Wurzburg Palace and Gardens. January 2019.
Two friends and I really needed to hit an athletics store that would sell swimsuits year round (because of course we did) and, since the closest store is about an hour away, we decided to throw a little extra fun into the trip. This felt especially urgent to one of the companions who simply couldn’t understand how neither of us had ever visited this cute little stop in Germany. She had no choice but to correct this problem and I love that she did!
We didn’t have much time out because of school timing, but we decided that we could very easily accomplish The Wurzburg Palace to help make the trip worthwhile. And the palace was so worth it.
Parking at the palace is a little weird but the rates are really good. The weird part about the parking lot is that while it is within a city and therefore meant to house a lot of cars, it’s also a huge part of the square in front of the palace gates which has a statue at the top with no directional lines of how to drive through the square or really where to park. it was the weirdest thing having to avoid pedestrians and drive through the open center when the closest side was full.
If you are an English speaker, especially if you have a sense of humor, take the tour even if you have to wait a little while. In that time, you can wander around the gardens or the palace itself – you don’t need to do the tour in order to see the whole palace but it helps to get all the fun information.
We all loved our guide. He was very sassy and made a lot of jokes at every countries expense – there were a whole lot of American jokes to be made thanks to the world fresco – but he was very tactful and read our group well enough to hit all the right notes. It can be difficult to do so I was impressed. He also wasn’t shy about sharing his knowledge beyond what was in the palace; our guide thought it was hilarious that he traveled all the way New York only to discover pieces from “his palace” sitting in the exhibits of the MET!
The art featured and that makes up this palace is magnificent. The stucco work is world class and I implore you to listen to everything your guide has to say about the White Room – I liked our guide’s suggestion that if you wanted to sit in that room for longer with kids, you should have them play Count the Dragons. There are so many interwoven all in beautiful white stucco and I could cry thinking about how the whole room was done by hand, each section had to be done very precisely but quickly to not let the stucco dry before you were done shaping the pieces.
The frescos are also amazing but you have to pay attention to all the details. Spoilers: skip to the next photograph if you don’t want to know: the ostrich, in particular, in the Americas’ fresco above the stairs is the scariest thing I have ever seen. The animals can be scary enough when angry so I would hate to see what they could do with the legs they have in the painting!
Every room and piece of art have so many tiny details from painting appearing to jump out of the frames and others that actually do. But there are also details like fabric drapings that aren’t even fabric! These designers and artisans were brilliant. As someone who has studied art, I was blown away completely.
The funniest pieces for our group to discuss were probably the chandeliers. You aren’t likely to see chandeliers like this in any period film – generally, you see gold and some glass but nothing like in Wurzburg. If you wanted to show your wealth in this time, you bought Venetian glass and for a little extra, colored glass that was blown and shaped. These were definitely of the time and we delighted ourselves debating which were the ugliest (by today’s standards of course) and which ones we thought would cost more – we were always very wrong.
Plus there’s a pretty cool fact: these chandeliers were moved across Germany in butter! Yes, butter from the kitchen because soft enough not to break the Venetian glass but sturdy enough that it can handle shaking when being transported across country roads without modern shock absorbers.
The end of the official tour isn’t the end of what you can see in the palace so don’t run off just because the guide leaves you! You can still walk through the women’s quarters and you absolutely should. When entering this wing, you should ask about the differences time has made on the wallpaper of the first room and the techniques they used. It is already beautiful aged but it would have been striking in its day – it was all of our favorite room.
There is also an art gallery which is included in the ticket price. it’s all pretty normal fare but I laughed at how many pieces I recognize.
This was right at the beginning of the new year, so we took a quick walk around the gardens which are free to see but I can only imagine how beautiful they would be now that it is Spring or later in the summer and the foliage fills out.
After the palace, we ended up finding an amazing vegan and vegetarian restaurant, Burgerheart Wurzburg (one of my companions is vegetarian so we were loooking for interesting food that she could have too) to grab a bite at and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Every this was amazing but definitely ask which burgers are made in house – there is at least one that isn’t and if you are hitting a trendy vegan place, why’d you want to buy something that was frozen and shipped?
Then we were off on our shopping trip.
If I had been able to spend the whole day, I would have loved to climb up to the fortress. Apparently, this is a fairly quick hike but it is cool and has great views.
Who knows, now that the garden should be in bloom and Ryan is getting more used to traveling with me, we can hit the palace again and add in the fortress. I will never knock second visits to truly magnificent places!
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.