Germany & France with Gisela (part 2)
As we reached the end of October, we were still blessed with beautiful fall weather and spent a few days in Würzburg. This city is located at the northern tip of the Romantic Road and is famous for the Würzburg Residence with its Court Gardens (now a Unesco World Heritage Site).
The 180-metre long bridge over the river Main (Mainbrücke) is lined with statues of emperors and saints. This bridge is where many people meet in the evening to drink the famous Franconian wine from this region. There is a bar at the entrance to the bridge where you pay a refundable Euro 5.00 for the glass and choose the wine you would like. This way you can get a refill as often as you like - but you need to pay for it. We enjoyed the company of many local people on this bridge, but we also enjoyed walking the city and enjoying their local cuisine.
From here our next stop was Strasbourg, situated in the northeastern part of France. Being in Europe, it is easy to travel from one country to another and our Canadian vaccination certificate was readily accepted. We were warned that we needed to download an App which the French Government required – however it turned out not to be the case. I would advise to frequently check each country’s requirements as they change often.
We fell in love with Strasbourg as the history here is of a unique Alsatian culture with both German and French influences. We found a beautiful Hotel (Maison Rouge) located in the old historic part of the city. What we did not know is that there is no parking, and it took us a while to finally find a way to get to our hotel which only had 6 parking spots. So we ended up with expensive parking for the first night (EUR40.00) and moved the car the next day to a public parking spot.
We were too early to experience the amazing Christmas markets as Strasbourg, Europe’s oldest, has existed since 1570. But it was heavenly to simply walk the medieval quarters and see the timber-framed buildings that have stood for centuries. In the centre of the old part is the incredible sandstone cathedral with part of the structure dating back to the 12th century.
I could always talk about the incredible food we experienced wherever we went, but here it was especially delicious. Bakeries where you could still buy a few slices of bread, the pate store for your local foie gras and other delicious sausages and then the cheese stores where you could buy whatever slice or portion of the big wheel. This all made for a great picnic and the weather was still good enough to eat outside. And I should not forget to mention the Alsace wines - all of this was truly enjoyable.
I will not make my story too long but we loved everything we saw in France. After another visit to Colmar, we drove the 170 km long wine route in Alsace and continued on to Tours (longest drive approx. for us 650km). From Tours, we started our journey through the Loire Valley to visit the incredible Chateaux of this region. Out of 700 Chateaux, we visited seven of them, as two Chateaux a day is all we could manage.
I have always wanted to visit this region and was pretty overwhelmed by the history and beauty of these magnificent buildings. The Chateaux we visited were Villandry, Chateau Cheverny, Chateau of Chambord, Château de Chenonceau, Chateau Royal Amboise, Château D’Azay-Le-Rideau, and finally Chateau du Clos Luce - where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked for his last few years before dying in France. He had brought the unfinished picture of the Mona Lisa from Italy to France and finished the painting here. That explains why the painting is in the Louvre and not in Italy.
We eventually made our trip back to Bavaria where we visited with family and spent one last relaxing week at a 19thcentury monastery where we enjoyed some spa treatment.
Now we are home happy and healthy, with a negative PCR test and using our ArriveCan App to get through customs.
Anyone seeking more information on any part of our journey is free to contact me anytime, and I’ll be happy to share more details of our experience with you - Giselam@forbes-travel.com