We bought a car finally. This weekend we took it out for a spin across our Freistaat and back to Würzburg and Miltenberg.
We stayed at Schloss Zeilitzheim from Friday night to Sunday morning, in the room named “Balthasar Neumann,” who figures into the story a bit later more prominently. Würzburg was only about a half-hour away, and Miltenberg a bit further. Both were were great day trips from Zeilitzheim as a base.
Here are some early Saturday morning shots of from around Zeilitzheim, including the inside of the courtyard of Schloss Zeilitzheim:
Later that morning we drove further south and west to Würzburg to check out the Residenz and the Festung Marienberg. Würzburg struck us as pretty, but not as charming as Regensburg. There’s something more elegant about the Altstadt. Maybe it’s the white wine production. Or the opulence of the Residenz. I am normally quite aware and respectful of the photography rules at monuments like these, but somehow I failed to notice the signs prohibiting photography inside the building while waiting for our tour to start, and that earned me a reprimand from the staff. The frescos are great, with lots of Trompe-l’œil to keep you engaged; I don’t think you can blame me for wanting to capture them. The guided tour, included with the price of admission, was also very valuable, since included detailed explanations of the symbolism of the paintings and the individual architects (Balthasar Neumann!), sculptors, and painters involved.
Later that afternoon we strolled across the Alte Mainbrücke towards the fortress. We took the less steep of two footpaths up and pretty quickly realized we should have considered sunscreen (fortunately no sunburn after all). You walk up through an educational vineyard, where winemaking students are proving themselves capable vintners, and the views down onto Würzburg are quite nice. Up at the top, we discovered we could have driven up — there are a few parking spots and even the Endhaltestelle of the Number 9 bus. We opted for the bus ride down. We were mostly interested in the Marienkirche, built in the early 700s, because criminy, that’s gotta be the oldest Church we’ve been to in Germany, but unless you shell out for the tour of the Festung (and we’d just missed the last one of the day), your access to it is severely limited.
The next day we decided to visit a small town in the area — since we had the car, it seemed like a waste not to explore a place not so easily visited via public transportation (I might add that we’ve changed trains in Würzburg’s Hauptbahnhof many times, and it does not do the rest of the city justice).
We started off by parking the car in a large municipal lot on the banks of the Main river. Miltenberg gets its own three-letter license plate prefix, leading to some fun vanity plates. We took the long, slow way up one edge of the town and around the back of it towards the Mildenburg (Note for the meticulous: Miltenberg is the town, and Mildenburg is the fortress perched above it.)
Our trusty Frommer’s Germany 2004 mentions that there’s not much to see in the Mildenburg fortress due to renovations. Well, as of 2013 — it’s very much out of date. The renovations are complete. The interiors of the fortress are now serving as an art gallery, and one like we’ve never seen before. It juxtaposes antique Orthodox iconography with modern sculptures and paintings along broad common themes. At €3/head, it’s a steal. Just one minor complaint: the building is climate controlled and it gets pretty warm in there from the halogen lighting.