Travelogue XIX: Würzburg Kreuzweg

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24. November, 2014 On the way back from the farm in Kulmbach, we stopped in Würzburg, the half-way point on the Autobahn between eastern Bavaria and Mainz. It’s still the city I know best in Germany–my first introduction to the country, and a place I will always feel a bit homesick for. On the last evening I spent there, I drank wine on the bridge and bid farewell to a dear friend–hot July night, street musicians playing klezmer, the castle all lit up on the hill behind us. It’s been four months since then. Tempus fugit. 

We only had a couple hours, so we decided to walk up the Kreuzweg (stations of the cross) to the beautiful Käppele, high above the vineyards outside of the city.  The path–247 steps!–dates from the 1760s and leads up to the chapel and a tiny cloister.

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The almost-bare branches, the stone steps, the clear light–it all had a fairy-tale-like feel to it. Märchenhaft. 

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Inside the chapel–baroque, one of the few buildings in Würzburg not destroyed during World War II. It’s never been restored, which means the interior has a hazy-dusty-dreamlike feel to it.

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Looking back into the city, and then across to the Festung Marienberg.

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The sky was the bluest of blues, for what seems like the first time in weeks. I love the Rhine, but living on its banks means that Nebel (fog) is an unavoidable fact of existence during the winter months. And sure enough, the clear skies in Bayern turned overcast as soon as we took the exit towards Mainz.

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I think, though, that the afternoon of sun in Würzburg will be enough to keep me going for awhile yet.

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Travelogue V: Würzburg Alte Mainbrücke

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26. Juli, 2014 One of the most lovely spots in Würzburg is the Alte Mainbrücke, the old stone bridge that connects the city to the Festung Marienberg, the castle on the other side of the river. The first foundations of the bridge date back to the 1100s, and the structure that exists today was completed during the 1400s. Today, there are always street musicians playing, and you can buy a glass of wine from the tiny open-air restaurant at one end and carry it onto the bridge–return the glass when you are finished.

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View from the bridge back into the city–the Rathaus (city hall) on the left with the clock tower, the Dom (cathedral) at the end of the street.

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The Festung in the distance, above the vineyards. The fact that one can see a thousand-year-old castle from almost any point in the city will never grow old to me. There are statues on both sides of the bridge–the holy family, Wuerzburg’s patron saints, Karl the great. Above St. Kilian.

IMG_0255The river is the Main, here rather sleepy and pleasant. In September, I’ll be moving to the city of Mainz, where it dumps into the Rhein.

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Also there is hazelnut Gelato, jussayin’.

Aufwiedersehen, Würzburg….

And then suddenly it was our very last day in Germany.

The weather was perfect, for once, and I went first to the early mass in the Neumünster, then on a very long Wanderung all around the Wein Bergen, to end up one last time at the Festung Marienberg.

Leb’ Wohl, Deutschland! It was quite the month. I will be back…

And vielen herzlichen Dank, to all those who have followed and commented and generally cared! This trip would not have been near as much fun if I did not have all of you to share it with.

Till next time!

~Emily

Würzburg: Loreena McKennit

 

Yes, Anna, I am eternally grateful to you for finding the tickets and forcing me to buy one. Yes, I am very, very sorry you couldn’t come too…..

…A favorite singer in the Goodling household is Loreena McKennitt–sort of Irish, sort of world-music, very much inspired by travel and literature, from Homer to Dante to Shakespeare. She also hardly ever does concert tours, which is why my sister pretty much freaked out when she saw that she would be singing all over Germany, July 2012. And Würzburg was a stop on the tour! Talk about amazing timing.

 

And therefore I found myself last Sunday in a beautiful outdoor theater at the Festung Marienberg, Loreena McKennitt ticket in hand. First, though, I walked all around the castle gardens…

…and had a picnic. Yes, that is a Brie sandwich, local wine, and the best chocolate in Germany.

More gardens. This was over on the other side of the mountain, outside the castle walls. There were dozens of summer cottages like the one you see in the photo, each with a tiny vegetable garden, flower beds, and fruit trees.

 

 

…and then back to the concert grounds, backed by the Festung walls.

I had a standing room ticket, and had luckily arrived early enough to get a spot just a few meters from the stage.


And because I promised, here are the videos. They aren’t very good, not least because the No-Camera Security Guy was standing three feet away from me. Seriously Anna, I could have been killed right there…..

 

 

Needless to say, it was wonderful. Nothing can beat the excitement of live music. There was much dancing, clapping, and smooching. Lots of smooching.

Loreena played the piano, harp, keyboard, and accordion. She is very down-to-earth and looks rather older than in her clips on youtube, not at all super-star-ish. Her beautiful singing voice is the same. One interesting point–we didn’t hear any new music. I believe her last CD came out in 2006…I wonder if she is still writing. I certainly hope so.

Würzburg: Kreuzweg

Just another lovely spot in Würzburg. Last week we climbed up the mountain on the other side of the valley to the Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross) that leads to the beautiful baroque Käppele. The church is so high up that it is visible almost everywhere in the city.

 

 

Views of the city from the top.

The Festung Marienberg, on the other side of the valley.

 

 

 

…and then we went even higher, to apple crisp in the tiny cafe at the very top of the mountain. Yum!

Festung Marienberg, Würzburg

A couple more Würzburg posts before I get to München….

The whole city here is overlooked by the Festung Marienberg, high above the river and surrounded by wine farmers. The history of the castle dates all the way back to the 700s AD, when a church was built on the sight of an ancient Celtic fortification. It eventually served as the residence of Würzburg’s Fürstbischof until 1719, when it was ditched for the much-more-classy Residenz in the main city.

View of the castle from downtown Würzburg.

The entrance, under the outer wall. Once inside, past two walls, moat, and drawbridge, one had the feeling of complete security. Anna, the whole place was definitely reminiscent of something out of Lord of the Rings…

The moat, now dry, as seen from the bridge.

The main gate.

Before the bridge.

The water cisterns.

Inside the chapel.

The innermost keep, most likely the last place of defense if the castle fell.

The views over the walls of the city were breathtaking and entirely un-transferrable to cheap digital camera.