|(Cruising Four European Rivers continued)
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Friday, September 28, 2007
The alarm rang about 6:45 AM while we still were sailing up the Danube. There wasn’t much to see outside other than the water and the shore passing by. This soon changed when we reached Regensburgh about 7:30 AM. From our window, we could see one of the newer districts of Regensburg across the river. (insert photo 071682) We dressed and went to breakfast where I had the usual; cereal, toast with jam and a couple of strips of bacon. Jacquie, per custom, ate something a bit more substantial with an egg or two included. We were anchored beside a narrow park on the port side and looking out from our breakfast table, we could see people hurrying by dressed as if it was quite chilly outside.
We assembled at the foot of the gangplank at 9:00 AM for the walking tour of Regensburg, pronounced locally as "Rainsburg." There wasn’t much free time scheduled here since there will be an excursion to the monastery at Weltenburg this afternoon. We met our local guide whose name was Michael. If I heard correctly, he either was a faculty member or a graduate student at the local university. In any event, he was well informed and his English was excellent. He made good use of the personal sound systems that each of us carried which I, with my limited hearing, especially appreciated.
These sound gadgets are absolutely the greatest thing since sliced bread as far as tours are concerned. We each wear a small radio receiver that picks up sound from a small transmitter that our guide wears around his neck. We all can hear him as he tells us about the various sights we visit even if we have lagged behind the group as often happens when we stop to take a picture. In this way, we can get maximum benefit from the tour. Unfortunately, not all guides like to use them and it apparently is voluntary. This reluctance reminded me of how professors at the university during my teaching days would be reluctant to use a microphone. Too often, they believed that they “projected” their voice sufficiently well that all students could hear. The opposite was often the case. Based on personal experience, it also is a lot less tiring to use sound projection equipment than to speak loudly enough to reach the students in the back seats of a big auditorium!
Michael told us that Regensburgh was founded as Castra Regina by Emperor Marcus Aurelius in AD 179. The Romans built a large fort that was located on the south bank of the Danube. The fort had massive limestone block walls that reached as much as 35 ft in height. Castra Regina was an important outpost on the northern border of the Roman Empire and a legion of 6,000 soldiers was stationed there. The Romans left in about 400 AD and Germanic tribes almost immediately occupied the city. It became a bishopric in 739 through the efforts of the Irish missionary St. Boniface. Five hundred years later, in 1245, Regensburg became a free imperial city and developed into an important medieval center and hub of European commerce. The end result is that it has been inhabited about 1800 years and is one of Germany’s oldest continuously occupied cities.
The Danube River becomes impassable to ships at Regensburg where the river narrows and there are rapids. Since ships could not pass this area, Regensburg became the choke point for travel along and across the Danube. As a result, Regensburg became a center for collecting taxes. Located here is the Steinerne Bruche (Stone Bridge). (photo) It was built in 1146 A.D. on 16 large stone arches and has been in continuous service for more than 800 years. It is the oldest surviving bridge in Germany and it is still in use. It connects the old city with newer parts across the Danube. As the only crossing point over the Danube for miles, it effectively cemented Regensburg's control of the region and enabled it to develop into an important medieval center and hub of European commerce.
At the city end of the bridge, there is a large gate in the city wall that it olden times could be closed and barricaded as protection against invaders or unwanted persons. Adjacent to the gate is the Salt House, a large structure that in was used to store salt which was a major trade item brought through the city.(photo) The Salt House is now used as a museum and is full of artifacts from bygone days. One can still see the huge wooden beams that support the upper floors of the building. We had a chance to browse through the structure on our way back from the morning’s tour.
Beside the salt house is the Alte Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen). It is believed to be the oldest restaurant in Germany having been in business since about time the bridge was constructed. It still is renowned for the small sausages and sauerkraut that are served there daily beginning shortly after breakfast time. Some of our group stopped for sausages and sauerkraut on their way back from the tour. I contented myself with taking a picture of a young woman busily at work at a large stove. She was cooking sausages for the morning’s guests that soon were to arrive. (photo)
We next followed our guide on up the hill and into Old Regensburg. Michael commented that the old part of Regensburg dates from about 1200 A.D. It escaped bombing during WW II and is thus in its original condition. It now has been designated as a World Heritage Site so nothing can be changed by new construction. He told us that during the Renaissance, the city was too poor to tear down old buildings and replace them with something more modern. The result was that all of the old buildings were preserved in their original state; a fortunate situation since Regensburg now is a priceless example of pre-Renaissance construction and architecture. (photo)
We turned left onto a narrow street just a short distance from the bridge and the Salt House. After walking about a half block, we came to the remains of the old Roman gate in the city wall, the Porta Praetoria. Only a few pieces of the massive gate now remain and are incorporated into surrounding buildings. ( photo) Some of these buildings also include pieces of the old city wall as well. A plaque in the wall marks 179 AD as the probable date of construction during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The date of restoration was 1885. We walked through the gate and found ourselves on a narrow street along the side of St. Peter’s Cathedral. While this offered not the best view of the whole cathedral, it did place us where we could see the only remaining piece of the church constructed by the Romans in about 739 A.D. This is a tower made of large stone blocks that now is dwarfed by the bulk of the rest of the church which was constructed as part of a renovation in 1273. (photo)
We continued on our way, actually walking around the back of the cathedral and then, along its far side in order to reach the front. Along the way, we passed some planter boxes along the street filled with colorful flowers. (photo) The far side of the cathedral was festooned with statuary and ornamental stone work. The cathedral itself, was surrounded on three sides by wide streets that gave plenty of room for sightseers. By now, it was raining a steady drizzle and Jacquie and I had broken out rain gear. We reached the front of the cathedral where we had a few minutes to take some pictures. Our guide pointed out the lack of symmetry between the two 150 ft Gothic spires. Although they looked somewhat alike, they were built over a period of 50-60 years and one could easily distinguish differences in the design of windows and other aspects of the façade. (photo) There also were differences along the side we just had passed since a period of 300-400 years elapsed during its construction. Overall, the cathedral took 600 years to finish! Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, there was not time to go into the church to see its inside. Its treasury is said to contain exquisite reliquaries, crosses, chalices and vestments.
We continued on our way and entered a covered walkway between old buildings fronting the cathedral. We briefly looked in on the courtyard of an old mansion. Not much to see there except for a block of stone with three round holes cut into it. Its purpose was to hold the torches that visitors carried at night! (photo) A little farther on, we passed a large metal covered door that dated back to medieval times. I have forgotten its original purpose. The walkway brought us to a neighborhood of the old mansions of the city’s patrician citizens. There are at least 40 of these old mansions, most characterized by thick walls sloping inward and a tall tower attached at one corner. (photo) Many were a block square with a central courtyard and were built about 1600. However, some include a few parts that are older. The tall towers on these buildings look like they had a military purpose and gave the mansions an appearance of being fortified. But, they actually served no purpose other than “for show” and perhaps, to provide a bit of storage space. We took several photos of the houses in this district. We also passed by a statue of “justice” in this area. (photo) Unlike in the USA, she does not carry a scale and is not blindfolded; rather, she holds a sword aloft and clutches something in her left hand.
Michael pointed out to us that the walls of many houses in Regensburg seem to slope inward toward the top. This is because they are made of very heavy stone blocks covered with stucco. They have to be thick at the bottom in order to bear the weight of the tall walls. Adjacent houses often are tied together with stone arches and the walls sometimes are buttressed for added strength. (photo) We saw many examples of this phenomenon during our tour. We passed by Johannes Keppler’s home, a beige structure with buttressed walls. (photo) And, not far from there, we passed by the “most beautiful” patrician house on Regensburg. Naturally, I had to take a photo of that. (photo)
We eventually tired of the rain and walked back to the ship about 11:00 AM. We hung up our things to dry and got ready for lunch which was scheduled for 12:00 PM. Some of our traveling companions elected to stop at the Old Sausage Kitchen to have a lunch of famous Regensburg sausage, sauerkraut and beer. I wasn’t quite up to that kind of lunch so we elected to eat on board the SOM. The program for the afternoon was to visit the Benedictine Monastery of Weltenburg followed by a short river cruise through the Danube Gorge. We were to end up in Kelheim where there would be stop at a brewery for a “snack” of sausages, pretzels and “ white beer.” The plan was to board the SOM in Kelheim about 6:00 PM. The SOM would reposition to Kelheim during our absence. Apparently, there is a canal around the impassable part of the Danube that also leads to the Rhine-Main Canal which begins at Kelheim.
We boarded a bus at 1:30 PM. We headed of town in a westerly direction via “gallows hill” where executions once were held. We also passed the University of Regensburg which occupied a rather modern looking campus. Once out of town, we passed through farming country dotted with small villages. The terrain was one of gently rolling hills with patches forest here and there. Leaves on the trees were beginning to turn color and contrasted nicely with the green pastures and yellow fields of grain. Our guide told us that farms in this area are mainly devoted to corn, rape seed (for canola oil), sweet beans, hay and dairy products. Near a little village, we passed a small farm and house that belongs to Pope Benedict and his brother. The guide did not know whether the Pope actually spends any time here. Maybe he’s planning on retiring some day!!
