We’ve been battling strong headwinds since leaving Schweinfurt. It’s generally calm in the morning, and picks up as the day progresses. There was one point where it practically knocked us over! Before starting this route, we read somewhere that people in the know ride it west to east, due to the prevailing winds. Perhaps we should have heeded that guidance.
The last couple days of cycling have been beautiful. The landscape is lush, with wildflowers, farms, and vineyards, sometimes as far as the eye can see. This is Franken Wine country. The wines here are highly regarded and said to have the most complex flavors of any of the German wines. Interestingly, they are rarely exported out of the country, and generally don’t make it out of the region.
Würzburg was fun. We met up with our friend, Glenda, who was half of our house sitting team last year while we were cycling in Holland. The city was hopping: It was a lovely, sunny day, Würzburg’s soccer team had just advanced to the next division (a cause for much celebration and drunkenness), and there was a large wine and food event in the marktplatz. We kicked around, wandering through alleys, squares and cathedrals … and ate and drank with the throngs at the festival. Not surprisingly, we were kept up most of the night listening to the revelers.
Rain was forecast for Monday morning. I hate riding in the rain. In fact, I have an irrational fear of it. We decided to check out late, and let it pass before heading on. The rain was uncooperative, stalling until we were ready to leave. We set out in light rain, only to discover 10 minutes into the ride, that we still had the hotel key. So we turned around, and wound up checking right back into the same hotel! Good call; it rained off and on until 5 in the evening. I would have been one cranky Lissa.
Würzburg is a fine place to be on a rainy day. We did the tourist thing, and were overwhelmed by the beauty and grandeur of the Residence Palace, another UNESCO World Heritage site. (No photography allowed) What really floored us were the photographs at the end of the tour, showing the palace, and the city of Würzburg in 1945, after it was bombed by the British. The city was destroyed. It’s hard to believe that Würzburg was able to restore so much of its old grandeur. The beautiful cathedrals we had seen had all been restored — beautifully done with a mix of old and new. Needless to say, there wasn’t an original stained glass window to be found in any of them.
This is our second time cycling in Germany; the first was 18 years ago. Back then, I would often walk through old graveyards. I saw generations of men lost in the two world wars … father, son, grandfather … faded pictures of boy soldiers in uniform. It was heart breaking. On this trip, I’ve walked through a number of cemeteries, and have been surprised to see mostly modern graves, with few remnants of the world wars. Then I learned why. In Germany, grave sites are leased, and re-used if no one is willing or available to renew the lease when it expires. I even saw a crew of men, with jackhammers, removing a tomb stone of a couple. He died in 1944, she in the 70’s. A view of history lost forever.
After two days in the city we’re ready for small towns, picnic lunches and quiet riverside pedaling. Onward to Lohr Am Main.