Count Dracula’s Tomb
Germany: Main River Tour – Stage 05 – Zellingen to Kitzingen 56 Km (Mon 5th June 2017)
Weather: 14⁰C min – 20⁰C max, mostly cloudy, light rain
“Step by step and the thing is done” ~ Charles Atlas
By 8:30 am I was idling along the Main River path from Zellingen to Kitzingen under an overcast sky. Being a public holiday (Whit Monday) I virtually had the path to myself at that hour of the morning.
Scenery along the river was much the same as the previous four days since I left Frankfurt, so it was difficult to find anything new or interesting to photograph. Nevertheless it was pleasant enough just rolling along sniffing the crisp morning air.
After 20 Km I reached the interesting town of Würzburg, by which time I was more than ready for a coffee and pretzel. Entrance to the town is via Alte Mainbrücke, an amazing old pedestrian bridge that links Würzburg’s old town with the former fishermen’s quarter on the other bank of the Main river. The bridge, erected from 1473 to 1543 to replace an old Romanesque bridge, has 12 characteristic statues of saints that were added around 1730. From the bridge you get a good view of the imposing fortress Marienburg high on the hill, and the vineyards braiding the hillside sloping down to the city.
As I cycled slowly over Alte Mainbrücke I flicked on my handlebar-mounted video camera to capture the 10 o’clock pealing of the church bells. The reason the video is so jumpy is because of the rough cobblestones of the bridge, and you can probably hear my pannier bags bouncing up and down as I rode along. Würzburg Market Square was bustling with people getting ready for the Whit Monday festival, setting up temporary beer halls and restaurants. Much beer will be flowing this afternoon!
Leaving Würzburg I found myself riding on the widest and smoothest path I have ever experienced. This is probably why there were so many skaters sharing the path, swaying gracefully from side to side as they glided along (they probably imagined themselves to be on an ice-skating rink). By this time traffic on the path was becoming quite heavy, with lots of bike tourists (their Ortlieb panniers giving them away), a few serious cyclist on flash road bikes, as well as families enjoying a holiday outing (including one lady towing a baby cart). There were even a couple of recumbent bicycles with their relaxed riders wafting their feet in the air as they sailed along.
About 20 Km further on I came to an amazingly pretty little town called Ochsenfurt, which was celebrating the holiday with an equestrian gymkhana. After circling through the town for a while admiring all the half-timbered buildings, I re-joined the riverside bike path and was merrily sailing along when … my path was blocked again by one of those dreaded red and white barriers! Not a problem though, because I found a detour that got me back to my original route after about 3 Km.
Intermittent drizzle for the remainder of the journey limited photographic opportunities, but by the time I reached my destination of Kitzingen the rain had stopped. Although not as showy or pretentious as some of the other towns I have passed through, Kitzingen has lots of appeal and some interesting history. In particular I was fascinated by the Crooked Tower, which one silly legend claims was built with a mortar and wine mixture. Legend has it that if you follow the direction of the tower’s leaning roof, you will find the grave of Count Dracula in the Kitzingen Old Cemetery across the street. Naturally my curiosity got the better of me so I headed over to the cemetery, where I found to my surprise a cage-like tomb that is reputed to be the grave in question. But they do drink a lot of wine in this area, so I will leave it for you to decide!