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A Day At The Lake

17 Jan

After weeks of gray skies and snow, the sun is finally back. It may be a bit too early to head to the beach, but while passing through the southern Bavarian city of Prien last weekend, I did make it out the region’s largest lake – Chiemsee.

Halfway between Munich and Salzburg, this large lake lies at the foot of the Alps. On a warmer day, I would have gladly taken a dip in the crystal clear waters. However, with temperatures barely above freezing, I opted for a relaxing walk and soaked up some winter sun. The lake is officially known as the Chiemsee (“der See” is the German word for lake), but as the region’s largest lake, it is also sometimes called the “Bavarian Sea.”

As always, here are a few pictures to boost your imagination!



Making The Most Of A Day In Würzburg

2 Nov

The “Bavarian” city of Würzburg is truly unique.  It is the Franconian wine capital, and boasts three of Germany’s largest wineries. Würzburg is also home to some of Germany’s most beautiful examples of baroque architecture.  It is definitely worth a day (or more) of your time for a visit if you are passing through!

Traveling through Franconia on a Bavaria Ticket…

Although Franconia (“Franken” in German) is technically part of Bavaria, I learned early on that it has an identity all its own.  Our tour guide at the Residence Palace in Würzburg jokingly made the point that one should never call a resident of Würzburg a Bavarian…and a quick glance at the local history tells us why this region is so proud of its heritage.

Würzburg recently celebrated its 1,300th anniversary.  Founded as early as 650 as a Franconian Duchy, the city was not annexed to Bavaria until 1814.   Historically, Franconia was a region that stretched from modern-day northern Bavaria into the surrounding regions of Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia.   It has its own dialect, history, and tasty specialties.





Must See Sights

There is enough to do and see in Würzburg to justify an overnight stay.  However, when limited on time, I would suggest visiting three main sites: The Residence Palace, the “Marienberg” Fortress, and the “Alte Mainbrücke,” a historic bridge crossing over the Main river.  If you start with the Prince Bishop’s Palace, or “The Residence”, you can catch an English language tour at 11am.  After lunch, you will have plenty of time to make your way up to the Marienberg Fortress.  Make sure to wear comfortable shoes.  There is a wonderful view of the city from the top, but it takes a long walk uphill to get there!   The bridge lies in between the two, and you can conveniently cross over it on your way from one side of the Main River to the other.

The city’s website is available in English and offers a slightly longer list of “must see” sites as well as “extras”.  Click here to check it out if you are interested: Würzburg Website.

Taking Time Out To Relax

Although I wanted to see some of the main sites, I also went to Würzburg to relax with friends.  The city has great ambiance and cozy restaurants where you and your friends can enjoy some good food and good wine.  A perfect place to have an apératif is called the “Alte Mainmühle.”  It is right on the “Alte Mainbrücke” bridge, and you can enjoy a drink on the terrace if the weather is nice or have Franconian  specialties for lunch of dinner inside.  In the evening, when it is busy, they set out extra tables on the bridge and people relax outside sipping a glass of Franken wine or a refreshing “weinschorle.”  Just be sure to reserve if you want to have dinner to be sure you get a seat.


View of the Residence Palace, built in the 18th century by the ruling Prince Bishops. Today it is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a beautiful example of baroque architecture.

View from the Marienberg Fortress of the Käppele pilgrimage church.

The Main River