Just outside Regensburg, we passed a large image of a crocodile beside the road. It was made entirely of pumpkins, squash and ears of corn. It was very cleverly done but unfortunately, our guide did not comment about it and there were no signs, even in German, that might tell who made it or why it was there. We have been surprised that an American-type Halloween custom seems to have taken hold in Germany. We have seen signs of preparation – mostly commercial in nature - here and there during our travels even though the event is still a bit more than a month distant. This display outside Regensburg probably was associated with Halloween
The drive to Kelheim took only 20-30 minutes. We passed the point at the eastern edge of town where the Danube and the Rhine-Main Canal join. The spot where we would meet the SOM later in the day was nearby. Our guide told us that Kelheim was settled by the Celts in about 20 B.C. They later left for reasons unknown. The Romans soon moved in and the town has been continuously inhabited ever since. The bus passed through the outskirts of Kelheim but we did not stop to see any of the town itself. We continued via a rather narrow road through wooded terrain for about 10 Km and then pulled into a parking lot that already held a bus or two and several autos. The narrow road continued on and we could see the Catholic church and the village of Weltenburg just ahead. The church had an onion-shaped dome typical of Catholic churches in Bavaria. (photo) It was raining quite hard when we disembarked the bus and we were thankful for our rain jackets and the umbrella that we brought from the ship.
We followed the paved road and sidewalk along the edge of the monastery grounds. We eventually came to the entry about 1/3-1/2 mile from where we parked. All the time, the rain was falling and we became more and more damp from the bottom of our rain jackets on down. Fortunately, we had on waterproof shoes so our feet stayed reasonably dry. The monastery itself was sited on the shore of the Danube River which was relatively narrow here and very swift. It went around a bend at this point just before entering a gorge and the current had thrown up a gravel beach along the near shore. Nearby was a monument erected in the memory of several US soldiers who drowned while trying to cross the river during a NATO exercise several years ago. Quite frankly, the river looked very dangerous along this stretch.
We entered the monastery grounds and found on our right the brewery where the monks brewed a beer that is world famous. The Weltenburg Abbey Brewery is the oldest abbey brewery in the world and has been making beer since 1050. On our right were buildings that mostly house a dining facility where one could buy lunch as well as sample beer from the monastery’s brewery. Our guides explained where various facilities were located, e.g., beer hall, monastery store, restrooms, brewery tour, etc. Then, they led us to the monastery church, a structure famous for its beauty. We were greeted by Father Leopold, one of the residents of the monastery. He presented a brief lecture about the monastery and the brotherhood.
There are 17 monks residing at the monastery. They are members of the Dominican order. They oversee brewing the beer, teach in area schools and tend to the needs of the church in addition to the time they spend in reflection and prayer. Father Leopold explained the significance of the many beautiful features of the church’s construction. It is one of the oldest in Bavaria. The monastery was founded by Irish or Scottish monks in about 620. In later years, the Romans built a small frontier castle on the site which, centuries later, was rebuilt as an abbey. The abbey church is dedicated to Saint George. Father Leopold proceeded to explain the various parts of the church and how they related to one another. Unfortunately, I could not hear much of what he said and therefore I did not record it. But, the beauty of the church interior was obvious. The ceiling frescos of the Heavenly Jerusalem are particularly noteworthy. (photo) Father Leopold concluded the program with a very brief religious service. We then had about 30 minutes to wander about and engage in whatever met our interests. Some went to sample the beer, others visited the monastery book store and many took a trip to the toilets! Jacquie and I first engaged in the latter, browsed the book store and just looked around. Somehow, neither of us were particularly interested in drinking the beer. Perhaps this was because of the chill and the rain.
We eventually walked about two blocks along the shore of the Danube to the dock where a small river cruise ship was just offloading passengers. It would then take us back through the Danube Gorge to Kelheim. We all boarded the ship and found places to sit inside on the upper deck where we were out of the rain. We soon cast off and headed downstream into the gorge. The river was very narrow and swift and the Jurassic limestone cliffs towered as much as 400 ft. high along the shore. In most places, the cliffs and hillsides were covered with deciduous trees just beginning to assume their fall color. Brass rings anchored in sheer rock walls here and there remain from early days when bargemen had to use ropes to pull ships upstream against the current. The area has been protected for over 30 years as one of Germany's largest national parks. The length of the gorge was short though and we reached Kelheim after about only 30 minutes. From where we disembarked, we could see the Liberation Hall built by King Leopold I in 1863 to commemorate the wars of liberation from Napoleon (1813-15). (photo) The Liberation Hall was finished on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig.
We boarded buses at the small park where we disembarked and again drove through part of Kelheim to a parking lot beside the Schneider Weiss Brewery. We disembarked the buses and walked a couple of blocks in rain and blustery wind to a tasting room at the brewery. We were each served a tall glass of Schneider Weiss beer, white sausages (veal), sweet mustard and a soft pretzel. All were delicious and we had a good time gathered around tables in the tasting room talking about the day’s activities and other things. The beer is made from greater than 50% wheat with the yeast being allowed to float to the top which creates a white foam. This is where the beer derives its name, i.e., from the white (weiss) of the foamy yeast and the wheat. The beer itself is a bit dark, milky in appearance and slightly aromatic. The beer is world famous and great quantities are consumed by beer drinkers everywhere. The brewery is large and modern and construction is now ongoing to increase its capacity.
We boarded the buses by about 5:45 PM and headed back to the SOM which now was moored at a nearby park along the river. As soon as we all were on board, the SOM cast off its lines and headed into the Rhine-Main Canal. The ship went no more than 1 kilometer until we reached the first of many locks that we would encounter through the evening and night. We subsequently passed lock after lock as we climbed over the divide that separates the drainage basins of the Danube and the Main rivers. By bedtime, we could tell that we had crossed the summit of the divide since the locks suddenly changed and we were entering on the high water side and remaining in the lock while the water drained out which dropped us in elevation.
About 7:00 PM this evening, we passed a castle on a hill above a small town that was bathed in a deep blue light. I believe that it is called the “Violet castle!”
I was feeling very bad by bedtime tonight. I seemed to be coming down with Jacquie’s cold and I was suffering from all of the walking today in the cold, rainy weather. I could hardly ambulate and had a very sore throat by the time I went to bed at 10:30 PM. Fortunately, the forecast is for better weather tomorrow.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
It was gloomy and cloudy when the alarm sounded about 7:00 AM. I looked out our window and found that we were tied up along a wooded area that had a paved street running through it and little else. But, as I watched, a gangplank swung out and a few minutes later, five or six passengers disembarked and walked to a taxi that had just pulled up! I was surprised because it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere. The taxi immediately departed. I wondered what was going on and concluded that we had stopped somewhere to let some passengers make a special visit to relatives or someone close to them. I assumed that we would soon go on our way toward Nurnberg. But, the gangplank remained out and I eventually tired of waiting for change. I went back to getting ready for the day’s activities. It was not until later that I found out that we were actually were moored at Nurnberg in a park-like area and the people who disembarked apparently had an appointment somewhere independent of our tour.
I’m feeling slightly better this morning but, that may be due to my intake of pain killers; Norco, 10 mg, methadone, 10 mg and ibuprofen, 600 mg in a five-hour period. I’m hoping that I can do the Nurnberg tour this morning but probably will have to sit out the free time in the city this afternoon. I was up and down all night long, about 6-7 times, due to coughing and sore throat. I started guaiaphenesin last evening and that is helping to reduce my chest congestion.
Buses pulled up beside the ship and we boarded about 9:15 AM. It turned out that the SOM was anchored at a far edge of the city. Most of Nurnberg was located on the port side of the SOM and hence invisible from our cabin. We met our local guide standing beside the bus. He was a Welchman by the name of John Jenkins who has been living at Nurnberg for about 14 years. He teaches at the University of Nurnberg and is working on an advanced degree. He appeared to be in his early 40s and came equipped with a couple of binders full of pictures that he showed us at various stops during the tour to help illustrate his narratives. He was very well prepared.
From our various briefing materials, I had already learned that Nurnberg was founded in the 11th century by Emperor Heinrich III who intended it to be a base for his campaigns in Bohemia. From 1050 to 1571, Nurnberg rapidly developed into an important trading center due to its location at the meeting point of a number of medieval trade routes. At that time, the city was regarded as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nations. From the 12th to the 16th centuries nearly all the emperors maintained their residence in the Kaiserburg (castle) and held their imperial meetings in Nurnberg. Nuremberg accepted the Reformation, and in 1532, the religious Peace of Nuremberg, by which the Lutherans gained important concessions, was signed there. The city declined after the Thirty Years' War and recovered its importance only in the nineteenth century, when it developed as an industrial center.
Nurnberg held great significance during the Nazi Germany period. Hitler declared Nurnberg to be “the most German of all German cities.” Because of the city's relevance to the Holy Roman Empire and its position in the center of Germany, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the site of Nazi Party conventions referred to as the Nurnberg rallies. The rallies were held annually from 1927 to 1938. After Hitler's rise to power in 1933, the Nurnberg rallies became huge state propaganda events and were a center of anti-Semitism and Nazi rhetoric. A number of facilities were constructed solely for these assemblies although some were never finished. The city was severely damaged by Allied bombing from 1943-1945 and about 90% of the city was destroyed. German officials involved in the Holocaust and other war crimes were taken in front of an international tribunal in the Nurnberg Trials between 1945 and 1946.
We drove first to the rally grounds of the Nazi Party located on the outskirts of the city. The rally grounds were used for events designed to build up enthusiasm for the Nazi movement and to spread their propaganda and to promote the notion of the invincibility of the Party. On the way to the rally grounds, we passed by the SS barracks built in 1936. This was a large 3-story building that eventually became the area headquarters of the SS.
