Toronto, Wurzburg, Rothenberg, and Dinkelsbuhl
“It was the best of times it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens.
Stewart Goes Walkies is very grateful to our old friend, Allen Lai, for another of his excellent travelogues.
No doubt (writes Allen) it was the worst of times to travel, the shadow of COVID is still hanging over everyone’s minds, the airlines and airports are struggling to maintain regular service, and flight delays, cancellations, and loss of luggage have become the norm. Not to mention there is a war going on. Many tour operators are suffering due to a lack of tourists and government regulations. But, it is also the best of times to travel. Less crowded, easy to book hotels and restaurants, and less traffic at the tourist spot. I have taken 4 trips since May, the Middle East, Alaska, Florida, and up north in the cottage country. So the next logical trip was Europe.
The trip started off badly. The 7-hour flight to Frankfurt was delayed for six hours. During the whole time, there was no clear announcement as to whether we could actually fly. It was not until 3 am, nine hours after we arrived at the airport, we were finally able to board. Well, look at the bright side, we were on our way.
We landed in Frankfurt in the late afternoon. I love Germany, always so efficient and orderly.
Our first stop was Wurzburg. The site of a Celtic settlement, it was first mentioned as Virteburch in 704. A centre of grape growing and of rail and river traffic. Although much of the city was destroyed in World War II, its postwar reconstruction has been thorough.
Standing on the medieval Main Bridge, looking up to the Celtic hill fortress, which was the residence of the bishops (c. 1250 – 1720). The locals are drinking and chatting away everywhere. It’s difficult to think a war is raging nearby. I sampled the famous local Wurzburg Silvaner and Traminer wine. Both are the vino of choice by the locals, fruity and full-bodied, the latter one is sweet and is recognized as the “wine for women”. I love it, both are refreshing and will be lovely on a day like today.
We arrived at Rothenberg in the late evening. The well-preserved walled city with all the Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and Baroque and Rococo styles buildings are everywhere. It never failed to surprise me. We checked into Hotel Goldener Hirsch, which is a 13th-century building, right next to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the most famous hashtag tourist spot, any closer, I will be right on top of it. The city is quiet compared with my last two visits years ago. The usual tourists are missing. Wandering around the quiet cobblestone street at night, all familiar sights and fond memories came back.
We woke up before sunrise to explore the beautiful city of Rothenburg. The city was quiet. Gone were the days when every inch is packed with tourists from all over the world. The few I encountered were Germans from another city.
After breakfast, we continued our journey to Dinkelsbuhl. Dinkelsbuhl may be the most romantic stop on southern Germany’s Romantic Road, with Renaissance patrician houses encircled by Medieval walls and sky-scraping gatehouses. The 15 century gothic St. George church at the town center, famed as one of Germany’s largest “Hall Church”, is massive and beautiful.
Then it was time for lunch at the star-rated Michelin restaurant, Altdeutsches Restaurant. This Old German Restaurant is in the Hotel Deutsches Haus which was built in 1440. It is a place of enjoyment and relaxation in one of the most beautiful half-timbered buildings in Germany. We were enjoying modern Franconian cuisine at the highest level.
Allen’s enjoyment of history and culture is evident in his photos and text. He continues his adventures in Part Two and we look forward to seeing it. SGW.
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