Romantic Rothenburg – and A Change of Plans

Today, I took part in one of Viking River Cruises' optional excursions, travelling to Rothenburg, Germany. Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

Today, I took part in one of Viking River Cruises’ optional excursions, travelling to Rothenburg, Germany. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Saturday, July 18, 2015

This morning, Viking River Cruises’ Viking Vidar continued her 15-day Grand European Tour, coming alongside Wurzburg, Germany during breakfast.

Here, guests once again had two options. The first: partake in the included walking tour of Wurzburg – including the magnificent Residenz Palace, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Germany’s most famous attractions. This would arrive back at the Viking Vidar in time for lunch, after which guests would have free time for the balance of the afternoon until Viking Vidar sails for Bamburg, Germany promptly at 6:30 p.m.

Viking Vidar alongside in Wurzburg, Germany on another beautiful - and hot - day. Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

Viking Vidar alongside in Wurzburg, Germany on another beautiful – and hot – day. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

The other option – and the one I chose to take – was the optional excursion to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, or Rothenburg for short. A full-day journey including lunch, this would take us along the so-called “Romantic Road” through the heart of Franconia to the medieval city of Rothenburg for a morning walking tour, an included lunch featuring bratwurst, sauerkraut and Franconian wines, and would also return to Wurzburg to tour the Residenz Palace. For €64 per person, that was a no-brainer for me.

With the mercury expected to hit 33°C, I grabbed two bottles of water at the gangway (complimentary) and placed them in my backpack. That’s one item that should be a must for every river cruiser: a good backpack. In fact, I kind of wish every guest was provided with a backpack (or maybe a tote bag). I know that would be a heck of a cost for Viking to incur, but on the other hand…free advertising!

Boarding the coach for our morning tour...Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

Boarding the coach for our morning tour…Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

...and zipping along the Franconian countryside to Rothenburg ob der Tauer. Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

…and zipping along the Franconian countryside to Rothenburg ob der Tauer. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

I’m also enjoying the new QuietVox audio headset systems used during tours. Under the old system, you would turn it on, stand as close to your guide as possible, and pray it picked up the right channel frequency. With these new ones (which are utilised by other river cruise operators like high-end tour provider Tauck), you can manually select the channel your guide is on by using a series of small buttons to move the channel up or down. Simple! I hope the balance of the Viking Longship fleet is refitted with these in the months to come.

Rothenburg is actually part of Bavaria, but is often referred to as a Franconian city due to its location in the administrative region of Middle Franconia. It was founded in 1170, and in 1631 was besieged as part of the Thirty Years’ War. The Black Death swept through Rothenburg in 1634, leaving the town empty and virtually bankrupt. With no citizens and no money, Rothenburg simply stopped growing for the next two hundred years.

Walk the medieval streets... Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

Walk the medieval streets… Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

...of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

…of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report from onboard Viking River Cruises’ Viking Vidar’s Grand European Tour continues tomorrow from Nuremburg, Germany – and the Viking Lofn in Passau! Be sure to follow along with our adventures on Twitter @deckchairblog.

 

 

 

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