We stopped first at the site of the unfinished Congress Hall. It was a huge facility designed to hold 50-60 thousand people in tiers of seats rising around all sides of the main floor. The central point on the main floor was a podium where Hitler was to have spoken. The purpose of the hall was to provide a location for Hitler’s speeches and his announcements to German people and to showcase his policies. The core of the structure was made of brick and this was to be faced with white marble. But, only one side along the main road was ever finished. (photo) John Jenkins told us that while the Nazis built everything with publicity value in mind, their facilities all had a practical use. To this end, the areas beneath the stands were devoted to office space for the party and some of these eventually were put into use. The huge core of red brick remains today and shows the general structure of the facility. The finished structure was to have been 130 ft. high and the whole structure was to have been roofed over. But the last 1/3 was never finished and the roof was never installed. It sits today as a vacant, partially finished relic. The “main floor” is still a barren muddy field and one side of the structure is still open and without the brick core. (photo) The involvement in WW II ended all construction activity and the unfinished hall today serves as a reminder of the failures of the Nazi regime.
Our bus stopped briefly at the hall and then continued around the shores of a nearby lake until we were on the far side. From there, the Congress Hall loomed on the horizon and one could see why it had propaganda value to the Nazis. (photo) The Congress Hall was designed to impress the people and convey the idea that the Nazis had even more grandeur and power that did the Romans. To this end, it was to be larger and more grand that Rome’s Coliseum. Unfortunately, because of conditions in the early 1930s, too many Germans listened to and were caught up in Hitler’s rhetoric. Only when it was too late did they realize the folly of their ways.
On this side of the lake is a huge open-air stadium where the rallies were held until the Congress Hall was complete. It was named Zeppelin Field by the Nazis in recognition of Germany’s then recent triumph in building these huge lighter-than-air aircraft. In its heyday the main feature at Zeppelin Field was a reviewing stand and seats for dignitaries of the Nazi Party that was perhaps 150-200 yards long. It was topped by a colonnade that ran its entire length. In its center was a huge dais and podium where Hitler and his senior associates sat. On top the colonnade and immediately behind this dais was a large swastika emblem. At one end of the colonnade was a huge round bowl in which an eternal flame signified the strength and enduring nature of the Nazi movement. Immediately in front of the viewing stand was a broad track where parades and military/paramilitary groups could pass in review. Along the side of this track across from the viewing stand was a large open field where masses of the faithful and military units could assemble to listen to speeches by Hitler and other party leaders. This field was surrounded by a high berm that served to define the field’s boundaries and to limit access. Crowds entered and exited via stairways with gates spaced every 50 yards or so around the berm and in this way, crowd control was achieved. Only party faithful could enter thus assuring an obedient audience. Huge searchlights surrounded the field and could be turned on for night events to create a “dome of light” over the rally field. I personally remember seeing films of the huge rallies that were held here during the late 1930s. The stands were completely filled with uniformed officers and party leaders and the field opposite was jam-packed with the audience, many of them in military uniform. Hitler stood at the podium in the center of the stand and “harangued” the assembled multitude making whatever pronouncements were on his mind. (Perhaps it was the language difference but to me, he usually seemed to be highly agitated and spoke in loud and excited tone of voice.) At appropriate points, he would be interrupted by cheers and shouts of “Sieg Heil” from the 100,000 people in the audience. Even years later, it was to me, a scary thing to watch and hear and to realize that one man could hold that kind of power over an audience. Even earlier, when I was very young, perhaps only 5 or 6 years old, I remember hearing one of Hitler’s speeches on the radio. I sensed that my mother, who also was listening, was very concerned about the threat posed by this man. She had been a young girl at the time of WW I and experienced her only brother being killed in action. She was afraid that America was headed for a repeat of that conflict. Her concerns turned out to be well founded!
When we visited the site today, most of this was gone! Remnants of the reviewing stand remain but the colonnade and the swastika were long ago torn down. (photo) The field and berm are overgrown with grass. The bowl with the eternal flame is gone having been taken away and converted into a kiddy pool! No people seemed to be around and the place generally appeared to be deserted. Only a pair of swans was there to greet us! Our guide told us that modern Germans and the people of Nuremburg seem to have gone out of their way to turn many of Hitler’s propaganda strategies against his memory. Many streets that formerly were named for Nazi leaders have been renamed for important Jews of the 1940-1950 period; Zeppelin Field when used at all, is often the site of multicultural events, the bowl of eternal flame was made into a kiddy pool, etc. These actions and others, carefully planned, would have infuriated Hitler as denigrating the memory of the Nazi philosophy.
Our bus circled the now quiet site and departed for the drive back to the center of Nuremburg. We passed many interesting venues along the way but, there was no opportunity to look at them as the bus sped on by. I did manage to get a photo of the opera house and of all things, a building that was Hitler’s favorite hotel when he visited the city. (photo) Our first stop was at the Nuremburg Courthouse that was the site for the war crimes trials of the top Nazi leaders. The Courthouse is a large stone building that not only includes a number of courtrooms and offices but also is the site of a prison. Nuremburg was chosen as the site of the war crimes trials after much wrangling between the Americans and the Russians. The American concern was that the trials be fair and judicially without question. Against this position, there were the feelings of many who had suffered greatly. They primarily were looking for revenge. The Americans finally won out. The trials would be held in Nuremburg in the American Sector where they could control the process. We all trooped into Courtroom 600 where the main trials were held and listened while John Jenkins gave a masterful summary of the trial events and procedures. It made one feel almost like they were in attendance at the real thing. (photo)
We boarded the bus and headed into the old part of the city which originally was enclosed by a high wall. About 90% of the wall and the old city were destroyed during the 1943-45 bombing raids but, much of it has been restored. It now is difficult for the casual observer to tell what is original and what is reconstructed. There were many interesting sights that we would liked to photograph, e.g., old buildings, the city wall, half-timbered houses, churches, etc. But, that was nearly impossible to do from the bus and we took only one of two photos. (photo) Once we disembarked the bus, the buildings were so close together that it was impossible to organize a good shot. So we mostly just looked and admired. The bus dropped us off on Augustiner Platz about two blocks from the Hauptmarkt, Nuremburg's main square and market area. The first thing we encountered at the corner of the square where we entered was the Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain). This is a beautiful 62-feet high ornately carved fountain that once was an important water source for residents. (photo)
John Jenkins told us that the fountain was erected between 1389 and 1396 by a stonemason named Heinrich Beheim. On the fountain are forty stone figures or sculptures which are arranged in three rows or layers that encircle it one above the other. The sculptures were supposed to represent the world-view of the Holy Roman Empire. Those on the bottom row symbolize Philosophy and the Free Arts, in the middle row are the evangelists and Latin Church Fathers. Sculptures in the third row represent the seven electors and nine heroes. At the very top of all of that is Moses and the seven prophets. John Jenkins explained that the intent of the designer was to demonstrate to all Nuremburgers that they are accountable to each other, to the laws of the city and church and to God above all. He explained that in the 14th Century, most people could not read and that statues such as this were often used to inform /remind people about laws and other things they needed to know.
Across the square from the fountain stands the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) that was built in 1350 on the site of a synagogue that burned in 1349. The church itself is rather modest in size but it is famous for a clock known as the Mannleinlaufen that was built onto its facade in 1500. Just after we arrived, the clock struck the 12:00 PM hour and we had a chance to view why the clock is famous. With the striking of the hour, a door opened just below the clock dial exposing the golden statue of a seated king. Other doors opened reveraling two heralds with long golden trumpets, a drummer, a bell ringer, a woman with concertina and a man with a unrecognized musical instrument. (photo) While the clock continued to toll, figures of two lackeys appeared beside the King and proceeded to rotate slowly about him while glockenspiel-like music emanated from the clock. Once the hour had been tolled, all of the figures disappeared. No wonder that the Mannleinlaufen is world famous!
The square was teeming with people, both tourists and local residents. Much of the square was taken up by the Hauptmarkt which is a collection of booths as well as tented stands selling just about everything one can imagine including artesianal cheeses, sausages and meats, fresh flowers, handicrafts, porcelain, and much more. Our tour guides steered us to a booth selling” Orei im Weggla” ('three sausages in a roll"), one of the things for which Nuremburg is famous. The sausages are the subject of a great dispute with Regensburg since both cities lay claim to being the source of the best Rostbratwurstchen (small roasted sausages) in all of Germany. The sausages usually are eaten with sauerkraut and hot mustard which also were available at the stand. Nuremburg is also famous for its Lebkuchen (sweet gingerbread) and we each were given a ticket good for one piece at a local stand. So famous is the local lebkuchen that the ingredients are regulated by law in Nuremburg! I found it to be somewhat like the ginger cookies that my mother made when I was a boy. The Lebkuchen was good but my mother’s ginger cookies were absolutely delicious!
Our tour ended at this point and we all were free for the rest of the day. We had a choice of either staying in town or returning to the ship for lunch. A shuttle would run all afternoon for those who wanted to stay in town or who wished to return after having lunch on the ship. The SOM wasn’t scheduled to leave Nuremburg until 6:00 PM. The first bus was scheduled to return to the ship in about 30 minutes. Jacquie and I elected to return but needed to find a pharmacy before doing so. My cold was far from being better and I badly needed something to suppress the cough that began to plague me yesterday. Unfortunately, Jacquie already had previously taken our limited supply of D-methorphan and I was left with nothing to take. We asked Regina where we might find an apotheke shop (pharmacy). She queried one of the locals and then directed us to a small store with an apotheke sign located along the edge of the square. But first, we needed some Euros and she pointed out a nearby ATM. We were able to withdraw 20 euros using our AMEX card and then we went to the pharmacy.
