Makes Franken Sense to Go
Start with a storybook landscape on the famed Romantic Road. Make wine. Add 25,000 students. Welcome to Würzburg, Germany, where cars have no speed limit and trains run at 120 mph.
Würzburg is the old capital of "Franken" and the region's center of wine production. Though much of the wine is unknown outside of Germany (ever hear of a Silvaners?), the most famous is the sweet Riesling. You'll find students from the University of Würzburg toasting the end of exams with a glass. The school is known for its scientific achievements and was the educational home to Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, winner of the first Nobel Prize in Physics thanks to a little invention known as the x-ray.
World War II bombed Würzburg for just 20 minutes. Nearly 90 percent of the city was destroyed including its classic Baroque architecture. The Würzburg Residenz, the former palace of the prince-bishops is one of the most renowned Baroque castles in Europe, and is still undergoing restoration. Built between 1720 and 1744, the interior furnishings were almost completely preserved, and you can now tour the palace and its extensive gardens for a glimpse into Würzburg's opulent past.
Before there was a Residenz, the prince-bishops lived in the Marienberg complex. Set atop a hill with views of the surrounding vineyards, the fortress dates to 1201. Within its medieval walls you'll find St. Mary's church from 706. Take a tour and learn about the 1,000 year old history that begins with the Merovingians – a dynasty that ruled the Franks and we're known for their strangely long hair.
Let's pretend for a moment, that this hirsute hegemony was actually the world's first head-bangers, jamming away to the music of the time. Perhaps they've paved the way for the lively nightlife that you'll find in Würzburg. Hotspots include Airport, a nightclub featuring five, dance floor "terminals" and Das Boot on the Main River. This is a university city, and those crazy kinder need to blow off steam.
This is a region of rivers – with a German Rail Pass, you'll find included are boat trips down the Rhine and Moselle.. The road to Würzburg isn't the only way to get "Romantic." Prefer to bike? The entire Franconian wine country has a well-developed system of bicycle trails. Ride past wineries and quaint Bavarian towns.
Of course, you could also see this outside your train window. But you won't just pass fairy-tale towns. Keep going and get there fast. Munich is just about two hours away by the high-speed ICE train. One hour away is Nuremberg. Known for its trials, is actually the gingerbread capital of the world.
Germany has a history that seems anything but sweet. But come for a taste in Würzburg – where the Riesling tickles your palate and the people dance to their future.
Contributed by: Klaus, a project manager from our Information Technology team, who enjoys traveling on high-speed trains like the ICE.