Our cruise director keeps telling us how lucky we have been on this trip. There was a section of the Danube that was impassable last week forcing the cruise lines to book passengers in a hotel. We had enough rain before we reached that stretch that we had no problem getting through. We heard last night that the Danube is falling again and most likely will be impassable again next week. The best part is that despite high odds of rain several days, we never had any rain during any of our excursions. This morning in Wurzburg was fine, but when we headed out on our own after lunch, we started to hear thunder part way to our destination. We decided to head back to the ship and reached it just a minute before the rain hit.
Our morning tour was the Wurzburg Residence, the former residence of the Wurzburg prince-bishops and one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe. The shell of the palace was built from 1720 to 1744 and the interior finished in 1780.
The Franconia Fountain in front of the residence hall.
The main entrance. The exterior of the building was large but not spectacular. The interior of the building was spectacular, but pictures were not permitted. I took the following four pictures of the interior off the internet.
The entry stairs.
A part of the 60 ft. by 100 ft. fresco painted by the Venetian Giovanni Tiepolo. It is one of the largest frescos ever created. The ceiling it is painted on is an unsupported vault. The vault did not fail when the building above collapsed on it during the bombing in the war, so there are five rooms with their original plaster work and decorations.
Most of the rooms had chandeliers that were made in Vienna. To ship them to Wurzburg without breaking, they were placed in a barrel of melted fat which was allowed to congeal. When they reached the Residence, they just had to melt the fat and clean the chandeliers.
The room called the Mirror Cabinet was perhaps the most amazing. The original room was completely destroyed in bombing raids in 1945. The room was recreated between 1979 and 1987 based on a preserved mirror fragment, numerous photographs, and a water color painting. Here is a description of the technique I found on the internet: The walls of the Würzburg Mirror Cabinet, consisted entirely of glass panels, which were prepared on the back using a special technique: either paintings were produced on the partially recessed mirror ground, or drawings were engraved into a gold ground that was applied on the back of the mirror and then underlaid with dark gloss paint. By this means, instead of displaying Oriental porcelain figures in front of the mirrors as was customary, a rich array of exotic figures and scenes could be incorporated directly into the mirrors.
At the conclusion of the tour, we had a wine tasting in the cellar of the Residence building where the wine is also produced.
Most of the barrels in the cellar had elaborately carved lids.
We also walked through the gardens. I liked the topiary tree in a pot.
The rear of the Wurzburg Residence. The gardens would have benefitted from a sprinkler system. The plants were being hand watered and the grass was brown.
The garden path.
Looking toward town from the Residence, there were a variety of steeples to be seen.
The fortress above the river was our destination when it started to thunder. Grape vines are being grown in front of the fortress and on many of the hills around town.
Wurzburg has an old stone bridge also. There is a bar at one end and it is traditional to have a glass of wine or beer on the bridge.
The stone bridge is a pedestrian bridge with a nice view of the fortress. It hadn’t started to thunder yet, but the clouds were gathering. Fortunately, the thunder started before we headed up the hill.