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Rothenburg, Wurzburg or Heidelburg

Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 08:24 AM
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Rothenburg, Wurzburg or Heidelburg


I will have half-a-day to do either Rothenburg, Wurzburg or Heidelburg. I was going to do Heidelberg initially, but I've been hearing so much about Rothenburg (Rick Steve's has two lines about Heidelburg, not very flattering either). Please keep in mind that I'll be there in the 3rd week of March when the guided tours may not be available.

Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 08:43 AM
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Chitra, that is a tough choice. I love all three. I almost didn't go to Heidelburg but I LOVED it, with the castle itself being enough for one half day.
Each of the three is different in that one is a real city that has marvelous historical things. That is Wurzburg, but it's probably too much there to do it justice in the short time you have. The fabulous bishop's residence alone would take a half day.
Heidelberg is a real city with its sole attraction the castle, which would be perfect for half a day spent at there. And Rothenburg is small, cute, quaint, kind of artificial and very touristy. But that being said, it is delightful. Maybe it depends on where you are coming from to get to each city.
I was in Rothenberg and Wurzberg in March, by the way, and it was fine. Cold and crisp, but fine. And not many other tourists to clutter things up.
Forget what R. Steves says, too. His tastes aren't always what yours will be.
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 08:58 AM
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It's true that the answer is "it depends." Which you should visit depends on what types of things you're interested in.

I've been to all three, and if I had to drop one off the list, it would be Wurzburg. It's OK, but not great.

Rothenburg is cute and quaint, though a little touristy. It's worth the trip.

I liked Heidelberg. There's a lot ot do, and it's a beautiful city.
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 09:34 AM
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Thanks kk and Jim. That helps me a great deal. Heidelberg was my initial choice, because of train connections. I'll be leaving Fussen by train around 8:00 a.m. reach Heidelberg before noon and stay there the night and take the train the next morning directly to Frankfurt airport for my onward journey (I'm stopping in Germany en-route to India). I may leave Wurzburg and Rothenburg for another time then.

Thanks for your help. Any suggestions for a place to stay in Heidelberg ?

Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 09:55 AM
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Heidelberg is fantastic. The castle is great and even without a guided tour, you can pick up a guidebook and go through it yourself. Check out for places to stay in several price ranges. Please feel free to email me for any specific questions. I've been going 2 or 3 times per year for a few years now. I'm going to be there the last week in March - or I'd offer to show you around myself!
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 10:51 AM
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Chitra, I will look on the web for the hotel I used in Heidelburg about two years ago. It was in easy walking distance from the hike UP the tall hill to the castle and also a block from the best part, the oldest part of the town. Stay tuned.....
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 11:27 AM
Posts: n/a|24620,00.html

That is the long URL for the Hotel Anlage in HeidelbErg (we've all been spelling it incorrectly). It is pleasant, not fancy, and not overly expensive. It is written up by Frommer's this way, on that web page...
Hotel Anlage
Friedrich-Ebert-Anlage 32
Heidelberg 69117
Phone: 06221/2-64-25
fax: 06221/16-44-26
Price Category: Inexpensive

Hotel Anlage is one of Heidelberg's best affordable hotels. It's located in the heart of the city, on the street leading up to the castle. It occupies one wing of a lavishly built, late-19th-century palace of orange brick and carved stone. The small guest rooms are cozy and have cable TV (with English programs). The pleasant restaurant is reserved for guests.
149DM-189DM double. Rates include continental breakfast. 20 units . TV TEL. Credit Cards: AE, DC, MC, V. Parking 9DM . Bus: 11, 12, or 33.

To note: our double room was NOT small, in fact rather large, and it had a fantastic bathroom!
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 06:19 PM
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I've been accused of being "pedantic" here before - - so I will wear the label proudly, and take a shot at one of my favorite pet peeves here.

RothenbUrg and WurzbUrg are bUrgs - - HeidelbErg is a bErg - - and nothing grates on a the ears of a German speaker as our insensitive mispronunciation of both of these important syllables.

Both get promounced by many Americans as very similar to the syllable in "word", "bird" and "herd". There is no such syllable in German.

