Biffing about Erlangen and Wuerzburg

August 11, 2009

I will have to post briefly if I’m to get any sleep after staying up late reading The Name of the Wind. (It’s good so far. A lot of classic fantasy elements, but quite well done. One of the most interesting things, however, is how Judeo-Christian the religious history is.)

Yesterday was Linda’s birthday, and we had a late breakfast of bread, jam, cheese, and coffee at the Jaeschke house. A contingency of Armstrong boys walked to the Plus supermarket in Erlangen to pick up food for Jon and Linda’s dinner. Prices were in euros and weight in kilos, and I had no idea how much the lemons or chicken or strawberries cost. We saw Jon  and Linda off when we got back to the Jaeschkes; they’re honeymooning in Switzerland.

Mr. Jaeschke gave us a tour of Erlangen in the afternoon. Erlangen is a university town small enough to feel comfortable to my suburbia self and compact enough to feel like a city. Most people got about by bike or on foot, and a lot of the streets were cobblestone. The original town was planned in baroque style with a small castle, and we toured the gardens behind the castle, the square in front, the churches nearby. (The Reformed [Presbyterian] church had a raised pulpit that you had to climb stairs to get in to, and it reminded me of the ship-haul pulpit in Moby-Dick with the rope ladder.) Most of the buildings were only two or three stories tall, giving Erlangen an open feeling, and the buildings were old and well-worn. Mr. Jaeschke casually pointed out a door to an apothecary shop that was older than the USA.

We ate dinner at the Jaeschkes; leftover beef burgandy from the wedding. I realized that Mrs. Jaeschke has a classic and fantastic Irish accent when speaking English. Also, I found their family dynamic very familiar and entertaining. My personal favorite was watching Johannes, the oldest son, at dinner. He fidgeted and looked as if he had heard Mr. Jaeschke’s conservative rant on the European Union a couple thousand times, and when Johannes tried to mention the good things about the EU, his mother quickly contradicted him.

Today we met with the Jaeschke parents and Johannes and his wife, Susanna, at Wuerzburg to tour the Wuerzburg Residenz (manse of the prince bishop). It was one of the most gorgeous houses I’ve ever seen. Note the following pictures, but I couldn’t take pictures inside the manse or in the chapel. You may also want to check out the virtual tour here.

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The fountain and side of the front facade. The manse was constructed in a generation’s time and has a uniform baroque style.

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A shot of the back facade from the garden.

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Note the sneaky statue under the pyramidal tree.

After a sleepy afternoon and dinner, all of us went walking to the neighboring village of Ottenhofen (about 0.8 miles away from Marktbergel). The village houses all have fenced-in courtyards with dusty tables and tractors and dogs and stucco walls with roses and pear trees climbing up them. The cemetery was gorgeous too, with plots of planted flowers before square slabs or polished wooden crosses. A row of community watering can stood by one of the doorways into the cemetery, and apparently the villagers water the flowers for their own family graves.

And now I’m uber tired, but I wanted to mention that there was a WWII exhibit in the Wuerzburg Residenz that Mr. Jaeschke walked us through. Really odd to see models of bombed out Wuerzburg and get a guided tour by a man who remembers digging through the rubble of Nuremburg and tasting his first chocolate from an American soldier during reconstruction.

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2 Responses to “Biffing about Erlangen and Wuerzburg”

  1. Jane said

    Joel, your tour-guiding and pictures=the best. Thanks for all the deets!

  2. Kathi said

    I also like being able to take a virtual tour of the Wurzberg Residenz since we couldn’t take picture. Very clever. Can you teach me how to add such to blogs when you get home?

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