Sunday, 4 March 2018

Wurzburg: South German architecture, colours and wine

I enjoyed exploring Wurzburg old city and drinking wine on the bridge, and the bright yellow autumn colours but overdosed on Baroque.

Hermann Hesse said that if he could choose his place of birth it would have been Wurzburg. The city is famous for art, architecture and student life. I went because
The German Leprosy Relief Association is based there and hosted an ILEP meeting. My flight to Frankfurt was delayed by autumn fog. My direct train from the airport was cancelled so I admired the 19 th century architecture of the Frankfurt main station. I enjoyed the views of rolling hills and rivers on the 90 min  journey to Wurzburg. The residenz is a UNESCO world heritage site and was built as a bishop prince palace in the 18c.  It is a baroque masterpiece with huge rooms, marble mirrors, stucco everywhere and a vast Tieoplo ceiling mural depicting aspects of the four continents (Europe, Africa, America and Asia). The guide brought the residenz to life. The chapel is German baroque excess with ornate marble with twirls. The palace was destroyed in March 1945 by 400 tones of bombs dropped on the city and creating a 17 min destructive firestorm. The residenz was painstakingly recreated after the war. I don’t enjoy baroque architecture and had reached my low threshold. I wondered why it was recreated, I suppose they wanted to rebuild what had been destroyed in the war, just as they have done in Berlin.  I was happier sitting in the garden next to a beautiful Japanese natural fountain enjoying the autumn colours, bright yellow leaves on the trees against a bright blue sky. There was an autumn  heat wave in Europe and it had bee 22 degr earlier.

I walked through the old city appreciating the university buildings. I watched sunset from the old bridge over the river Main, now pedestrianised with many people enjoying a glass of white wine.  I enjoyed the German architecture, the 17 century Rathuis and the narrow streets and many large churches. i had supper of a fine almond trout and white wine at a pavement café.

We had our ILEP meeting and discussed the latest leprosy figures and were joined by Laura Gillini from WHO who has worked on collating the latest global figures. I talked about the need to detect and manage disability early. There is a huge gap between what is supposed to be provided by governments in leprosy endemic countries and what happens on the ground. Some surveys of service provision and supervision would be very useful.  We also discussed a new  chemoprophylaxis in which household contacts will be given single dose rifampicin. This might imperil the effectiveness of the currently very good multidrug therapy and possible setting the scene for drug resistance. 

I admired the scenery with trees, rivers and autumn colours from the fast InterCity Express train. These are the German high speed trains and hit 220 kms/hr very easily. I flew to London City and had an easy journey home by train and bus. 
I enjoyed being in a new city, Wurzburg for a day, seeing its history and culture.  As an experienced traveller i was not fazed by the various challenges I had to meet.

Oct 16 2017

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