There were young two women on duty, at least one of whom was a pharmacist. Both spoke English and I told them what I needed and also added that we were pharmacists in the USA. She immediately produced a box of 20 Silomat Pastilles that contained the needed drug in a sufficient dose. The cost was 6.15 euros (about $8.60), a reasonable price. After we completed the transaction, she told me that this was the smallest pharmacy in Nuremburg. Indeed, it was small and very compact, maybe about the size of our living room at home. Most all of the drug products were on rolling shelves which kept almost everything out of sight. The customer sees mostly wood paneling with a few display shelves containing some OTC products. It was a very professional looking place. I wished that we still had pharmacies like this at home instead of the large general merchandising operations line Walgreen’s, Rite Aid and Longs in our community! We thanked the pharmacist(s) profusely for their help and for showing us their facility and then, we walked back to the bus.
The bus left for the SOM about 12:45 PM. We crossed an area on the way back to the ship that probably was the old city moat. Even though the bus didn’t stop, I managed to get a good photo of a covered bridge and buildings alongside the water. (photo) We also passed a community garden. John explained that the community garden(s) was/were started many years ago by an emperor who felt that the people should all have access to fresh vegetables. He created some community gardens where people could rent small plots to grow their own produce. The tradition has been carried on and even in modern times, the plots receive full use.
Once we arrived at the SOM, we had lunch and then I went to take a nap because I was feeling the effects of my cold. But, I first took some of the medicine that I had procured. Fortunately, one pastille lasted 8-12 hours so I only needed to take two or three per day. I slept from 2:00 to 5:00 PM and when I woke up, I was feeling somewhat better. My cough was a bit improved and the congestion in my chest was moving. But, my throat was very sore and I could hardly talk. That continued for the rest of the day and through the evening. By bedtime, I was almost mute! Most of our fellow passengers stayed in Nuremberg seeing the sights but, I just wasn’t up to it.
The SOM departed promptly at 6:00 PM headed on down the Rhine-Maine-Danube Canal. The sky this afternoon had cleared off nicely and it now was bright and sunny. Just after we left, the SOM went under a very low bridge and people up top had to “hit the deck.” Just as the SOM went below the bridge, the Captain blew the horn which startled the surprised passengers no end! Not long after that, the canal actually crossed over a busy cross street and we were able to see the autos passing underneath us. Of course, we all have had that experience with auto and train overpasses but having it occur with a ship was very unusual for almost all of us who saw it happen. Nearby was a pyramid-shaped building located in an industrial park. Silhouetted against the setting sun, it made for a nice photo. (photo)
I headed for bed right after dinner this PM in hopes that a good night’s sleep would cause me to feel better tomorrow. The heater in our cabin has been malfunctioning ever since yesterday. We have reported it but to date, nothing has happened. The temperature hovers around 68-70 ˚ F, just barely comfortable. We twice have reported it and have been assured that someone would look at it. If they have checked, it was while we have been out of the room and whatever was done has not worked. It’s tolerable but just barely. Tomorrow, we’ll try again to get some action.
I started taking Amoxicillin, 500 mg., t.i.d. tonight before bedtime. I have been concerned that my symptoms are not improving as they should and I do not want things to progress to a serious state. I have been carrying the amoxicillin for prophylaxis against dental, surgical or accident emergencies because of my prophylactic heart valve. It wont do any good for the basic viral infection but, it also should work fine against a secondary infection that may be creeping in on top of my cold. My schedule will be 11:00 PM, 7:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Hopefully, it will begin to alleviate some of my worst symptoms.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
The Sound of Music docked at Bamberg about 3:30 AM when most of us were sound asleep. Although I slept through most of that, I was up and down a lot during the night, My chest congestion was moving well (good) but, I was coughing a lot (bad.) It’s too early to tell whether the antibiotic that I started last evening is having a positive effect. We dressed and put away the wash and then went to breakfast per usual about 7:30 AM. On the way to breakfast, Jacquie collard the hotel manager and told her about the problem with our in-room heater. The hotel manager was quite upset that she had not been getting the messages about our problem and she promised quick action. By the time we returned to the room, our cabin already was getting warmer!
We boarded the buses for the morning’s tour at 9:00 AM. During the ride to our first stop. I learned that Bamberg was only lightly bombed during WW II and it therefore is in nearly original condition. There was apparently nothing in the city that was of strategic value except for a few bridges that did suffer minor damage.
We drove first to the site of a large cathedral known as the Kaiserdom. (photo) It was built by King Heinrich II and his wife Cunigunde during the period 1004-1012. The original cathedral burned in 1081 but was rebuilt in 1111. Additional construction was performed on the building in the 13th century. The cathedral is unusual in that is bounded by four tall spires about 150 fifty high, one at each corner. It sits now at one side of a large square, Karolinenplatz. Immediately to one side of the cathedral is the Alte Hofhaltung (a.k.a. the “Old Residence”) which once was the imperial and Episcopal palace. (photo) It now serves as a historical museum. Behind it, through an interestingly carved gate and narrow street (photo) is a half-timbered building that once served as the King’s private residence. (If I understood our guide correctly.) This building formed two sides a private courtyard also bounded by a wing of the Alte Hofhaltung. This two-story building has a high peaked roof. Underneath this roof are three levels of servants’ quarters, each with a dormer window. Boxes of bright red flowers hang from a second floor balcony that fronts the buildings surrounding the courtyard. I do not know what is the present function of this building.
Opposite the Cathedral and the Old Residence on the Karolinenplatz is the Neue Hofhaltung (a.k.a. “New Residence.”) This large three story building was constructed 1698-1704 and served as home of the Prince-Bishops of Bamberg during the 18th and early 19th centuries. It now houses an art gallery, displays of antique furniture and tapestries and offices of the diocese. This building also surrounds a beautiful rose garden which we enrtered via a short corridor through one wing of the building. From there, we had magnificent views of the city and also of the Benedictine abbey of St. Michael, constructed by Henry II on the nearby Mt. St Michael during the 11th century. (photo)
We did not tour any of these old buildings. Either our schedule did not budget the time or the facilities were closed today. We originally had been scheduled to do a walk-through of the cathedral since it contains several important works of art including the tombs of Henry II and his wife. But, there was a service going on when we arrived and we could not wait until it was finished. So, we had to content ourselves with looking at the facades of these buildings and with viewing the rose garden. I must admit that although the buildings were interesting, this visit was hardly the highlight of the day’s tour!
We next walked along Karolinenstrasse down into the old district of Bamberg, a distance of only three or four blocks. All of the streets in the old downtown district are closed to autos and are open to pedestrians only. How nice to not have to breathe exhaust fumes and to hear to the noise of dozens of idling auto engines. We passed the Hof Apotheke. Built in 1437, it is claimed to be the oldest apothecary in Germany. (photo) It has been interesting to me to see the prominence given to the apothecary shops in all of the cities that we have visited. Being a pharmacy educator and having been associated with the pharmacy profession all of my career in the USA, I have noticed this with considerable interest. The Apoteke seems to be a place of considerable respect and community pride in these countries. Alas, in the USA, there is little in the image created by Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and the others that creates any significant respect The prevailing attitude seems to be that they just are another retailer analogous to supermarkets, dollar stores and the other mass merchandisers. And, it is a deserved image! Fortunately, many Americans seem to be able to separate the pharmacist from this image and most hold this person in generally high regard. Perhaps my view of the European attitude is incorrect but I hope that it is not!
The street we were following was lined with shops but most were closed except to a few bakeries, all of the pubs and some novelty shops. Many people were strolling about and/or sitting in the sun at the various sidewalk cafes. Being Sunday, I was not surprised that most shops were closed. However, that would not occur in the majority of communities at home. There, everything goes full blast on Sunday trying to rake in the shoppers’ dollars.
We could see the Old Rathaus at the far end of the street with its steeple-like tower and the arched opening where it is bisected by the street. (photo) The Rathaus actually sits on an island and is reached by a bridge that connects it to both shores of the Regnitz River. Many people were sitting around tables at an open-air café located just at our end of the bridge. We turned right on a side street about a block before we reached the Rathaus and walked the equivalent of a long block before we again turned left. Just as we made this last turn, I took a picture of remnants of a very interesting maypole that stood beside the street. (photo) We almost immediately found ourselves on a low concrete bridge over the Regnitz River. The river was flowing high and a bit muddy as a result of recent rain in the area. To our left and downstream was the Rathaus sitting on the island in the middle of the river. An arched bridge on either side connected it to the nearby bank and as already noted, the street passed through the building via an archway. (photo)
The Rathaus was built in mid-river as a result of a dispute between Bamberg residents and the Prince -Bishop. The residents wanted to build the Rathaus in the center of the town’s commercial district, a perfectly logical idea. The Prince -Bishop wanted it to be built elsewhere, probably on land that he owned for which he could charge the town. After reaching an impasse, the residents of Bamberg solved the problem by building an artificial island in the river and then constructed the Rathaus on that! To this day, it stands on the island in the middle of the river.!
