Sunday, October 05, 2008

Catch-Up Time! Wuerzburg, Freudenstadt, and Alpirsbach

Two weeks ago, my aunt and a friend of hers came to visit Germany! On the first full day, we went, along with a friend of mine here, to Wuerzburg, a town in Franken (Franconia) with a World Heritage Residenz (castle), set among vineyards. Because of the location of the different types of rails, it takes just as long to get there by IC or ICE, the fast trains, as it does to get there by the cheaper and slower RE and S-Bahn, so we went on a Schoenes Wochenende ticket and it was really cheap!

We had lunch at Cafe Michel right near the Marienkirche, and it was very cheap! For Damon and I, it was only fourteen Euro for 2 meals, 3 drinks, and 2 desserts! Plus the location is great. We sat inside because the weather wasn't cooperating, but there's plenty of seating right out the square and inside it's reminiscent of cafes in Vienna or other points east.

We checked out the various sites (see the photos below) and had a tour of the Residenz. Parts of it actually survived World War two, including an enormous ceiling mural depicting European ideas of Europe, Africa, Asia, and America at that time. Unfortunately a visitor in our group from Colombia was very disturbed at the depiction of the American continent as full of savage cannibals and took multiple opportunities to try to defend it to the tour guide, who tried again and again to explain that it's not what's thought now! A woman in the group from the US fit stereotypes well by expressing particularly strong horror at the thought that they used to not bathe back when water was considered (and often actually was) dirty. One room full of painted mirrors was completely destroyed in the war, and entirely restored by one Wuerzburg artist in the 1970s. All in all it was fun and interesting.

Wuerzburg Sep 08

The following day they wanted to check out the Black Forest, so we drew up some ideas based on what would be cheapest to get to and not take so long. Getting down there by train can be pretty time-consuming, and the only locations we were already familiar with down there are Ottenhoefen (takes too long to get there) and Freiburg (not really the more rural atmosphere we were looking for). So, we just took a shot in the dark based on some maps and guide books and ended up in Freudenstadt and Alpirsbach.

Just like on our trip to Freiburg, this southern friendliness reared its lovely head again as we rode a little train from Karlsruhe into the forest. A guy sitting across the aisle from us gave us the English-language insert from his newspaper to read, as he heard us speaking English. Once the train got quieter (it had been full of super-excited kids on a field trip - who upon learning they'd crossed into the forest were all screaming "Wir sind im Schwarzwald! Wir sind im Schwarzwald!") he struck up a long conversation about, especially, politics. He was going to an appointment in Freudenstadt, our destination, so he walked us from the station into the center of town, took us to the tourist office and showed us a couple of things. Then he had to get to his appointment, so he left. We went to a restaurant they'd recommended at the tourist office, and about half an hour later, he showed up at the restaurant to make sure we were okay!! Then he was off again before we could even ask him to join us for lunch.


About the lunch, the restaurant is called the Jaegerstueble and the food was quite good and the service very friendly! After lunch we walked around the huge, arcaded square a bit and into the residential streets, then checked out the strange L-shaped church before heading onward to Alpirsbach.

Freudenstadt Sep 08

Alpirsbach caught Damon's eye on the map because of the beer that's made there. There's a former monastery there, as well as some cute houses and some touristy things like a chocolate shop and a glass shop. After looking around the town, we stopped for Kaffee & Kuchen (coffee & cake) at a little Konditorei, then started the long trip back to Heidelberg.

Alpirsbach Sep 08


  1. You are right. Even though the transportation system is great over there, if you really depend on it than it can be quite complicated to get to certain areas. Your trips look very nice.

  2. Bek: It can be a pain sometimes but we love its availability! :)

  3. I love random acts of kindness! The other day I had only large bills in a taxi, and most cabbies back home would take you to a news agent and make you get change. Here, the driver gave me his cell # and told me to pay him the next time I needed a taxi. Who does that? I love small town Europe.


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