Travel and Culture

A Day in Würzburg, Germany

Würzburg is a city situated on the Main River in the northern Bavarian region of Germany and is a stopover on most European river cruises.  And what a lovely stopover it is. The name of this charming city is from the German word ‘Würze’ meaning  a herb or spice. ‘Burg’ means a castle.  As there are lots of both in Germany, many places end in ‘burg’ or ‘berg’.

My travelling companion and I spent a day in Würzburg as part of our European river cruise.  We were taken by bus to The Würzburg Residence which was built in 1744.  This glorious and elaborate building was once the palace of the Prince-Bishop (ahh, such a grand life).  Prince-Bishops had both religious and political power.

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Apparently, Napoleon came along and kicked out the Prince-Bishop of the time and the local bishop today lives in a much more moderate building.  The Würzburg Residence now houses part of the University of Würzburg, and we saw plenty of students striding conscientiously avoiding the visiting tourists as they made their way to lectures or study areas.

One can only take so much of palaces, so we left The Würzburg Residence and walked around some of the little roads and alleys of Würzburg including the quaint market square, and happily looked at a combination of historical and new buildings, shops and the old Würzburg Cathedral.

The part I enjoyed most in Würzburg was when we popped into a local café for a cup of tea.  The tea was known as ‘white’ tea, but it wasn’t milky like the milk tea we have.  It was black and tasted slightly of almonds and ginger. They also had the most amazingly delicious, totally chocolate-covered profiteroles served by a gracious waitress.  I have never eaten profiteroles like these, and I sincerely wish I had the recipe although my waistline and heart probably wouldn’t agree.  The young waitress was very friendly and served us with such kindness and warmth.

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My travelling companion and I got chatting to some middle aged, beautifully dressed local women, one German and one French and both secondary school teachers who at the time were enjoying the school holiday break.  It was such a comfortable and easy conversation with laughter and warmth, that I felt relaxed and happy.  As we left, I gave our lovely waitress a little golden-coloured tiki to put on a neck-chain or attach to a bracelet.  She received this with a happy smile.

So, a little bit of New Zealand now stays in Würzburg and I have taken away lovely memories.

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