Our guide pointed out an area upstream from the bridge where we were standing. It was where all of the city’s tanners had their shops and in olden times. The area was a major source of pollution since all the chemical waste merely was thrown into the river. Now, it is a residential area and has been cleaned up. Right beside where we were standing, there was a sluiceway and a large building, also built on an island in the river. This appeared to have something to do with regulating the level of the river and also may have included a small electrical power plant. After taking several pictures from this spot, we continued on across the bridge. (photo)
We learned that the river divides and flows around several islands during its course through Bamberg. There were at least two channels in the area where we were crossing, and we found ourselves walking over one of them toward a large island. There were several large homes or apartment buildings on this island and on its far side of that was a “canal” with very slow-flowing water that ran in the same direction as the main channels. A sidewalk ran along both banks of the canal. We crossed over the canal to the opposite shore where another residential area began. The canal itself was overhung with trees and it has an atmosphere of quietude. (photo) This area reminded residents of Venice in Italy and as a result, it has become known as the Klein Venedig (Little Venice) District. We followed the sidewalk along the canal enjoying the quiet relaxing atmosphere. We soon came upon a small dock that is the landing for a gondola water taxi. The taxi service was dreamed up by a young man who had traveled to Venice and who decided that something similar to their gondolas might “sell” in Bamberg. The service has become quite popular and each day he takes people up and down the canal for a fee. Apparently, he is doing quite well. We saw him later in the day in his gondola slowly moving upstream with a load of passengers. (photo)
Our route continued on along the canal to its lower end where it junctions with the Regnitz River. Here, we intersected the bridge across the Regnitz that crosses over to the Rathaus. To our right and off the end of the bridge was a commercial district. We crossed through this area on our way to a riverside quay along the Regnitz. On our way, we passed a baby things shop that advertised its wares with a sign of a stork carrying a baby in a diaper . (photo) This area was accessible to auto traffic so we had to be careful crossing the street. Our guide pointed out the nearby location where we should meet the bus at 12:30 PM for our ride back to the SOM. Across the street was the riverside quay and the Regnitz River.
Two antique metal and wood, hand-cranked cranes were anchored into the concrete along the quay. They were used in bygone days to off load river boats. (photo) At the end of the quay was the former slaughterhouse. This was a long low stone building with a huge statue of a reclining bull sculpted in the rock of its near end. (photo) It was built over the river and in its heyday, offal from the slaughter was dumped directly into the river which already was polluted with drainage from the tanners upstream. Now, such dumping is forbidden and the river is relatively clean. The river side just beyond the slaughterhouse was now a tony residential area. The quay beside the slaughterhouse and cranes now is the site where river excursion boats load and offload passengers for local cruises. The cruises were doing a brisk business today and at times, the area was crowded with people waiting to board.
We walked back across the bridge leading to the Rathaus. This gave us opportunity to admire the side of the building which was decorated with he paintings of important men and scenes from the early history of the city. Our guide commented that artists of the day would often inasert a bit of whimsy into their work and pointed out the replica of a human leg that sticks out of the wall near the bottom-center. There’s also a baby sticking out of the wall up high near the eave of the roof. Of course, this required a photograph or two! (photo) After admiring the art work, we continued on our way passing through this unique building via the arched walkway. After crossing the bridge on the opposite side and walking a short block, we turned right onto Dominikasser Strasse (?) and into an area of breweries and taverns. We first passed a yellow building that is a former Dominican Church. (photo) A sign on the front said that it was consecrated 8 May 1310.A choir and cloisters were added in 1337. In 1740, it became a convent with library and in 1803, it was used as a military barracks. From 1947 to 1993, it was used as a concert hall by the Bamberg Symphony and today, it is used by the University for ceremonies and awarding degrees. I marveled that this structure, in apparent good condition and 180 years older that our own country, was still in active nearly 700 years after its construction!
Our guide told us an interesting vignette at this point. The Bamberg Symphony, now a world famous orchestra, began only a few years ago. An American officer based in Bamberg following WW II noted the lack of a symphony orchestra at that time. He used his influence to obtain an invitation for the Prague Symphony to travel to this city to present a guest concert. The orchestra was received so warmly by the Bambergers and their reception of the concert was so enthusiastic that the Prague Symphony members all defected and would not return to Czechoslovakia. So, the Bamberg Symphony was conceived almost overnight.
Just a couple of doors down the street, we came to what some consider to be the oldest brewery in Germany. The facility seems to exist under at least three different names. One of my guide books says that it is the Heller Brewery or “Brauerei Heller-Tum” a.k.a Schlenkerla. A sign beside the door reads “Brauerie: ‘Keller’ Wirtshaus zum ‘Schlenkerla’.” With my limited knowledge of German, this reads something like “Brewery Celler [and] Inn, of Schlenkerla.” Finally, there is an ornate sign protruding above the doorway consisting of several symbols, one of them, a blue lion. (photo) Our guide said that “Blue Bear” is an alternative name for this tavern and is the one favored by residents of Bamberg. Considering that a blue lion is on the sign, not a blue bear, I suspect the correct nickname is "Blue Lion." This same sign also depicts a very bow-legged man in traditional Bavarian costume standing inside a wreath. This symbol is in memory of a long-term patron who many years ago, was run over by a beer wagon near the tavern and who evermore walked with an exaggerated bow-legged gait. The building itself is recognizable by its blue painted façade and it is a community favorite.
Our guide commented that these signs were a good example of how signage on buildings developed in olden times as a means of identifying the establishment for citizens who were illiterate. This by the way, included most people before the 19th – 20th centuries. In this case, people could not read the sign “Brauerie: ‘Keller’ Wirtshaus zum ‘Schlenkerla’.” But, they easily could recognize the blue lion and hence, the tavern to them was “The Blue Lion" even though they didn’t know what that would look like in writing.
I might add here that I have derived great personal fun from trying to read the various signs on buildings and other facilities during our travel in Germany. I was required to acquire a reading knowledge of German back in 1957 as one requirement for my M.S. degree. Early in my career, I did read some chemistry-related articles that were written in German. But, I have long ago let my modest German skills lapse. On this trip, I have enjoyed trying to use this long under-utilized skill, backed up with a German-English dictionary, to decipher signs and to better understand some of the things we have seen. I suspect that I have missed the exact meaning of some but I usually at least get the gist of what I am trying to read! I apologize to the “experts” who might read what I have written and find it to be not quite correct.
There actually are several beer taverns and brewery outlets in the small area around the Blue Lion. There are as many as 9 breweries plus some brewpubs in Bamberg. This is considered to be a remarkable number of such facilities for a city of about only 70,000 persons. Of course, several of the breweries export their product elsewhere as well. Bamberg is noted for its smoky beer, “rauch bier” in German. This beer, which some say has a smoky or bacon flavor, is the result of an accident that happened hundreds of years ago when a brewery overheated a batch of mash during the brewing process. Someone sampled it before it was thrown out and discovered that it had a unique and appetizing flavor. It was bottled and lo-and-behold, a lot of people liked it. Thus, a new product was born. Today, Bamberg is famous for its “Rauch Bier” and it is sold by most taverns in the town.
In addition to the breweries and taverns, the area we were in was once frequented by prostitutes. They were attracted by the sailors from the river barges who came up the hill to the district seeking rauch bier as well as the favors of the ladies. The area supposedly has long since been cleaned up and, at least it appears to be quite savory. I take that on face value. At least, we didn’t find hookers loitering on the streets making passes at the tourists! Our group walked about a block to Scheiner’s Gastube (Scheiner’s Guesthouse), one of the taverns in the district where we were expected. We sat outdoors at long tables under an awning and sampled a glass of the rauch beer. It turned out to be a dark brown color with a smoky aroma and taste. I didn’t particularly care for the flavor and far preferred the white beer that we were served in Kelheim a couple of days ago. But, who would go to Bamberg and not sample the rauch bier? That would be the height of inappropriate behavior!
Our tour ended at Scheiner’s Gastube with sampling the rauch bier and we had a half-hour on our own before we had to board the buses. The parking area opposite the slaughterhouse was only three or four blocks distant. There actually was not much to do since most shops were closed today. Several of us wandered around window shopping in the area around the taverns. Jacquie found a small shop that was open and we went inside just to see what was there. It was a very small place in what must at one time been a private home. The shop mostly carried items for the table, things to pretty-up the bathroom, towels and the like. We browsed through the displays not really intending to buy anything. I noticed a small stairway leading to a second floor room. There was a small sign that said “welcome” so I went up. The stairs were very narrow and wound around in a semicircle so as to take up minimal space. There was no hand rail so one had to be very careful not to make a misstep. What I found upstairs was essentially more of the same. We took a few minutes to look around and then returned downstairs. The proprietress of the store was very pleasant and welcomed us warmly. She let us browse to our heart’s content and did not follow us around the shop as if expecting us to pocket something. When we went upstairs, we were alone and apparently we were trusted not to take anything without paying. The result was a nice atmosphere that made you as a customer feel welcome and trusted. If I had needed something, I surely would have purchased it there just because of the attitude of the employee. I wished that some of the shops at home could operate in similar manner instead of having electronic surveillance systems and projecting an atmosphere of mistrust between the employees and customers.
We eventually worked our way back to the bus. The Old Bamberg district was actually quite compact so it was easy to find our way around. The buses left promptly at 12:30 PM and headed back to the SOM. As soon as we were back on board, the SOM cast off and continued our journey on up the Main River. Except for a demonstration on making apple strudel, nothing was scheduled for us this afternoon except tea and 4:00 PM, “happy hour” at 6:00 PM and Joannie’s port talk at 6:45 PM.
