Yesterday I traveled to Würzburg from Kaiserslautern, the city I dwell in right now. Würzburg is one of the touristy cities reachable for free from K-town, if you have the VRN Semesterticket. Thank God (or not?) I still have one.
As a matter of fact, I didn’t really have much intention to travel there yesterday. The weather forecast has said their part – it’s going to rain all day long, and there was even an exclamation mark on the web page, indicating an “Unwetterwarnung” in German, meaning more or less “thunder storm alert”. I did not really want to go, but since the majority of the pack (what are we – animals?) have agreed to go venturing out, I just tag along (well actually I did most of the research – being the tour guide and all. How ungrateful of them.)
Würzburg is a city in the west of Bavaria, one of the regions in Germany. It was one of the oldest cities here and it was heavily bombed in March 1945, just a few months before the WWII ended. However, there are still some remarkable historic sites worth visiting, although some of them were reconstructed. After some research in TripAdvisor and Google, I was only interested in going to two places: Würzburg Residenz and Festung Marienberg (aka Marienburg Fortress). Unfortunately, the fortress is only open from March to October (plan your journey ahead, people!). Yet all the comments in TripAdvisor said that there’s an incredible view of the city from outside of the fortress, and there’s going to be a castle tour. I did not know how a castle tour could exist when the fortress itself is not open, but hey, let’s give it a try. The fortress itself, being one, is located on a hill, which supposedly takes 20 minute to walk there.
Hence the state was: it’s going to rain the entire day, the fortress is closed, and we have to hike in the rain for 40 minutes. Perfect.
We only had around seven hours to spend in the city. The trip from K-town to Würzburg is around 4 hours one way. It’s still winter, so we didn’t want to go too early in the dark (i.e. 5 in the morning), hence we only have time from around 11:30 to 18:30. K-town is in the Rheinland-Pfalz region, which is one of the most west of Germany, and Würzburg is in Bavaria, that is the most east of Germany. So you can imagine the 4 hours long spent to travel from the west to the east (and then gain the knowledge from the Chinese – wait, what?)
In Würzburg there is no Gruppen-Tageskarte (day ticket for group) offered, so the only option is Tageskarte Solo (day ticket for a person) that costs 4.90 euro. Actually, the POIs are not too far from the main station, but given the time constraint, the rain, and the need to pray in a proper place, I decided that it is important. On another sunny day in summer or spring, I would be more than happy to walk, but just not yesterday.
So there we arrived in Würzburg – it was cold and constantly raining. The places we passed by train were even snowing. It was just crazy! First we had lunch in Istanbul Kebab, in Kaiserstrasse, that was just a straight walk from the main station. It was recommended by a friend of a friend, and when I checked in in Swarm/Foursquare (yes, I still do, I want the stickers!), a person said it was the best kebab in town. The bread looks fresh because it was handmade, but the doner box that I ordered is a little bit too pricey for me. FYI, a doner box consists of french fries, doner meat, and sometimes with salad. From there, we went straight to The Residenz!
That afternoon was drizzling, but we managed to take some group photos. Shame on me, I didn’t take any pic of The Residenz with my camera because it was freezing cold. We paid 6.5 euro each because we’re students, but the normal price is only a euro more expensive. We joined a tour in English – which is a must, I must say! The tour guide (who shares the same name with me – Jasmine ;P) was friendly and lively. I’ve been to similar castles and I had their audio guides while I was there, but indeed, listening to an actual person speaking is much more entertaining and informative than listening to an audio guide. By joining the tour, we obtained access to some areas that inaccessible if we’re going on our own. The English tour lasts approximately 45 minutes, and we can explore the rest of the castle on our own. We also went to the garden, but since it was winter, most of the plants were branches and trunks. Much unattractive, so lame, but I bet it’s pretty in the spring and summer!
After finishing a photo session (again), we went to a masjid to pray. The problem with finding masjids is that they are usually located far outside the city center, but I found some still near the center. We went to the one in Erthalstr 1 (mainly because the map I used explicitly said it’s a Deutsch-Islamisches Kulturzentrum). There were a building right on the side of the street, but the actual masjid is the building behind it. It was small compared to the one we found in Strasbourg, but it is clean and tidy.
It’s almost 17 by the time we finished praying, and our train would leave in half an hour. We canceled the trip to Marienburg Fortress, but instead went to Alte Mainbrücke (old main bridge) and again, a photo session. From the bridge, we can spot the fortress. It is similar to the Alte Brücke in Heidelberg, where you can see the castle up on the hill. A friend who had been to Prague also said that it’s a similar view as the Charles Bridge there.
Well, that was pretty much all about Würzburg we saw yesterday. I missed a couple of interesting stories – I’d rather share them in person. I would definitely visit Würzburg again in spring or summer if I have time! Even though it’s raining cats and dogs, the trip wasn’t dull at all thanks to the companions. It’s true what they say – perfect company is better than a perfect destination 😉