The ship docked in Würzburg, on the Main River, early on Good Friday. We had just over an hour available to go for a walk before our bus left for Rothenburg, so we took the opportunity.

On the hills across the river the view is dominated by an old church, where you must climb 256 steps to reach it, and the Bishop’s Residence. We walked along the river to the old stone bridge with statues, presumably saints, that was very reminiscent of Charles Bridge in Prague, particularly with the view of the grand hilltop residence in the backdrop.

We didn’t really have time to see much of the town, particularly after stopping for an ice cream, but I did quickly take a peek inside St Kilian’s church. Würzburg was the home of many of Germany’s once very powerful prince-bishops, and many of them are buried in this Romanesque church, which dates back to the 11th century. I was very surprised to find a Jewish menorah directly inside the entrance. Apparently it was placed there to acknowledge Christianity’s roots in Judaism.

Walking back to the ship, we came across another, this time much sadder, reference to Judaism in Würzburg. Four small brass plaques in the pavement of the main shopping street listed the names, deportation dates and execution dates of Würzburg citizens who lost their lives in the Holocaust. It was a sobering reminder that this very beautiful country has a much, much darker past.

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