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Published: October 14th 2017
From Marienberg Fortress
Guten Tag! Once again, I am blogging my way through a holiday, this time in France but I am starting with a few days in Germany. I wanted to title this blog with a pun on the name Würzburg, but the best I could come up with was “From Bad to Würzburg” but there hasn’t been any bad yet!
Getting up at 2:30am for my flight wasn’t great though, but on the plus side there were very few people at the airport so it was quick to get through check-in and immigration. The flight to Dubai was not too packed so there was a bit of room to stretch out and get some sleep. The flight from Dubai to Frankfurt was more packed, and quite warm for some reason but I managed to alternate between dozing and watching movies. The best movie I watched was Baby Driver, the rest, including Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur and Tom Cruise’s the Mummy were very forgettable, or ones I’d seen before.
We arrived in Frankfurt just after 7:30pm local time and I discovered the secret to having your bag come out straight away. I stood back, letting everyone else crowd the carousel,
reasoning that my bag is always amongst the last to come out. Nope! It was third. So that was nice.
My first night was at one of the airport hotels and I knew I could walk there, but it wasn’t clear how exactly to do so after walking out of the terminal building. I decided to bite the bullet and just get a cab, which cost me all of 7 euros. I checked in and showered, and headed down to the restaurant with the intention of having a light meal before heading to bed. Unfortunately, the restaurant was buffet only so I headed back to my room and got a sandwich via room service.
After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, I rang the company that was delivering my leased Citroen C4 and was pleased to find they would pick me up at the hotel rather than making me walk back to the airport. A pleasant chap called Michael picked me up and as we drove to his office to sign the contract, he filled me in with all the details I would need to drive in Germany.
With the contract signed and the keys
in my hand, it was time to risk life and limb driving in a foreign country once again. My plan was to head down to Würzburg for the day so I tentatively drove out of the carpark and a few turns later I was on the autobahn. It was my first time on an autobahn and I must say I was impressed. It will be great when they finish it! That’s right, about half the journey to Würzburg was roadworks, which limited the no-speed-limit fun. Surprisingly, the roadworks were more harrowing because the make-shift lanes are much tighter. So even though the speed was lower (80kph usually), I found it more nerve-wracking because I was still getting used to the dimensions of the car and being on the other side. The scenery along the way was spectacular at times, so I found myself wishing I was a passenger.
Once I arrived at Würzburg, my plan was to park the car and explore on foot. It took me some time to get used to the gps instructions so I made a few wrong turns. But eventually I found a parking spot on the street which gave me 2 hours of
free parking. By this time, it was 1pm so I figured that would be about enough.
I then set out walking along the Main river, taking photos and enjoying the lack of other tourists. I have had a sore ankle for the last few months and the cobble stones really didn’t agree with it, but once I reached the Ludwigsbrücke, the pavement was flat, modern paving and it was all good. The autumnal colours in the trees, and the Marienberg fortress provided some nice photo opportunities.
As I reached the Alte Mainbrücke, I discovered that Würzburg was not actually the tourist-free city I had thus far enjoyed. The pedestrian bridge was packed with tourists enjoying the local wines and looking over the river. My friend who recommended Würzburg to me insisted I should taste the wine but I have to admit, I did not. The reasons were two-fold. First, everyone only seemed to be drinking white wine, which I don’t really like. Secondly, it was my first day driving in Germany and I just didn’t feel it was a good day to hamper my driving skills. But I can say that everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
From the Alte Mainbrücke, I headed into the city towards the Würzburger Cathedral. This was much more touristy and commercial than my experience of Würzburg so far. I had a walk around, took some photos and had a bite to eat. Würzburg looks like a nice city and there was more to see, but my 2 hours of free parking was nearly up so I had to return to my car. I should say, the street parking here is done quite well. You have a little disc you place on your dashboard and you set it to the time you parked (to the nearest half-hour). It’s kind of an honesty system, but I’m not sure what happens if you just return to your car and reset your arrival time.
It was 3pm and I decided to drive up to the Marienberg Fortress that overlooks Würzburg. I parked the car in the carpark there and headed in for a walk around. I was feeling quite tired so I took it easy, but there were some great views of the city and I took some nice photos. There are also vineyards surrounding the fortress, which added to the pleasant atmosphere.
I left the fortress at about 5pm and began the drive to Mainz. Of course, this was peak hour and the roadworks slowed the traffic down to a crawl at times, but I did manage to get up to 150kph on the autobahn this time. It was quite surreal to be doing 150 (more than I’ve done back in Aus) and being overtaken like I was standing still! I’m quite impressed at German drivers because the differences in the speed of different vehicles was quite substantial but they all handle it fine. No one seemed to get angry at you for going slower, and their reaction times to trucks suddenly deciding they need to overtake each other (some things are universal!) was impressive. But I suppose travelling at those speeds is good for focussing the mind on the road!
I arrived at my hotel in Mainz okay and everything has been nice except for the rude waitress who told me that ordering off the menu “is not possible!” because, once again, it’s buffet only. The much-friendlier barman was able to organise me a non-buffet dinner from the menu, however, as long as I was willing to wait 30 minutes.
I started processing my photos last night, but the jetlag hit me and I was forced to go to bed. Instead, I woke up at 5:30am and have finished the first blog before breakfast. Today I will be exploring Mainz on foot.
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