We had plenty of opportunity see the sights along the Main River as we sailed along. (photo) The river flows through a gently sloping valley and so it has a current of only about 1 m.p.h. Much of the time, the stream course was contained by low dikes rising directly from the water’s edge. The flat land of the valley is devoted mostly to agriculture once one leaves the narrow belt of trees along the river. Hills rise up on both sides of the river, their lower slopes devoted mostly to farming and the tops covered with caps of trees. Farm houses that usually are white with red roofs dot the countryside. Some are quite pretentious and I wondered whether they actually were devoted to farming or were merely somebody’s country mansion. We passed a few villages that included both old and new homes; all were very neat. The general terrain and outlook reminded me of areas we have traveled in upstate New York and Pennsylvania. There were many bridges across the river and we had to go through locks every few kilometers. Other than the general terrain, there were a number of interesting observations that we made and/or thoughts that came to mind as we cruised along. I have listed some of these as follows.
One of our chefs this afternoon demonstrated how to make apple strudel. He made it look very simple and gave each of us the recipe. The most important take-away for me was how to make the crust. You have to stretch the dough as you kneed it. I also found interesting that he made the initial dough by mixing the water oil and water on a metal cooking (cookie) sheet. In this procedure, he worked the water and oil, a bit at a time into a well in the flour that he had poured onto the metal sheet. Only after he had finally mixed al of the flour, oil and water, did he roll the dough with a rolling pin. He continually stretched the dough as he rolled it by lifting the edges and gently pulling it away from the center. This was followed by more rolling and then stretching. He made it all look so easy. Once the dough was rolled out into a very thin sheet, he put the filling on and then carefully wrapped it all up ready for baking. I didn’t attend the tea at 4:00 PM which was when the strudel was served. Jacquie did attend and she enjoyed every crumb of it!
The rest of the afternoon and early evening was uneventful. Following dinner, a “Bavarian Oompah Band” was scheduled to give a performance in the Wachau Lounge. They were all decked out in traditional Bavarian clothing complete with red jackets, lederhosen and all. They approached their work with a great deal of enthusiasm. I didn’t attend preferring to get an early start on getting ready for bed in view of my cold. Jacquie attended and enjoyed it but she had to leave before the finish because she started to fall asleep.
We still were cruising the Main River at bedtime. We were not due into Wurzburg until about 3:30 AM.
Monday, October 1, 2007.
We were already docked at Würzburg when the alarm went off today at 5:45 AM. We are scheduled for an early arrival tour of the Prince-Bishop’s Palace, a.k.a. Le Residenz, and have to depart the SOM by 8:15 AM. This way, we will avoid the crowd that usually appears at the customary opening time. We hurried through our usual morning exercises and then dressed and had breakfast. My cold may be a bit better this morning which is good since we are scheduled for a long day. We will have lunch following our morning tour in Wurzburg and then we will board buses for Rothenburg for an afternoon walk through that city. It will be a long day!
We were on board the buses and moving down the yet quiet streets of Würzburg by shortly after 8:15 AM. The drive to Le Residenz was short and took only about 15 minutes. This vast complex on the eastern edge of the town was commissioned by two prince-bishops, the brothers Johann Philipp Franz and Friedrich Karl von Schönborn. Its construction between 1720 and 1744 was supervised by several architects, including Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt and Maximilian von Welsch. (photo) However, Le Residenz most often is associated with the name of Balthasar Neumann, the creator of its famous Baroque staircase. The palace is a huge U-shaped stone building that consists of a central wing that was two tall stories high. This was flanked on each side by a smaller two-story building. Topping the two floors of the larger building was a layer of ornate stone statues, “goo-gaw” and other ornamental stone work. Attached to the smaller buildings on both ends was a colonnade that bounded eight arches each. These colonnades which continued on out almost to the front street, were both topped by several small statues. The entry to the palace was devoid of gardens. The visitor encountered only a large cobblestone courtyard with a large fountain in the center. Behind that, there were three tall doors in the center of the palace that directed visitors to the building’s entry.
When we arrived at the central doors, we discovered that they merely closed three archways where carriages once entered the building. Inside, we found ourselves in yet another large paved courtyard that was covered by the floors above. Carriages pulled up to a broad stairway on the left where they disembarked their passengers. Passengers were formally received here and then were led up a broad stairway leading to the second floor. Rooms on the ground floor of the building appeared to be devoted primarily to service and support functions. At this point, we were informed that we could not take pictures inside so we stowed our photography gear in our jacket pockets.
Our guide explained that the design of the palace was on the ”baroque” theme, a word we had already heard many times. But this time, the meaning of the term was explained. To be classified as being “baroque,” the design of a facility has to be organized along at least two or more lines of symmetry, e.g., front to back and side to side. In this case, important rooms on the second floor were arranged in symmetrical fashion, front to back and side to side. This theme was carried on throughout the building. The division along lines of symmetry was visible outside as well.
We ascended the broad stairway from the first floor. It perhaps was twenty-five to thirty feet wide at its beginning. About half way up, there was a landing where the stairway divided into two branches that continued on up to the second floor. We stopped here while the guide briefed us about the stairway which is considered to be one of the “gems” of Europe.
The ceiling above this “grand stairway” is concave in shape, somewhat like a huge bathtub turned upside down. Magnificent frescoes by Giambattista Tiepolo cover the entire surface of this area above the grand staircase. Tiepolo also did several other frescoes in this magnificent building. The fresco here, titled Europa, depicted the triumph of Europe contrasted with the “backward” cultures of the Americas, Africa, Asia as understood in the mid-eighteenth century. It exalted the Prince Bishop and the cultures of Europe and indeed, was beautiful to behold, both for its beauty and for its size. The architect of the grand stairway was Balthasar Neumann who designed a number of famous structures in Würzburg. We were told that many of the prominent architects of Europe at that time believed that the grand staircase construction was unstable and that it soon would collapse. They believed that there simply was not enough support for the wide expanse of ceiling above the staircase. This caused initial consternation faded with time and, here we were viewing it about 240 years later.
We ascended to the top of the grand stairway and walked a few yards to the “Guard Room” where the Prince-Bishop received guests whether on social or business visits. The room was done in a rococo style created with sculpted stucco figures and designs in white on a light grey background. It was very intricate and was created in only 18 months. The designer is said to have “gone crazy” after finishing the project!
From the guard room, we walked a short distance back toward the rear of the building to the family and guest wing. We first entered a general reception area. A magnificent fresco adorns its ceiling and the walls are supposedly beautifully decorated. But, the room was undergoing renovation when we visited and was encased in scaffolding. Family and guest apartments lined halls extending in both directions. We turned to our right and entered quarters intended for the Emperor when he visited Wurzburg. These several rooms were known as the Kaisersaal and their presence is said to demonstrate the close relationship between Wurzburg and the Holy Roman Empire that existed during the early eighteenth century when the Residenz was constructed . We first entered a room where guests waited until they were received by the Emperor. It was elaborately appointed. Unfortunately, I didn’t make notes of its décor. Next was a room where the Emperor received visitors. I should note at this point that the rooms in the Kaisersaal were designed for the exclusive use of the Emperor. But, according to our guide, he never came for a visit and eventually, the rooms were used for other purposes! The Prince-Bishop apparently had his quarters elsewhere in the Palace!
The next room moving on through the Kaisersaal was the one intended as the Emperor’s bedroom. Like the others, it was lavishly decorated and was bright and airy as a result of windows that looked out into a garden behind the building. I don’t recall that there actually was a bed in the room so, I don’t know exactly where the Emperor was to have slept. Our guide called our attention to a piece of furniture like a small dresser that was standing along one wall of the room. She told us that this was the Emperor’s commode andd demonstrate its operation. The top lifted up and tilted backward on hinges to expose the interior. Doors in the front opened to provided walk-in access to a padded seat. A lid in the center of the seat lifted off to enable access through a hole to a chamber pot out of sight below. The Emperor merely had to sit down, relieve himself and then leave. A servant would take the chamber pot away and close the commode. A servant also would bring a small bowl of perfumed water in which the Emperor could wash his hands to them. The guide explained that during the 18th century, the nobility frowned upon bathing and getting wet was considered to be a threat to one’s health. People would merely dip their hands into a bit of water and quickly dry them. Baths, in the sense we know them today, were almost unheard of!
There was another room or two on our tour of the Kaisersaal that I do not well remember. I do recall that the walls and ceiling of one of them were completely covered with mirrors. Designs were painted onto the mirrors creating a very colorful effect. This room was a restoration of the original which was completely destroyed during the bombing raids of WW II.
We exited this wing of the building via another hallway that eventually led us back to the Guardroom. Along the way, there was opportunity to visit a small store where one could buy souvenirs and memorabilia relating to the castle. We left the second floor of the castle via the grand stairway and exited the building via the same doors through which we had entered. A few steps to our left was the doorway to the Hofkirche, the castle’s own private chapel. Upon entry, we found ourselves inside a beautiful baroque church of modest size that seemed to be flooded with light and color. Light streamed through strategically placed windows and seemed to make the tall columns of colored stone and the altars and paintings almost glow. (photo) The altars, also painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, added to the beauty of the chapel. We took several minutes to admire the chapel and to take some photos. Before we left, we stopped to especially admire the colorful columns. They looked like they were shaped from some type of breccia that had the appearance of being highly polished marble. We learned that just a few years ago, someone finally became suspicious about their origin and took minute cores from some of the columns. It turned out that they actually are made of stucco! Through a mostly unknown process employed back in the 1700s, they had been made to look like highly polished marble that had fooled observers for nearly 300 years!
We exited the chapel and again turned to our left through a small gate in a fence between the palace and the building to its right. We found ourselves standing between the palace and a formal baroque garden on our right. (photo) The smell of alcohol was strong on the air. First, let’s talk about the garden. A paragraph about the alcohol will follow.
