Great Rivers of Europe Cruise
Wurzburg - Wertheim - Heildelberg
Days 11 - 13
7 - 9 May 2002
Revised 02 September 2002,
Photos & Text © 2002 by Len Schwer
Day 11: Wurzburg (7 May 2002)
This was our earliest start yet. Awoke at 5 AM to prepare for a 6:30 AM
breakfast call and then the bus boarding at 8:15 AM for the city tour of Wurzburg.
We disembarked in a small town before reaching Wurzburg. The plan was to have the
ship continue on and meet us in Wurzburg after our morning touring. It was foggy and
a bit cold in the morning, with a temperature of about 50 degrees.
But by about 11 AM the sun had warmed things up considerably with temperatures in
the low-to-mid 70's.
Our fist stop was a wine tasting at the Juliusspital, a hospital funded in part
by the donation of several vineyards and the associated making and selling of wine.
Wurzburg is renown for its white wines. Although 9:30 AM is a bit early for wine
tasting, it was a pleasant experience in the underground wine cellars and there
was a very nice rye bread served with the wine for cleansing the palate.
Next we toured the Residenz, a very beautiful palace. Our local guide was born and
raised in Liverpool and moved to Germany after marrying a German citizen. She did a
very nice job of explaining the restored rooms we visited. The most spectacular room
was the mirrored room "Mirror Cabinet". The room originally took 7 years to construct,
and later 9 years to reconstruct. The palace was heavily damaged during the war, but
many of the treasures were preserved by storing them in wine caves and caverns. The
gardens are also
very beautiful with conical shaped trees surrounding a fountain with
lovely flowers boarding the formal garden.
Our buses were supposed to return us to the ship for lunch, but the ship was delayed
as the river winds a lot near Wurzburg, and there are many locks. The Main River gets
its name from the Roman word for snake, which describes the river's course near Wurzburg.
Because the ship was delayed, it was decided we should have the buses drive us to a
nearby lock and wait for the ship to pick us up. It was a bit if an adventure as the
bus driver was not positive of where the lock access road was. We had one false start
as we spotted the ship before it entered the lock, but the captain wanted us to board
after the ship passed thru the lock. The buses found a turn around and then located the
access road after the lock. The crew lowered the walk way onto the bank as we watched
from shore, a view not often seen by the passengers. We re-boarded the ship and settled
into the dinning room as the ship continued on to our overnight docking place in
After lunch we had free time to explore Wurzburg. Our first stop was an internet cafe.
The quality of the internet here was very good as Wurzburg is also a fairly large
While Ms Becky and her mother went off shopping, I explored St Kilian's Church which
is a bit unique as it has a very large Menorah just inside the entry way. It also has
very beautiful modern strained glass windows installed in 1966.
Day 12: Wurzburg (8 May 2002)
This was a very low key day. We sailed half of the night and a good part
of the day. Our port of call was Wertheim, a rather small town that marked our
departure from Bavaria.
We arrived in Wertheim at about 2:30 PM and had a brief walking tour of the city;
it only takes about 10 minutes to walk around the entire shopping district.
The highlight of the tour was a stop for a glass blowing demonstration. The fellow
giving the demonstration was a
great low key salesman, and quite a showman. His English
was quite good and he had a few humorous lines. He and his son run the business;
his son gives the second demonstration to split large groups. They offered free soft
drinks and provided a PC for internet connections. I chatted with the son for awhile
about computers and then listened in as he talked with another tour member about
October Fest activities in Germany, and his visits to America.
Day 13: Heidelberg (9 May 2002)
This was another early day with breakfast starting at 6:30 AM and boarding
of the buses at 8 AM for our tour of Heidelberg.
The bus ride to Heidelberg took about 1.5 hours. I always enjoy driving thru the
countryside, via either bus or train, as you get a much better feel for the country
and the way people live, than if you visit only the large cities.
I had been to Heidelberg before, on my first visit to Europe in 1989(?) when I
attended a conference at a military facility in nearby Mannheim.
Heidelberg is a very lovely city as they work at maintaining their old city charm and
the center piece castle. The presence of the University of Heidelberg provides an
injection of youth that gives the city both variety and a high energy level.
The city tour covered the old part of the city and several of its squares and churches;
because it was a religious holiday, Ascension Day, we did not visit the churches where
services were in progress.
We visited the student activities room in the university. This
room is used for special
functions such as promotions of professors and bestowing honors on students.
The castle visit was as boring as I recalled from my last visit. The vista over the
city is worth the effort to get up to the castle, especially if you ride a tour bus
and don't have to walk up the hill. We had a nice lunch in the restaurant behind the
castle, it that was a type of stuffed noodle. We walked around the gardens that surround
the castle. The gardens are more an arboretum and include trees from many areas, even
After the castle tour we headed for our buses and another 1.5 hour ride to meet the boat
which was waiting near Frankfurt.
The weather had warmed considerably with temperatures in the upper 70's or perhaps the
lower 80's. The weather was so pleasant, after dinner we took a short walk thru part of
the old city in Frankfurt to look at all the people, mostly quite young, crowded in the
cafes that lined squares, and strolling along the river edge.
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Photos & Text © 2002 by Len Schwer