DM and MM's Europe 2022 Diary

Day 3 - Würzburg

Sunday, 19 June, 2022

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We are in Germany, finally. Our flight landed at 07:10, over 49 hours after we left Sydney.

Descending into Frankfurt
Descending into Frankfurt

We cleared customs and exited the airport and then followed signs leading us through a rabbit warren of tunnels to the railway station. While walking across the overhead bridge to the station, we passed a COVID testing station. It was open and had no queues. They were charging for rapid antigen tests, and I think the places I’d found in Würzburg were free, but they were a way out of town and we probably would have to spend time and money catching a taxi to get to them, so getting it done right here was attractive.

An assistant at the entry told us we had to create an account online on a website to register before getting a test, so we did that on the Frankfurt Airport WiFi on my phone. Then we got tested, and they said they’d email the results in about 15 minutes.

That done, we went to the station and bought tickets to Würzburg. Our pre-bought tickets were Flexpreis tickets which allowed us to take any train on the same day, in case our arrival was delayed a few hours. We hadn’t reckoned on being delayed a whole day! So those tickets were useless. I used a ticket machine and there didn’t seem to be any way to change the ticket from the Flexpreis to the cheaper Sparpreis discount ticket that is only valid for a specific train. Oh well... we’ll be claiming this back off Lufthansa (or our travel insurance) too, so I just paid for them. I booked us seats as well, and we were given seats at opposite ends of the same carriage for some reason - I guess because the train was almost fully booked?

The train was an ICE to Munich, and when we got on there was someone sitting next to one of the seats we’d had assigned. So we asked her if she would mind moving and I showed her our booking so she could see where our other seat was. She was very happy to move for us. The train dropped us in Würzburg about two hours later. We walked the few blocks to our hotel. We checked in and made it to our room at 10:45. Door to door it was something like 56 hours from home to our hotel.

Hotel Goldenes Faß, Würzburg
Hotel Goldenes Faß, Würzburg

We asked the woman who checked us in for some dinner restaurant recommendations, and she suggest the Bürgerspital Weinstuben, just around the corner, for authentic Franconian food. We had a shower first thing and changed into fresh clothes. Then we had some time to walk around Würzburg for a little before heading off to the nursing home where Jenny lives. It’s hot here today, very hot. 37°C. And being Sunday in Germany, nothing is open except a few cafes and restaurants, which don’t seem to have discovered air conditioning.

We found a place called Cafe Schönborn, where we sat outside under a shady awning and ordered lunch. I had the “klassische” flammkuchen, which was topped with a creamy cheese, speck, and green onion. M. chose a vegetarian special from the Wochenkarte (weekly specials), which had tomatoes, olives, feta cheese, and red onion. I had a Würzburger Hofbräu beer, which is brewed locally. The flammkuche were excellent. I wonder how they make the pastry for those; it’s so thin and light.

Klassische flammkuchen
“Klassische” flammkuchen, Cafe Schönborn

After eating, we walked around the old city area a bit to see some of the sights. We also asked at the tourist information centre where we could find a pharmacy to buy some face masks. They said most of them are closed on Sunday, but they have a sheet posted on the door where you can find one open. They do a rotating roster of two pharmacies in the city open each Sunday. We found the nearest pharmacy just across the main square and photographed the roster there so I could look up the addresses and find them. One was on the street leading to the train station, so we decided to go there later, on the way to the station to find a taxi to take us to Waldbüttelbrunn.

Alte Brucke
Alte Mainbrücke, view towards Festung Marienberg

It was hot walking around, so we didn’t spend too long out, just reaching the Alte Mainbrücke with its statues of various saints before turning back and heading back to the hotel. On the way we dropped into the Bürgerspital Weinstuben to book a table for dinner at 18:30. Then we left to go see Jenny. We passed the pharmacy that was open and bought some face masks for use here in Europe, then went to the station and picked up a taxi at the taxi rank there. The driver took us to the address in Waldbüttelbrunn, but we were surprised when he didn’t have any way to take a card for payment and insisted on cash. Fortunately M. had brought some euro notes from home (I had forgotten to raid our foreign currency box), and they were just enough to cover the fare.

We went into the nursing home and a staff member named Stefanie greeted us, obviously expecting us. She said that Melanie had passed on the email message I’d sent saying that we would be delayed until the afternoon. She took us upstairs to meet Jenny; she said she’d told Jenny that visitors were coming but not who we were, so she was a bit surprised to see us. I think it took her a few moments to register who we were and switch to speaking in English. She seemed quite lucid, but very tired and after about 20 minutes of us talking with her she wanted to rest in her bed again. We called Stefanie to say Jenny was tired but if we should maybe stay longer to see if she might want to talk again later. But Jenny made it clear that she was quite exhausted and probably wouldn’t enjoy more effort of concentrating on visitors, so we though it best if we leave.

Stefanie organised a taxi to come pick us up, at the nearest ATM as we had to get some more cash out to pay for the fare back to Würzburg. It was a very hot wait, but the taxi showed up and took as back to our hotel. I told the driver we wanted to go to Hotel Goldenes Faß, on Semmelstraße. He was confused and asked for the street name again. I repeated Semmelstraße twice, and he said don’t worry and looked up the hotel on his phone. When it appeared, he said, “oh, you mean Semmelstraße!” I was thinking he pronounced it exactly the same as I did, and M. completely agreed with me and thought it was odd too.

We’d spent less time with Jenny than we’d expected, so had some time to kill before dinner. It was too hot in our un-air-conditioned hotel room, so we decided to look for a cafe to sit in and have cool drinks while I typed up this diary. We found a place, but nowhere seemed to have air conditioning, rather they were all cafes with wide open doors and sliding walls, so the inside was just as hot as outside. We had some cold drinks in one place, but gave up and headed back to the room.


There I typed up some of this diary while M. had a nap. Then it was time to go out for dinner.

The Bürgerspital Weinstuben was a nice place, and blissfully air conditioned inside. They asked us if we wanted a table out in the courtyard, where most of the diners were, but we opted for inside! We started with a “small bread basket” which had two slices each of three different types of bread, plus a spread of something like cottage cheese with chives in it. For mains, M. had the hand-made stuffed pasta with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and fried rocket leaves. I had to try the pork shoulder, which had the most amazing crackling and came with potato dumplings and sauerkraut. Being a wine tavern, we both tried glasses of wine.

Pork shoulder with potato dumplings
Pork shoulder with potato dumplings, Bürgerspital Weinstuben

The food was excellent all round. And we had a leisurely dessert too, trying the sorbet which was served drowned in sparkling wine. It was good to have some traditional German/Franconian food on our first and only night here in Würzburg.

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