The One with a Government Shutdown?

Monday, September 30, 2013

I'm really irked by all the facebook status updates I'm getting from our Army base regarding everything that will be closed/unavailable if the government shutdown occurs tomorrow.

Will Chris still have to work? Will we still get paid tomorrow? I budget every penny and if we don't, this girl is gonna go cuh-razy! And what about the mail? Mail is so much different here (I don't feel like getting into it, maybe another time). I have really important work-related things coming soon! If mail shuts down, I'm SOL!

 I know politics is one of those "forbidden" topics, but I'm really disappointed with what's happening with ours currently... there, I said it. I'm officially an Evans now :)

The One with Jane Saves Her Food

Sunday, September 29, 2013

This girly is a smart one - she saves food on the top of her head to munch on later!

And, as promised, the winner of the 2Peas Gardeners' Digest September 2013 Blog Hop is Anne Fisher!
Congrats Anne - email me at paigetaylorevans at gmail dot com and I'll send your Halloween goodies out stat!

The One with Würzburg, Germany

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Today goes down in the books as another awesome Saturday! It was my turn to pick our destination and I chose Würzburg, Germany. Würzburg (pronounced VEWRTSboorg) - though freshly rebuilt since WWII - is worth a stop to see its impressive prince-bishop's Residenz and the palace's sculpted gardens. Surrounded by vineyards, this tourist-friendly town is easy to navigate by foot. Today, 25,000 of its 130,000 residents are students, making the town feel young and very alive. 
The city was born centuries before christ at an easy-to-ford part of the Main (pronounced Mine) River under an easy-to-defend hill. A Celtic fort stood where the fortress stands today. Later, three Irish missionary monks came here to Christianize the local barbarians. In AD 686 they were beheaded and their relics put Würzburg on the pilgrimage map. 
On 16 March 1945, about 90% of the city full of civilians and military hospitals was destroyed in 17 minutes by 225 British Lancaster bombers during a World War II air raid. All of the city's churches, cathedrals, and other monuments were heavily damaged or destroyed. The city center, which dated from medieval times, was totally destroyed in a firestorm in which 5,000 people perished. Over the next 20 years, the buildings of historical importance were painstakingly and accurately replicated. The citizens who rebuilt the city immediately after the end of the war were mostly women because the men were either dead or taken prisoner of war. In comparison, Würzburg was destroyed to a larger extent than was Dresden in a firebombing the previous month. 

We loaded up in the car at 8am and arrived about two hours later. The iPad is our saving grace on these long trips. We wanted to go in the Residenz Palace first, but it was packed like sardines with buses of tourists, and the lighting was bad, ha, so we decided to do the Rick Steves self guided walking tour first and come back after lunch.