A bUrg - - roughly a "town" - - gives rise to such words as "Burgermeister" (town master) - - i.e., mayor - - or Bourgeoisie (towns people) - - or in today's parlance the (upper?) middle class. The vowel sound in bUrg starts off like "boo" to which "erg" is added (yes, using that "ur" sound, as in word, bird or herd). Think of like bOOrg.

By contrast, bErg - - the word for mountain - - contains a sound also not readily found in (American) English. start with "beh" - - (the same sound as in bed or bet) and then add the "rg". Think of it like bEHrg.

Germans are friendly and they will not scoff at you nor fail to understand when you say "Hide-ull-buhrg". but wouldn't you correct someone who mispronounced New York "Sighty" or Shick-Kay-go?
Old Jan 22nd, 2001, 09:10 PM
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Sorry, Rex, but your pronunciation tips aren't terribly useful. There is indeed a phonemic difference between the "u" and the "e" before "r" in unstressed German syllables. But there is also no real "r" sound in German like our English (at least our American English) one, nor anything like an "r" or "er" sound following the vowel in either "Burg" or "Berg". Have a look in your German dictionary, and you should find a vowel there instead of the "r", a vowel I won't attempt to describe but which sounds a bit like the "u" in "but".

English speakers will also butcher the first syllable in "Würzburg", using the same "er" sound there. They'll mispronounce the "z" as "z" instead of "ts", and the "g" as "g" instead of the way it really comes out ("k".) If you only tell us to worry about the "e" and the "u" and then require us to insert an "r" that doesn't belong, we're not going to make it much easier for the Germans to understand us.

We will butcher every utterance one way or another, basically, unless we have a lot of experience with the language. So it's probably just best to suggest that a smile and an apology accompany our attempts at the native tongue rather than getting into all of this phonology.
Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 04:00 AM
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I will acknowledge your point that trying to "teach" how things sound phonetically - - on a message board - - is a dauntless, maybe hopeless task.

But my posting was directed more at awareness that HeidelbErg is NOT a bUrg, as chitra indicated in the title message of this thread. I'm hoping to raise awareness of the importance of spelling correctly as much as pronouncing correctly.

In (American) English, hamBURGer and iceBERG contain the same(-sounding) syllable, so it is not surprising that Americans are sloppy with this distinction. Charleston (SC or WV, perhaps others) sounds very similar to CharlestoWn (MA or IN, perhaps others) - - and we don't make a very big deal over those who get this wrong in either case.

But if someone, especially a foreigner, were to say "BostoWn" - - referring to "BeantoWn" - - I submit that you ought to politely help that person correct the mispronunciation.

Pedantically yours,

Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 06:10 AM
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Hi Chintra!!!

I was in Heidelberg just two weeks ago. It's a nice city, but in my opinion, doesn't merit more than a day-trip, if at most, an over-night stay, and then move-on. I did it as a day-trip from Strasbourg.

Old Jan 23rd, 2001, 08:53 AM
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Ross: We are also considering Heidelberg for a day trip from Strasbourg. Did you drive? If so, how long did it take you? Thanks.
Old Jan 24th, 2001, 05:00 PM
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First of all, keep being pedantic, Rex. You have a real knowledge of Europe and I appreciate the detailed information. As for the question, all 3 cities are worth seeing, but now knowing that you're going from Fussen to Frankfurt, Heidelberg makes the most sense. My personal preference is Rothenburg 1st & Wurzburg 2nd, but you can do those on your next trip.
Old Jan 24th, 2001, 08:27 PM
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I like some others on thie forum think that Wurzburg is underrated. I thnk that is is a lovely city and has quite a bit of history. Where ever you go, have a great trip.
Old Jan 24th, 2001, 08:58 PM
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No quibbles with your call for spelling awareness there, Rex -- the -burg/-berg confusion causes lots of web search problems for trip planners, and we need to know that a given place name, with its inevitably anglicized pronunciation, might be spelled a different way from our first attempt.

But using pronunciation as a basis for spelling is futile for those with little German language development. It's like a Midwesterner trying to teach someone like me, from California, to spell "cot" and "caught" differently because "they're pronounced differently." Well, here, they're not. You can't rely on what you hear or say to spell the word -- you just have to learn it.

Offering my own apologies for boring everyone else with this travel-irrelevant topic,

Old Mar 1st, 2001, 10:23 AM
David Lytle
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Updated information about the Hotel Anlage can be found on <a href="">here</a>.

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