During the night, we sailed past Frankfurt. Bill and I just happened to wake up to see that we were cruising through some industrial areas, and then some HUGE buildings came into view. It looked very interesting and modern, but our boat did not stop. At the time, of course, we had no idea which city we had just passed, but we looked at a map later.
Today we had another sailing morning, but we did have a wonderful concert to fill up some of the time. This was an “exclusive Zither recital” by internationally renowned Zitherist Tomy Temerson! Tomy has been playing the zither for about 30 years, and I’m quite sure he said that he was only one of 3 or 4 people in Germany who plays the zither professionally. He told us all about the zither and how many strings it has (42), and that he has to tune every string before he plays it. He played 15 different songs for us, many which we recognized, like “Lara’s Theme,” “Jealousy,” and “Edelweiss.”
Here is Tomy on You Tube playing the “Harry Lime Theme,” which is one of the songs he played for us on the ship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joi01LI3FZE
Our ship, the Avalon Vista, arrived at about 1:00 p.m. at Miltenberg and we were allowed to go ashore at 1:30. There was a walking tour scheduled, but Bill and I were some of the first on shore, and we decided not to wait around. It was a gorgeous sunny day, with no fog at all. So we started walking.
The construction of the Mildenburg Castle, which overlooks the town of Miltenberg, was begun around 1200 AD. According to our ship newsletter, the “first mention of Miltenberg” was in 1237. 1379 brought the first mention of the Rathaus (Old City Hall) and the construction of the Würzburg Gate (Würzburger Tor) on the East end and the Mainz Gate (Mainzer Tor) on the western end of the town. Miltenberg sits in the district of Lower Franconia in Bavaria, Germany. This town is a “major center for the trading of wine and red sandstone,” which is “notable for its radiant coloration” and used in the construction of many buildings here and in other towns along the Main River, according to my Avalon Guide Book.
On this day, Bill and I made our way from the ship southeast up to the entryway of the Hauptstrasse, beside the Würzburg Gate.
Miltenberg had many beautiful half-timbered buildings; lots of interesting shops, such as the Bäckerei Hench Conditorei (bakery) which, unfortunately, was not yet open for the day; the Gasthaus zum Riesen, which is said to be Germany’s oldest inn (perhaps as old as the mid-12th century); and other wonderful sites to see.
We strolled along looking in store windows and taking photos until we came to the Marktplatz (market square). Here we saw more interesting half-timbered buildings; the Stadtmuseum, which covers about 2,000 years worth of history and also houses works by the local 19th century painter, Philipp Wirth; a Renaissance-era fountain; and the beginning of the path leading up to the castle.
Bill and I walked past the fountain and began the ascent up to the Mildenburg Castle. The Mildenburg was built circa 1200, “acquired its present form by the 16th century, when its characteristic ‘crow-step’ gables were added” (according to our ship newsletter), and then was renovated in 2010-2011. The castle now houses a museum, but it was closed when we were there. However, we were allowed to walk around much of the grounds.
After we walked back down to the city, we met up with Fox and Lois. We saw the Faust Brauerei (Brewery), which was founded in Miltenberg in 1654.
We found a charming little restaurant that had tables outside along the street, and we decided to sit down and order lunch. We were excited to try some Faust Bier, too. Unhappily, this restaurant did not carry it! We did, however, order some other German brews that were very good, though I can’t remember the names of them.
After lunch we meandered back through the streets. Eventually, we all split up again, and Bill and I found ourselves back at the Gasthaus zum Riesen, where we sat down to rest and were finally able to taste that good Miltenberg Faust Bier!
After that, we meandered further until we decided we’d better wend our way back to the ship. Lucky thing, too, because we were some of the last people to climb aboard for the day.
By the way, during our European River Cruise, our ship had to navigate through a total of 68 locks. These locks are what makes it possible for boats to travel up and down the rivers. According to our ship newsletter, “the insertion of locks into these rivers was a necessity…(as they) brought…(an) advantage for river transport; the construction of weirs–barriers to channel the flow of the river around locks–created the possibility of controlling the water flow and thus, within limits, balancing out low and high water levels.” Remarkably, the water rushes in and out of the locks so fast that it takes very little time before the ships can continue on their way.