The tour started at the Fountain of Franconia. This statue - a gift from the townspeople to their then-new royal family - turns its back to the palace and faces the town. It celebrates the artistic and intellectual genius of Franconia with the statues of three great men.
From the statue we walked 300 yards ahead down Hofstrasse to St. Kilian's Cathedral. There was a hullabaloo going on outside!
This building's core is Romanesque with Gothic spires and Baroque additions to the transepts. It's just been renovated and looks mighty lovely inside and out.
Destroyed in WWII it was rebuilt in the 1960s. Most of it was re-done in the typical Baroque stucco, but other parts are ultra modern (and don't quite fit in my humble opinion, didn't even bother taking pics of those parts).
Fancy shcmancy!
The skulls of the three favorite saints - those Irish monks martyred in the seventh century - lie in this box on the altar. Pretty cool! Or creepy?
I love all the beautiful details.
We exited through the side door and continued our walk.
Fox stopped to chase some pigeons. It must be a right of passage/innate sense for little boys because I didn't teach him to chase birds!
Um. Scary statue!
From there we walked a bit down the street to the Neumünster Basilica. Like the cathedral, this church has a Romanesque body with a Baroque face.
Every time I go in a church building I catch my breath - so stunning and humbling!
Next we walked to the Market Square. This fancy yellow-and-white Rococo-designed Falken Haus (House of the Falcon) once had three different facades. To fix it, the landlady gave a wandering band of stucco artists a chance to show off their stuff, and ended up with this. I love it.
Walking around Würzburg / Cute cafe hidden under trees / Fox playing with a lobster / Obelisk in the Market Square
In the middle of the Market Square is the Marienkapelle. This two-tone late-Gothic church was the merchants' answer to the prince-bishop's cathedral. Since Rome didn't bankroll the place, it's ringed with "swallow shops" (like swallows' nests cuddled up against a house) - enabling the church to run little businesses.
We found the town Maypole!
Around the other side is a depiction of the Annunciation, with a cute angel Gabriel telling Mary the good news. Notice how God whispers through a speaking tube as Baby Jesus slips down and into her ear. Interesting... :)
Continuing on our walk, looking back towards St. Kilian's Cathedral.
City Hall / Restaurant perched over the Main River.
Then we walked across the Old Main Bridge and saw the most beautiful views of the Marienberg Fortress up on the hill.
Although it's called the Main Bridge, it isn't the town's "main" (as in primary) bridge. It was built in 1133, making it Germany's second-oldest bridge - wicked! The 12 statues lining the bridge are Würzburg saints and prince-bishops. 
Views from the bridge.
That concluded the walking tour so we got some lunch and admired our surroundings, like this flower shop.
Then we walked back to the magnificent Residenz Palace. The palace, the chapel, and surrounding gardens are the town's main attraction. This Franconian Versailles features grand rooms, 3D art, and a massive fresco by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.
First we went to the chapel. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never laid eyes on something more ornate and detailed and spectacular in my life. Except perhaps Fox and Jane when they were first born :)
This sumptuous chapel was for the exclusive use of the prince-bishop and his court. The decor and design are textbook Baroque. All the gold is real gold leafing. The columns are manufactured marble so they could control how they looked.
Pictures weren't allowed and we actually got the boot for sneaking these ones. I felt bad.
Then we took a turn around the impressive gardens surrounding the palace.
Everything is so pristine and lovely and I always feel like I'm in a dream walking around places like this.
Residenz Palace with Marienberg Fortress up on the hill in the background (middle, left side). Maybe my favorite picture from the day.
Little statue with Marienberg Fortress in the background once again. I love how you can see it from almost anywhere in town.
Fox and Jane. I give them a 6 on a scale of 10 for their behavior today. Could have been better, could have been much worse. I'll take it.
So typical, trying to get them to smile with me!
We used to have annual passes to Disneyland. Now we have an annual pass to Castles! For reals! Such a thing exists! Wish we had known about it when we went to Seehof Palace and Kelheim the last few weeks because this card would have gotten us in there for free. But anywhoo, now we have it, and now we can get into dozens of castles and palaces! Sweet beans.
The inside of this palace was, I can't even describe. I'll let pictures do the talking, although pictures hardly do it justice.
Wow. Just, wow.
Our next stop was Marienberg Fortress. But we saw another church on the horizon and drove through pretty streets to find it.
Success! No time to go inside, but we admired it from afar.
Another cool looking church. We made it to the top of the hill the fortress caps and made our way up even more. A beautiful view is on the horizon!
At Marienberg Fortress looking out over Würzburg. This 13th-century fortified retreat was the original residence of Würzburg's prince-bishops. After being stormed by the Swedish army during the 17th-century Thirty Years' War, the fortress was rebuilt in Baroque style. 
Vineyards everywhere.
This tower reminds me of Tangled! The fortress grounds.
In the round church there are carved relief monuments to former bishops decorating the stone floor.
We had to walk around for awhile to find the best views of Würzburg.
A sign made in 1649 - that's old! 
Pics of Marienberg Fortress and the surroundings.
A pretty purple flower. Sometimes I like taking pictures of random people. This couple was sitting on a bench basking in the warm autumn sun.
At last we found the front of the fortress and looked out to Würzburg below. Stunning!
We spent a good half hour walking around and then headed back to the car.
I love this view. So castle-y.
Decrepit moss-covered building.

Just a 10 minute drive away was our last stop of the day: Veitshöchheim. It was the summer palace of the Würzburg prince-bishops.
Veitshöchheim was built in 1680-82 and was enlarged to its present appearance in 1753 by Balthasar Neumann. The gardens were redesigned for Prince-Bishop Adam Friedrich von Seinsheim (1755–1779), with lakes and waterworks, and filled with hundreds of allegorical sandstone sculptures from the workshops of the court sculptors Ferdinand Tietz and Johann Peter Wagner.
We took a turn around the gardens.
The lovely waterworks.
Why are a lot of these palaces yellow? That is the million dollar question.
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again and again, it was another fun Saturday!
Paige Taylor Evans © // Quinn Creatives DESIGN