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Drowned Rats

It had to happen sooner or later–a rain-laden morning. And of all mornings, when we had the Wurzburg Residenz on our morning agenda. I prefer to plan relaxing days, focusing on a few wonderful sights or museums, rather than rushing through to see everything. I prefer staying in one place several days and finding a good local restaurant or brew pub in which to sit and enjoy a leisurely meal watching the local customs and world go by. I love finding a bakery and enjoying the local bread. But on this day, we had a more packed agenda–catch the early train to Wurzburg in order to get the 11am English tour of the Residenz, catch another train to Bamburg, the Unesco World Heritage City. And there was rain!

Of course, being the well-planned traveler :-), I was fully prepared: weather-proof jacket and travel umbrella for me and rain cape with hood for Kathy. Allen and Rhonda were also well-prepared, except for one big problem: they left their rain gear in the rail station lockers. Here is the truth–Allen does not prefer his rain cape–he looks like a big blue thumb when wearing it (please, do not let him know I think this)–and his rain jacket is NOT rain proof, nor is Rhonda’s rain coat–go figure. We got a taxi to the Residenz so that was ok, but after the tour, no taxis were to be found, and it was raining rather briskly. The rail station (Hauptbahnhof) was a good 20 minute walk from the Residenz. I offered my umbrella and even my weather proof jacket to no avail. The end result was that two prepared people were dry and two, um, how should I put it–well, two people were like drowned rats. Ever the gentleman, I was too gracious to rub it in.

The Residenz is grand! The ancient home of the Prince Bishop (both political and spiritual ruler in one) sits majestically in Wurzburg’s Old Town. A large foyer had gates that swung open to allow room for carriages, pulled by six horses, to enter and turn indoors in order to allow their passengers to step out into opulence and to ascend the grand staircase into the palace living quarters. They were treated at the top of the stairs to the world’s largest painted ceiling, depicting life on the four known continents known at that time. The American scene included a Native American riding an alligator, something frightening to the Europeans of the 1700s. Among the 300 rooms of the palace is the Mirror Room, the most mirrors in any one room in the world–600 panes. They were gold-gilded, framed and hand painted. The room was simply stunning.

Training on to Bamburg, we entered the German state of Franconia. The dress and food are distinctive. The clothing has a more rural and yet elegant feel. The food highlights liver, as in liver dumplings and liverwurst. The traditional beer is dunkel (dark) and smoked. Eating in a crowded local establishment and sharing a table, as is common, with other restaurant guests was a wonderful way to dry out two drowned rats. WEG

The Residenz, Wurzburg, GermanyThe Residenz Garden, Wurzburg, Germany

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