Per baroque style, the formal garden originally had been arranged around three lines of symmetry. But, someone had planted trees at a later date that destroyed one of the lines of symmetry and thus, the garden technically did not meet all of the requirements for being of baroque design. As far as I was concerned, who cared? The garden was quiet and peaceful. Sidewalks bisected a nicely kept lawn that was bordered here and there with beds of shrubs and flowers. I hardly noticed the trees that kept this garden from joining the baroque category!
The aroma of fermenting alcohol was coming from small windows that opened into a basement under the chapel area of the palace. It turns out that for many years, wine has been made from local grapes in the basement below the palace. Proceeds from the sales of this wine are used to maintain Le Residenz in this modern day when public subsidies are minimal! In the past, maybe the wine was made for the pleasure of the Prince-Bishop.
We exited the garden via the gate and walked back across the courtyard in front of the palace. Our destination was the old downtown area via the Hofstrasse that begins at the castle and runs all the way to the old bridge across the Main River. We enjoyed seeing several old buildings along the way before we came to the area of St. Kilian’s Cathedral. (photo) Kilian along with two other monks Christianized the Wurzburg area during the 400s. He soon was martyred but eventually was elevated to sainthood. The cathedral, when constructed, was named in Kilian’s honor. The cathedral grew over the centuries with several additions only to be almost totally destroyed in WW II. It was restored and today consists of several important structures. We unfortunately were not able to tour the cathedral complex and had to content ourselves with taking some photos as we walked through the area.
We followed the Hofstrasse on through the center of town and past the old Rathaus, which has served a number of functions during its history and is no longer in service as the city hall. (photo) There were many other interesting old buildings in this area as well. We also spotted a small mural of St. Kilian and his fellow monks painted high up under the eaves of one of the nearby buildings. (photo) As we walked through this area, it was difficult to believe that it was almost totally destroyed when firebombed on April 16, 1945. The old town area was painstakingly reconstructed following the war and in the eyes of a visitor, no evidence of its destruction remains. I have read that much credit belongs to the Trummerfrauen (rubble women) who carefully sifted through the remains to recover valuable items needed for the reconstruction of their beloved old city.
A couple of blocks farther and we were back at the Main River where it is spanned by the Alte Mainmuhle or Old Main Bridge. (photo) This old stone structure dates back to the Roman times but what now remains is not the original bridge. That was destroyed by fire. The present bridge was constructed during the period 1473-1543. Large statues of various saints line the railings of the bridge. These were added in the 1730s. The bridge is still in use for foot traffic and it was crowded today with tourists. Many were busily taking photos of the magnificent views both up and downstream from the bridge. Immediately below the bridge on the downstream side was a small powerhouse and also an old tavern that was doing a brisk business today.
Just beyond us on the hillside overlooking Wurzburg was the Marienberg Citadel, a structure with massive stone walls topped by a fortified castle. (photo) This formidable structure constructed during the Renaissance Period is now used as a museum of regional art and folklore. On an adjacent hillside amid colorful fall foliage was the Kappele, a small chapel with onion-shaped towers that was designed by Balthasar Neumann who also did much of Le Residenz. (photo)
By now, it was time to start walking back to the SOM which was docked about 1/2 mile upstream from the Alte Mainmuhle. We retraced our steps for a block of so back into town and then turned right onto a side street that took us in the general direction we wanted to go. Regina had told us earlier in a general way about how to get back to the ship. We knew that when we came to a large divided-lane street we should turn right back toward the River. Once at the river, we should be just about at the SOM. There wasn’t much to see along the way except for some business buildings and occasionally, narrow streets off to our right that led back into some residential areas. We eventually came to the wide street and turned right. After a couple of blocks, we came to the Ludwigsbruke across the Main River. Large stone lions on both shores guarded the entrance to the bridge. Instead of crossing however, we followed a sidewalk to our left that led along the Main River and after a hundred yards or so, there was the SOM right below us. A driveway gave us access to a parking lot beside the ship and soon, we were back on board. There was just enough time to clean up for lunch scheduled for 11:45 AM.
During lunch time, another cruise ship came up alongside the SOM and then turned 180˚ and headed back upstream. What this maneuver was about, I do not know. But, what did interest us was a pair of ducks, one a male in brilliant black and white plumage that decided to investigate the turning process. I could not identify the species at the time although the pair looked very familiar. I later realized that the mystery ducks were common eiders. We had seen hundreds of them in our cruise through the North Atlantic ocean last spring. But, they were so out of context here that I didn’t recognize them! (photo) There also was a beautiful pair of mute swans swimming by the ship when all of this was happening.
We assembled at a waiting bus about 1:15 PM for the 75 mile drive to Rothenburg. Waiting for us at the bus was our guide for the afternoon, a jolly English woman who now lives in the Wurzburg area with her German husband. Unfortunately, I did not catch her name so for purposes of this narrative, she must remain merely as “our guide!” The ride was long but interesting since there was much to see and our guide filled us with facts, figures and stories as we drove along. Following are some of these taken from my notes.
We eventually reached Rothenburg which is located just a short distance off the main highway. We drove through parts of the new city until we reached the high stone wall that entirely surrounds the old town. Rothenburg is another of the German cities that suffered very little damage to its historic areas during WW II. As a result, it is considered to be an excellent representation of a medieval village with its high walls, old houses and shops, old public buildings and churches. Even though Rothenburg attracts many tourists, the old district also still functions as a town where local residents shop and conduct much of their daily business.
We disembarked the bus and walked to a small gate in the wall along the northern perimeter of the old town. The wall, which was at least 20 ft high and 8-10 ft thick, was topped by a covered walkway which also entirely encircles the old town of Rothenburg. It’s possible for a person to walk the entire perimeter of the town on top the wall if they so choose. From this point, we could see a massive tower that rises above the northeast corner of the town. (photo) Its name was not identified on our maps. Once inside the wall, we found that we were in a large open area named Schrannenplaz. We followed our guide along one of the main north-south streets toward Market Square, the center of town life in Rothenburg. Along the way, we passed several interesting old buildings and lanes that led off the street we were following. There were many half-timbered houses along here; not the faux kind with thin boards nailed on the building and painted to look like timbers but the “real” kind, big and massive old timbers cracked and fissured with age. Continuing on, we passed the China Restaurant in the Lotus Hotel! (photo) Our travels have taken us to many places around the world and wherever we have gone, we have always found a Chinese restaurant. Add Rothenburg to the list!
We turned right about a half block just before reaching Market Square and found ourselves at St. Jakobskirche (St. Jacob’s Church), a Protestant church constructed over a 170 year span beginning in 1311. Its two tall spires can be seen from vantage points all over town. It is very famous for the artistry of its altars. The “Heilig Blut Altar” (Holy Blood Altar) is the most famous of several in the church. Unfortunately, we could only look at the church from the outside since there was renovation under way and much of the building was covered with scaffolding. We turned left at the cathedral and followed a narrow street into Market Square just between the Rathaus and the Ratstrinkstube (City Councilor’s Tavern). From here, we had a full-length view of the square. (photo) The square covered an area equivalent to a city block and was paved over with cobblestones. It sloped downward slightly toward the southeast where a street led to gates in the town’s south wall. The west side was bounded by the Rathaus, a large building that actually consists of two parts. One building which includes a watchtower was built 1250-1400. In front of it stands a large stone structure built 1572-1578 that is fronted by arcades built in 1681, The two buildings are connected by a courtyard. Standing alone in front of the Rathaus is a small farmer’s market with a very modest selection of fruits and vegetables.
A street, Herrngasse, leads west and separates the Rathaus from the block of business buildings that form the square’s southern boundary. At the southeast corner of Market Square is St. George’s Fountain, a major water source for the town since its beginnings. The square is bounded on the east by several buildings including the Lowen Apotheke which has been in business since 1374. (photo) Finally, on the north side is the Ratstrinkstube or City Councilor’s Tavern. It originally was open to only the city councilors but long since has been available to all residents. It is most famous for its clocks. One, high up near its peak on the side facing the square is a zodiac clock. Below that, is the main clock which was installed in 1683 and is still in working condition. In 1910, an animated function was added to the clock to commemorate the “Meistertrunk,” the Master Draught. Tourists come from far and wide to watch the clock as it tolls the hours between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM and 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM. We were scheduled our afternoon to be present in the square just before 3:00 PM so we could see the display in action.
To understand the significance of the clock’s the display, it is necessary to hear the legend it commemorates. In 1631 during the Thirty Years War, Catholic troops besieged Rothenburg, then a Protestant city. The Catholics eventually prevailed and their army occupied the city. The Catholic general, Count Tilly, known as a brutal and revengeful leader, was ready to unleash his troops on a round of pillaging, rape and destruction of Rothenburg. But, the town’s leaders convinced him to first meet with them in an attempt to persuade him to spare Rothenburg. He was impressed with the wine of the region but was himself a beer drinker. On a whim of the moment, he agreed to spare the town if one of its leaders could drink in one continuous draught a tankard of wine containing 3.25 L of wine. This was considered to be an impossible task but after some discussion and with no alternative left open, a former mayor named Nusch agreed to attempt the task and save the town. He lifted the enormous tankard to his lips and drank and drank and drank. In the end, he had consumed all 3.25 L without stopping. The town was spared. To this day, the event is known as the “Meistertrunk,” the Master Draught!
