Our walking tour guide took us along the riverbank and up steps to an historic stone bridge, first built in 1120, restored in 1476, great damaged in 1945, and restored once again. He mentioned that it was traditional to purchase a glass of the local wine in the little restaurant on the side of the bridge and take it out to enjoy the view of the Marienberg Fortress on the opposite side of the river. Despite the grey weather we and some new friends decided to do so before we headed back to the ship.
The tour took us through the town, another city with roots in the Roman Empire, built up in the 18th century, but heavily damaged from bombing during WWII. The large square has a distinctive, permanent Maypole beside the church – a tradition I attributed to Britain, not to Germany! The guide pointed out the best place to try their famous bratwurst in a bun – a small kiosk in the marketplace that Tony and I noted for a quick snack after the tour.
Then we proceeded to Wurzburg Residenz, a UNESCO World Heritage site which was built over a 25 year period, starting in 1719, for the Wurzburg Prince-Bishop. A magnificent palace, it had truly stunning frescoes, some of which were saved from the bombing of the building because they were painted in ceilings that were arched. It was interesting to learn that the paintings that had survived had not been retouched at all, yet the colours were still quite vibrant. Evidently this was because the painter worked on them while the plaster was still wet, therefore permanently setting the colour. Sadly, I could not photograph the frescoes or the magnificent rooms (reminiscent of Versailles) but I could the beautiful gardens and grounds outdoors. Although most of the ceilings and floors of the Imperial Apartments were destroyed in 1945, the furnishings and wall panelling were removed, and therefore preserved, beforehand. Restoration was completed in 1987.
We returned to the town, had a bratwurst standing in the square, then after hunting for a few things for our Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, made our way to the bridge and some wine. We enjoyed the company of Donna and Norm from Niagara on the Lake.
On our way back to the boat we passed a park that had some intriguing sculptures. They were meant to be turned and each twirl produced a sound. How could you resist?