Yesterday we drove from the Rhine to Würzburg to the top of the Romantic Road. We had originally talked about coming back this way, but as it was only a bit to the east and then the Road runs due south to Austria, we thought it’d make sense to do it now.
From St Goar, it was necessary to go to Mainz, cross the river to Wiesbaden, then east around Frankfurt – all on motorways. They are working on the bridge across the Main from Mainz to Wiesbaden. Unlike the UK, the roadworks appear without much warning and the apparently wider inside lane for lorries didn’t in fact go the same way; it sent us off the motorway before the bridge, so we were forced to go back round and take the outside lane, squeezing ourselves gingerly – and only just – through the 2.2m width restrictions. We now know the width of the van!
In Würzurg we visited the Residenz, an amazing palace. Würzburg was carpet bombed in 1945 and fire raged through the town. Only the staircase and Tiepolo frescos in the stairwell escaped undamaged. They have recreated the rest from pre-war photographs. It is a truly impressive building, but they probably don’t make quite enough of the work that they have done since the war to rebuild it. The few boards and the pictures of the devastated town are at the end of the tour. If you started with that, I think it would have given you a more profound appreciation of the work. They credit one American officer who recognised the value of the building on arrival and managed to put up temporary waterproof roofs to protect the remaining fabric.
We had dinner overlooking the Main. It was hot yesterday, and I think the restaurant had put extra tables outside, so the numbers didn’t quite align with what the kitchen staff were expecting. This resulted in a truly comic experience where no-one’s dinner seemed to go to the right table.
This morning we went to Bad Mergentheim to look at one of the palaces on the Romantic Road. Unfortunately, it isn’t open Mondays, so we had to skip that and the dolls house exhibition inside. So instead we went to Weikersheim. It was built by a very minor duke that had done a stint as ambassador to Versailles – he clearly had ambitions!! The Rittersaal, or Knights Hall has life-sized papier maché animals projecting from the walls. It was clear though that he had never seen a real elephant. It was life-sized, but his trunk looked like a vacuum cleaner hose!
We’ve now moved on to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Its towers, tiny streets and the headquarters of the Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas emporium await, but for this evening the rain has confined us to quarters for some admin.