understand, but,… you can also get it for baking too heavy a loaf of bread! If you didn’t get the loaf just the right size/weight, it meant torture for you. Yikes!! Overall, though, it was a great museum. We really enjoyed the different varieties of shame masks; many of them just human degradation with a sense of humor.

Our next stop was the Rathaus, a combination of Gothic and Renaissance style. We walked up the Rathausturm, which was an easy climb, to a little room where an older man sat at his ticket table (Romantik Pkg tickets). At this point you can opt to climb the little ladder straight up to the roof & balcony, which I quickly refused to do. B.J. was much braver than I, and climbed up for a great view of the town and surrounding area, however, he did say it was “scarier than all hell,” and he was “putting a lot of faith in German engineering.”

Hungry by now, we found a seat at the outdoor café Hotel Gasthof Zur Sonne, where we each ordered a bowl of French Onion Soup, a glass of wine for me, and a Pils for B.J. – Euro 12,90.

After lunch we toured through the Reichstadtmuseum (Romantik Pkg tickets), where we saw Mayor Nunsch’s famous wine tankard, dating from 1616, and Marie Antionette’s hunting rifle, among many other historical objects. We also visited St. Jakobs Church, particularly to view the Tilman Riemenschneider altar. Afterwards we spent the rest of the day just getting lost on the back streets of Rothenburg.

Returning to the hotel, we rested for an hour before we went down for dinner at 18:30. Tonight’s soup was a beef broth with slivers of pancake (crepe), which was quite tasty. Another delicious salad followed, and then the main course - SauerBraten with dumplings. Edith told us that she had been pickling the beef roast in a red wine sauce for the last week, and boy, did it ever taste wonderful – so rich and tender. Dessert was batter fried apple rings served with whipped cream and cherries. Yum! Our food photographer was busy snapping pictures of each course. While we might have snickered at him at the time, we are now wishing we had also taken some photos, to remember these wonderful meals that Edith prepared for us.

After dinner we decided to go to Hell (Holle), which is a wine bar that the Night Watchman pointed out on his walking tour. Well… everyone who was on last nights tour must have had the same idea, as there wasn’t even standing room left in Hell. This actually was okay, because it was far too smoky in the bar to have enjoyed a drink.

We spent the rest of the evening just wandering around Rothenburg, trying to absorb as much of the medieval history, before we retired to our very comfortable bed, with the challenging German pillows.

artstuff is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 04:51 PM
  #35  
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Day Nine (17 Oct, Wednesday, Laender Pass) - WURZBURG, BAMBERG

Edith served up another delicious buffet breakfast, complete with warm-from-the-oven soft pretzels. We were truly sorry to have to leave Edith today. We just wanted to stay in Rothenburg and have her keep feeding us. Our first half-board experience happened to turn out quite well, and we will probably try it again during future travels. We really liked the fact that we didn’t have to select a restaurant, and then choose something from the menu, and then wait to eat, while the cook prepared dinner. We just showed up at 18:30, and Edith started serving us food.

I need to give credit to my husband for choosing Gasthaus Edith for our accommodations in Rothenburg. I wanted to stay elsewhere, based on recommendations I had read on Fodor’s and TripAdvisor. However, B.J. stumbled across Edith’s website, and really insisted that we give it a try, despite the fact that I couldn’t find any recommendations about her Gasthaus. He kept assuring me to have faith - that Edith would take care of us. She certainly did not disappoint either one of us.

We had a taxi take us back to the train station (Euro 6,00), where we purchased a Bayern Laender Pass from the machine for the day’s travel (Euro 27,00), and boarded the 9:06 to Steinach, where we transferred to the 9:31 to Wurzburg. If you are using a Laender Pass, it is important that you write your name on the pass in order to validate it.

Arriving around 10:15, we stashed our luggage and proceeded to walk over to the Residenz (c.1719), where we purchased a 14-day Bavarian Castle Twin Pass for Euro 36,00, which was an excellent value, considering how often we would use it in the next eight days.

The Treppenhaus (staircase) with its magnificently painted dome, complete with plaster figures popping right out of the painting, was awe inspiring, and my favorite part of the palace. The whole complex was incredibly huge, and quite the contrast from all the medieval architecture we had been exploring during the last eight days. Walking through all the different colored rooms was like being immersed in a box of Crayola Crayons, popping from red, to blue, to yellow, to green, to purple… but wait, there’s the Mirror Room, which is just over the top gold gilt.

By now we were beginning to feel numb from all the opulence, so we decided to depart the Residenz, but not before a quick visit to the Hofkirche (Court Chapel) and a walk around the gardens. Although it was late in the season (travelling in October 2007), there were still some flowers blooming and several fountains still flowing with water.

