Another free weekend in Bavaria means another excursion, and this time, I made it a whole weekend. A friend of a friend was offering a free room 20km outside of Würzburg, so off we set on a 3 hour bus north.
It wouldn’t really be a trip if there wasn’t some kind of confusion, so inevitably, within seconds of beginning, I found out I’d booked a different bus. In my defence, what bus company has two buses going to the same place, on the same route, leaving at the same time? Come on FlixBus.
Reunited with my friend in Würzburg Hauptbahnhof, we set off in the direction of the centre, judging from the elegant spires emerging from the low city skyline. Every street we glanced down looked gorgeous, with pastel coloured buildings breaking up the traditional German red bricks, and every now and then the grape vines lining the surrounding hills emerged, reminding visitors of Würzburg’s status as the City of Wine.
The most spectacular view was discovered on the bank of the River Main; at first distracted by the medieval crane leftover from shipping days, I turned to see the Festung Marienberg perched on the crest of the hill amongst the rows of autumnal brown vines. A quaint stone bridge marked the route to the castle, but we turned away for today, deciding to explore more of the Zentrum.
It was lucky that we did as well, because it meant that we discovered easily my favourite part of the town: the Hofgarten. Black wrought-iron gates gave a glimpse of wild brambles and trees that seen gave way to organised lawns and beautifully trimmed trees.
Upon closer inspection, every tree had a unique sculpture shaded underneath, classical figures wrapped around the trunks in various states of pleasure and leisure.
Walking further into the garden revealed spectacular views of the Residenz itself, and small patches of vines, once again paying homage to the city’s ancient industry.
The front of the garden was also centre around a fountain, and stone steps guarded by more stunningly well-preserved statues swept around to offer a bird’s eye view of the picturesque natural retreat in the middle of the city.
The peaceful atmosphere and natural comfort almost enticed me to spend the whole afternoon there, but the crisp cold biting at my fingertips and the promise of hot coffee eventually dragged me away.
After meeting with the generous woman offering us a room, a 20-minute drive through the scenic countryside took us across the border of Bavaria, and into rural Baden-Württemberg, to the small town of Wittighausen. Our evening was filled with local food and drink from our hosts, before heading back into the city to discover the other side of Würzburg: the night-life.
Bar-hopping down the street eventually led us to Bombe, an underground club with white-wash stone ceilings and walls reminiscent of traditional Bavarian Bierkellers. The strobe lights and 90’s pop detracted from this authentic feel somewhat, but who wants authentic when you’re dancing to a bass-remix of Wonderwall?
The next day started with a welcome lie-in, but we were back in the city by 12, to meet a friend of mine from England, who I hadn’t even know was spending her year abroad in Würzburg until the day before.
It might still be only November, but the first signs of Christmas were already peeking out in the most German way: Christmas markets. Though they were small, the stalls filling every square and corner made me feel festive in the best way, the scent of gingerbread and cinnamon wafting through the air and wicker reindeers peering out from underneath tinsel-covered roofs.
The three of us headed away from the festive centre and across the bridge we had spotted yesterday, strolled past the church-goers enjoying a post-mass drink on the bridge, and started the 30-minute climb up the hill to the Festung itself.
At every point, the views just kept getting better, and the final summit didn’t disappoint. The grey sky of Saturday had given way to a gorgeous blue, the kind of blue that only comes from a snappingly cold day that made me glad it was enough of a walk to get some warmth into my feet.
The sky opened up around us to prove nature’s greatest wintry backdrop, and once again, it was only November’s bite that pushed us back down the hill into the city to recuperate before our journey back to Munich.