Viking River Cruise-Apr./May 2013 (16)

The Prince/Bishop Of Wurzburg's  Former Palace

The Prince/Bishop Of Wurzburg’s Former Palace

Monday, May 06, 2013-Day 17

Well, good people, the day dawned sunny and warm as we slid into the docking point in Wurzburg this morning.

“On 16 March 1945, about 90% of the city full of civilians (and military hospitals) was destroyed in 17 minutes by 225 British Lancaster bombers during a World War II air raid. All of the city’s churches, cathedrals, and other monuments were heavily damaged or destroyed. The city centre, which dated from medieval times, was totally destroyed in a firestorm in which 5,000 people perished. Over the next 20 years, the buildings of historical importance were painstakingly and accurately replicated. The citizens who rebuilt the city immediately after the end of the war were mostly women – Trümmerfrauen (“rubble women”) – because the men were either dead or taken prisoner of war. In comparison  Würzburg was destroyed to a larger extent than was Dresden in a firebombing the previous month.“ (Wikipedia)

We hadn’t long to wait before we were told the buses were outside waiting to take us to the Prince/Bishop’s palace in the centre of the town. These prince/bishps were officers of the church but they also had enormous political clout. When we got off the bus and faced the palace, I was flabbergasted. It looked a little like the palace at Versailles, and indeed, we were told later that the bishop had ordered his architect to visit Versailles and build him something along the same lines!

Massive Gates Provide Entry To The Palace

Massive Gates Provide Entry To The Palace

Sadly, but understandably, we were not allowed to take cameras, bags, bottles into the upstairs rooms we were going to see, so they were all stored in  a large wooden box which was then locked until our return.

I can’t begin to tell you of the grandeur of the palace (now owned and run by the state). However, the best part for me was the entrance to the ipstairs chambers via a grand, stone staircase. The ceiling above is covered by the largest ceiling fresco in the world. It was painted in 14 months by an Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo  who painted the four continents (of that time) on the ceiling.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Apollo and the Con...

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Apollo and the Continents (Europe, overall view) – WGA22331 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was totally amazed at the scale of the painting, the fact it was painted on a curved ceiling, and it’s 3D imagery. It was amazing.Würzburg, Residenz

Something else the guide told us was that the palace had 360 rooms. 300 of them were destroyed by the bombing and all those have been faithfully restored by the state.

After the tour, which involved a lot of standing in one place to listen, Cynthia and Lynore took the bus back to the ship while Don and I wandered down through the town and on to the stone bridge over the river, copied in the style of the Charles Bridge in Prague (and also ordered by the prince/bishop). Don forced an ice-cream upon me and I relented and took it. However, the only evidence of us pounding the ice-creams down, is a pic I took of him!  Heh! Heh!

Don enjoys His Two Scooper on The Bridge At Wurzburg

Don enjoys His Two Scooper on The Bridge At Wurzburg

We made our way back to the ship along the lovely river walk. Lunch was served and we headed off to Karlstadt where the Idun was due to dock again to pick up passengers who had undergone an extra tour of Rothenburg.

About 5.30 the Idun docked at Karlstadt, a beautiful town on the Main. DSCN8981We actually pulled up against a tiny jetty jutting out from the bank. The captain of the ship inched his way up to the landing and crew hopped ashore. Little boys ran up and down the shore and campers on the side waved and made us welcome. It was a strange sight to be within spitting distance of the land waiting for our friends to re-board.

Campers At Karlstadt. Note How Close We Are

Campers At Karlstadt. Note How Close We Are

Our passengers came aboard and dinner was served.

Karl The Glass-Blower Get His Stuff Ready

Karl The Glass-Blower Get His Stuff Ready

After the meal we were treated to a demonstration of glassblowing by Karl Ittig, the glassblower from Wertheim, the little down river where we are headed. imagesKarl is one of five glass blowers making their living in this little town. His presentation was interesting, informative and well received by his audience.

It had been a full day. Goodbye for now and God bless.

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6 comments on “Viking River Cruise-Apr./May 2013 (16)

  1. Looks as if you are having a wonderful time. We touched on Lancasters last weekend – 617 squadron – the Dambusters. Sian’s dad did his National Service at RAF Scampton (Lincoln), home of the Dambusters followed by our nuclear deterent, Vulcan bombers and now home to the Red Arrows. We took him for a surprise visit there having pre-booked a camp and museum visit. We stayed in Lincoln overnight and did a tour of the Cathedral the next day. Took him on the trip for Father’s day as we are on holidays on that date in June.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip and have a safe journey home

    Kind regards

    The Jones clan.

  2. Loving these–your weather’s been amazing! Now we’ve been to these places and so I can taste and feel it all. I know that Lynore is really drooling now!!!! Bless you guys. Could you go on longer or is it enough already? Tell D&L that Gambit isstill missing them (AND running out of food–I’ve been feeding it to Neil and he can’t tell the difference between it and my cooking!)

  3. Wurzburg brings back a lot of memories. Celebrated my 18th birthday there when travelling with David Mason in his grandfather’s car. I remember the palace and the stone staircase, but I don’t think they had finished restoring it at that time. Our guide was a German pen pal of David’s. His family were very welcoming and helped me celebrate my birthday. That trip was my first visit to Europe, a wide eyed schoolboy, Until then I thought that UK was the centre of the Universe. It wasn’t, and still isn’t! I was amazed at how friendly the German people were towards us, until then I’d probably thought they were all Adolfs. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

    • Hi Ralph,
      You are full of great memories and surprises. You sure got around then, when most of us were thinking of getting up to London one day for a trip.
      Glad the post stirred good memories for you. There is nothing like travel to broaden one’s mind or perhaps change opinions.
      Cheers pal.

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