It was time for lunch, so we hiked over to the Marktplatz, where we found the Shonborn Café at Am Markt 30. B.J. was delighted to be able to order a cheese and herb omelette with a Hefe Helle, I ordered a salad with mushrooms and a glass of Pinot Grigio – Euro 15,50.

Afterwards, we strolled through the town to the river, where we crossed the Alte Mainbrucke (c.1473) and then proceeded to hike up the hill to the Marienburg Fortress (c.13th cent). We used our Bavarian Castle Pass to gain entrance to the museum, where the clerk pointed out it is necessary to put your name on the pass.

Perhaps the most impressive display in the museum was a model depicting Wurzburg after the 1945 bombing raids, where over 80 percent of the town was destroyed in only 20 minutes. The destruction then, and the reconstruction now, was mind blowing. We spent quite some time strolling around the fortress grounds, taking in some of the spectacular views of the town below.

We eventually made our way down the hill, back across the Alte Mainbrucke, and across town to the Bahnhof, where we gathered our luggage, and sat on the train platform while we waited for the 17:09 to take us to Bamberg.

I sat next to a man named Joseph, who was on his way home from work as an electrician. He said something to me in German, and when I apologized to him for not knowing the language, he made it his goal to teach me various words in not only German, but also Czheckoslovakian! We communicated for the next half hour using hand signals, drawing pictures and pointing at objects. At times I felt like we were on an episode of Sesame Street! Through our primitive communications we were able to learn that Joseph Steiner is the same age as B.J. and has two kids, one who is a doctor in Frankfurt.

Before we knew it the train had arrived and we were off to Bamberg, arriving at 18:28. We hailed a taxi (Euro 12,00) to take us to the hotel, which was across two rivers in the Alstadt. The main artery to the old section of the city was blocked by a police barricade, so the taxi driver had to turn around and take a different, much longer route.

When we arrived at the Hotel Weierich, located at Lugbank 5 (Euro 79,00/night), there was no one around, and the keys were lying on the reception desk with a note, so we checked ourselves into Room #24. It was a very nice room, with a view out the window of the little square by the hotel. We requested this room because of a recommendation from someone on Fodor’s, but I apologize for not remembering who. We were not disappointed.

One of the main reasons for coming to Bamberg was to check out some of the many breweries that are in the city – there’s like 10 downtown and another 150 on the outskirts of town! My husband has become a bit of a beer snob lately, so he had been very excited about this part of our journey. Our hotel was located down the road and around the corner from the Schlenkerla at Dominikanerstrasse 6, so this would have to be our first stop. However, it was way too crowded and smoky for us to enjoy, so we went down the block to the Ambrausianum, which had a much nicer atmosphere.

I had been drinking wine up until now, but had vowed that I would give beer a try since we’d be spending the rest of our trip in Bavaria. I prefer a white or wheat beer when I’m at home, so I ordered up a half litre of Heffeweizen and B.J. tried the triple sampler, which included a glass of Weissen, Dunkle and Helles. He concluded that he really enjoyed the Helles, so he ordered up a 0.5 litre draught and then another one. We also ordered dinner – I had a salad with breaded fried turkey strips and fruit, B.J. ordered little sausages with spaetzle. Total bill for dinner and libations came to Euro 24,40.

Feeling quite sated and happy, we ended the evening by walking around the Alstadt, then crossed the bridge and stopped to admire the very gothic Altes Rathaus, with the splendid rococo paintings plastered on the side And just the wonder of it all - sitting right there in the middle of the river!

Wurzburg - http://www.wuerzburg.de/en/index.html
Bavarian Castle Pass - http://www.schloesser.bayern.de/engl...lace/index.htm
Hotel Weierich - http://www.hotel-weierich.de/home.php?lg=e
Ambrausianum Brauerei - http://www.ambraeusianum.de/index1.html

artstuff is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 08:15 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 448
Artstuff,

Enjoying your trip report. I can't seem to find any information on the Castle Pass. The link you proved doesn't seem to say anything about one, unless I'm missing something. Could you tell me about it, cost, how many castles and the like.

Thanks
dgassa is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2008, 08:19 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 448
Nevermind, I found it. Thanks
dgassa is offline  
Mar 26th, 2008, 01:06 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
Great report. Are there any of the hotels that you would not recommend?
missypie is offline  
Mar 27th, 2008, 05:32 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 72
I love your report and can not wait for the Munich thread! I am going to Europe with my son in June and we are going to spend some time in Prague and Munich! Thanks
phillycheese is offline  
Mar 27th, 2008, 02:48 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
Artstuff, please come back and continue so we can enjoy more of your great holiday.
Maudie is offline  

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