October 19 - Day 29
19.10.2011 - 19.10.2011 10 °C
Another night of quietly progressing through the German countryside with regular pauses for locks and low bridges. Opportunity for some to have a sleep in and late breakfast as we did not arrive in Wursburg until around 10.30am. Most of course were up at the usual time to compete with each other at the breakfast 'pig trough'.
The day started out quite cool and went downhill from there temperature-wise. Another fascinating restored medieval village which was home to occupying US troops until the 80s. Nice mix of old and new in the centre. Also nice mix of young people shopping and socializing. Max temp of 10C was not the best thing for those with head colds.
Our Scenic Free Choice was a visit to the "Residence" - another "palace" built by the "royal bishop" to demonstrate once again the affluence and influence of the Catholic church. A town of many churches; our guide claimed the highest percentage by population in the world and explained that this was because the royal bishops (usually the second or third prince in line for the throne) could not marry (officially) and therefore the only way to leave a legacy was to build community infrastructure - so why not just build another church. This particular "prince" had a penchant for wine and the cellar under one wing of the residence is now a massive wine cellar where the tourists sit and taste by candlelight. Local wines are provided gratis with all our meals. They are all "quaffers" - safe but young and lacking in character.
Fortress Marienberg is the castle on the top of the hill across from the Old Main Bridge. Started about 1200. The bridge was built in 1473-1543 to replace the destroyed Romanesque bridge. It was adorned with well known statues of saints about 1730.
By 1000 BC a Celtic fortification stood on the site of the present fortress. It was christianized in 686. The first church was built as early as 788. In 1720 the foundations of Wurzburg Residence were laid. Massacres of Jews took place in 1147 and 1298. In one day in 1945 90% of the city was destroyed by incendiary bombs. Fires continued for 2 more days. Mostly women rebuilt the city in the following 20 years. Men were either dead or POWs.