Saturday May 15, 2010

You’ve probably never heard of a lot of these places – right? Well, nor had we, prior to this trip. Which is making them all the more surprising and delightful and photographable and unforgettable and can’t-wait-to-tell-you-more-about-them-able!

And how’s this for good news? We caught some flashes of blue sky today! The sun is doing its best to break up the grey, and the rain is getting warmer!

After sailing right through the wee small hours (with an occasional bump-in-the-night to remind us we’re passing through yet another narrow lock – with just centimetres to spare either side), we reached the historic city of Wurzburg and headed off on a Weight-Watchers walking tour. This lovely old town, guarded by the hilltop Fortress Marienberg, is home to the Residenz – a beautiful Baroque palace built for Bavaria’s prince-bishops in the early 1700s and famous for its great marble staircase plus frescoes by the Venetian master, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

From the outside, the Residenz looked like just another big, old, ugly building – but inside, oh boy! We traipsed through the gloriously decorated rooms (no photos allowed inside, bummer). And then we traipsed down into a vast underground cellar where we enjoyed the most generous wine-tasting session ever. (Sniff, rinse and swallow – we’re getting good at this – followed by some more Mad Midlife traipsing and giggling!)

After lunch on board, we then bussed for an hour or so (via Germany’s high-speed autobahn) to Rothenburg ob der Tauber – a beautifully-restored medieval walled town (500, 600, 700 years old). ‘A jewel of the Middle Ages’ with its great stone walls and towers and gates … its vibrantly-coloured houses with their half-timbered gables … and shops galore!

A feast for sore eyes? Without a doubt …

TOMORROW: There’s another one lying in wait for us – another superbly-preserved medieval city (and a UNESCO World Heritage Site this time): Bamberg (home perhaps of the original bamburger-&-fries?) So stand-by, and don’t leave the room …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) beside the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And if you want a better look at our map and photos, just click on them and they’ll enlarge –  magic!