Market Square was nearly filled with people as the 3:00 PM hour neared. Finally, the clock began to strike the hour and almost simultaneously with this, small doors opened on both sides of the clock. To our left Count Tilly appeared in the window wearing a broad-brimmed hat with a large plume. He held an empty wine bottle in his right hand. Count Tilly was looking at the window on the opposite side of the clock where Mayor Nusch was standing. While we watched, Mayor Nusch raised a large tankard to his lips and appeared to be drinking its contents. (photo) This continued until the clock was nearly done striking the hour. With that, Mayor Nusch sat the tankard down signifying that he had completed the task just as the clock finished. Everyone on the plaza clapped and cheered his success! The doors closed and that was the end of the show for this hour. It was an interesting display and as with the clock in Nuremburg, I marveled at the animation. We tried to get photos of the event but even with the camera set on telephoto, we couldn’t get the desired degree of detail. However, the action was clearly visible to the naked eye.
Regina next led us to the west down Herrngasse Street. This formerly was a district of fine mansions where the town’s wealthy and important people lived. The street still is lined with these fine old houses, some of them now are private dwellings and some have businesses on the ground floor. (photo) Many have plaques attesting to their former owners. We passed a bizarre looking fountain and then the old Franciscan Church . (photo) My notes do not contain an entry that might explain this unusual fountain. We next reached the Castle Gate at the end of the street. (photo). We did not go through the gate to look at the gardens that lay beyond. Instead, we turned left and walked back along the old city wall overlooking the Tauber River in the deep valley below the wall. The wall here was not high since the very steep hillside and the river itself created a natural moat that prevented attack from this direction. Across the valley, were suburbs of new Rothenburg that lay outside the fortified area. Down in the valley, we could see what looked line an old Roman aqueduct but which actually was the Double Bridge built in the 14th century. (photo) The northern border of the Roman Empire actually was about 60 Km to the south and Roman towns and fortifications are unknown in the Rothenburg area. After walking the equivalent of a couple of blocks along a street paralleling the Tauber Valley, we headed back northward to Market Square where our organized tour ended. We now had almost two hours on our own to visit areas of our chosing. Jacquie and I had a small map that showed some of the interesting areas of the city and outlined some walking tours one could take. We decided that we would merely wander around with no specific destination in mind and just see what came our way. By this time, it had become sunny and quite warm and we enjoyed the opportunity to just enjoy the nice day.
We first headed on down Market Street toward the southern area of the walled town. The first two or three blocks contained mostly shops and restaurants that still are in use by town residents and tourists. Actually, the name of the street changed almost as soon as we left Market Square and it became Schmiedgassse for a couple of blocks and then changed to Plonlein. We soon reached to a small square of the same name. “Plonlein” in German means “little square.” This square is formed by the intersection of two streets as they come together to form a “y.” One street continues straight ahead. The other street branches off obliquely to the right and leads down to the Tauber River and the Double Bridge in the valley below. The area where these streets intersect has been paved with cobblestones and this is the Plonlein! About a block down the street to the right, there is a gate through the wall known as the “Kobolzeller” that was built in 1351. (photo) We did not walk down to this gate preferring to take a photo from the Plonlein. But, it is said to have originally consisted of four gates and an inner courtyard, none of which was visible to us. The street on the opposite end of Plonlein was a continuation of Schmiedgasse, the one we had been following. About 100 yards further on, there was another gate and tower known as the “Seibersturm.” This once was part of a secondary fortification protecting the town in case an invader breached the gate and/or wall farther to the south.
We did not continue on past the Seibersturm to the southern gate to the city which is known as the Spital Bastion. Instead, we walked back toward the Market Square looking in the windows of the various shops and admiring some of the old buildings as we strolled along. But first, we did get one of our fellow travelers to snap a photo of Jacquie and me standing in the middle of the Plonlein. (photo) And by the way, the name of our street changed again just beyond the Seibersturm to become Spitalgassse! We noticed several times during our stroll around Rothenburg how the names of streets change without warning. Finding a specific street address must be a real challenge.
We stopped briefly in a shop that sells “schneeballen.” Regina had previously called these to our attention. Schneeballen, snowballs in English, are a product unique to Rothenburg where they are a very popular confection. The story behind their supposed creation is quite interesting. It seems that many years ago, the residents learned that the king was coming to visit the town. Of course, the king had to be given a dinner appropriate to his high status. But, there was nothing to give him for his dessert after the meal. Then, someone had an inspiration and asked the people to gather up all of the dough scraps and crusts that they could find. They took these and compressed the scraps into a round ball that they then baked. When the round balls came out of the oven, they were dusted with powdered sugar. The result looked like a snowball and fortunately, the king liked it. The residents of Rothenburg have prepared and eaten this confection ever since! (photo)
The schneeballen that we saw today indeed look like they still are made from scraps of dough. They are about the size of a baseball and now come with a variety of flavors and toppings. They sell for 1-3 euros ($1.40-$4.20) ) and usually are eaten with coffee, tea or a glass of wine. Regina told us that they are rather dry and definitely have to be consumed with a beverage. The small shop where we stopped offered at least four or five types for sale. They could be either consumed on site with a cup of coffee or taken home for later consumption. While I would have liked to try one, they were quite large and I wasn’t sufficiently hungry to consume one all by myself. Jacquie doesn’t like sweets so she was of no help.
Another tale from the past! Regina told us that there was a large Dominican Convent in Rothenburg during the Middle Ages. It became very financially successful by selling the products of its gardens and vineyards. It could sell these at tax-free rates because of its religious status. The people of the town were upset about this competition which they deemed to be unfair. Furthermore, there were rumors circulating that priests and city officials were making late night visits to the convent. People felt this was inappropriate for a religious order. Eventually, two nuns were caught in bed with a town councilman and as a result, the Dominicans were banished from the city! Rothenburgh’s local heritage museum is now located in the former Dominican Priory. The present tourist brochure only mentions that the Dominican Order resided in Rothenburg between 1258 and the Reformation in 1544 and that the size of the property attests to its economic importance. There is no mention of the nuns’ tete-a-tete with the town councilman! So, is this scandalous tale fact or is it just another bit of folklore associated with the town?
We stopped briefly to look at a wonderful display of Christmas ornaments and statuary in a little shop just off Market Square. (photo) We then followed a street leading toward the east from Market Square. I believe that its name was Hafeng. It turned into Rodergasse after a block or two where there was the Roder Arch and Markus Tower. Both are relics from an earlier city wall. We unfortunately missed them entirely and my notes bear nothing to remind me that we passed them. But shortly beyond them, we came to the Roder Gate, a major gate in the east wall that was built in the 14th century. (photo) We walked through the gate but found nothing on the far side except residential districts of the newer town. This area had been almost totally destroyed when a nearby railroad yard was bombed toward the end of WW II. Fortunately, the bombs did not damage the core of the old town relics but did destroy parts of the east wall of the old town.
There is a story that General McCloy who was commander of the advancing American army offered the German defenders the opportunity to surrender Rothenburg. The German general in charge of the sector responded that this was impossible because Hitler himself had ordered the army to defend the city to the last living man. Fortunately, a German major who was the “on the ground” commander of the defending force decided to surrender in spite of the general’s response. Thus, the town was saved from the American artillery and from total destruction. General McCloy later on was a leading force in raising funds to restore the damage done to Rothenburg by the 1945 bombing raid.
We walked north from the Roder Gate into another residential area inside the town wall. We encountered a horse-drawn wagon taking some tourists on a city tour. There were many old buildings in this area like those we had already seen on our tour. Toward the end of this loop through the eastern side of the walled city, we came to Galengasse; a street named for the gallows that formerly lay at its end. A couple of blocks further down the street, we could see an imposing gate in the wall named the Galgentor, or Gallows Gate! (photo)
We ended up at Market Square about 4:30 PM and sat on a bench in front of the Ratstrinkstube where we had been instructed to assemble pending the 5:00 PM departure of our bus for the SOM. Many members of our group already were there when we arrived. Several were sampling the local wine and beer at an outdoor tavern off to one side of the square. In an effort to kill time, I wandered over to the “farmers market” in front of the Rathaus just to see what was for sale. There wasn’t much offered there and I soon returned to the bench where Jacquie was sitting. At 5:00 PM, we all picked up and headed for the buses waiting outside the city wall. As soon as all were on board, we headed out for Wurtzburg and the SOM. We arrived there by shortly after 6:15 PM and by 6:30 PM the SOM was on its way.
On the way back to the SOM, our guide told us about her background. She had promised this all day but had steadfastly refused to tell us anything till we were on our way back. She met her German husband while still a young woman. She was out traveling the world as many European students do when she met him someplace along the Mediterranean Coast. They ultimately married knowing that they would live in Germany where he already was employed. She originally spoke almost no German so had to quickly learn the language. She said that she could communicate at an elementary level by the end of the first year and felt that she was quite proficient by the end of the second or third year. But, it took her at least five years to where she felt comfortable conversing in a group setting with her husband’s family. Her point was that conversational German, in all of its nuances, was much harder to learn that she had anticipated.
Once back at the ship, we cleaned up, participated in Happy Hour and then had dinner. There was a demonstration of glass blowing after dinner by an artisan from Wertheim, which is the “glassblowing capitol of the world!” We didn’t attend this demonstration having already seen many such exhibitions during other travels. We elected instead to get ready for what should be an interesting day tomorrow visiting Wertheim and Miltenberg. We were in bed by about 10:30 PM, tired after a long and interesting day. The SOM had cast off and was underway by 6:30 PM. Our schedule read that we should arrive in Wertheim by about 7:30 AM. The weather forecast was for a chance of showers with temperatures in the mid 70s.
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