Rotten Apple (Maps)

It was supposed to take only 40 munites. Instead we spent more than four hours on the road to reach Rothenburg ob der Tauber, thanks to stupid and useless Apple Maps! I wish if I could send them an invoice for the extra fuel I had to spend and clain conpensation for the unecessary, anxiety-ridden and unpleasant time mum and I had to endure.

Up until then, the app was working impeccably, directing us to the addresses in Reims, Strasbourg and Würzburg without any hitch. However this time, it made a monumental error. When I asked a route to Rothenburg, the app led us to Frankfurt Airport and beyond instead!

You may say that I should have consulted a map properly and grasped geographical bearings instead of setting off in an unfamiliar country with satnav alone. Yes, my shortcoming was obvious in hindsight but it was not at all obvious at the time.

When I consulted the app, it directed us to a northbound A3. Even though mum and I found the instruction a bit odd because the town we meant to go was in the south, we convinced ourselves that using the autobahn was the fastest route. We carried on like this for another two hours. Then, we saw a jumbo jet flying over us and realised something was seriously wrong. We were fast approaching Frankfurt Airport. Why are we here? Why are we in Frankfurt?? Then, it dawned on me, ‘Are we a victim of the notorious Apple Maps’ error?’

At first, I was in the state of disbelief, and then I became very very angry. Because of some idiot in Apple programmed a wrong coordinate while creating Apple Maps, not only I wasted my time and effort but also was abandoned in a Frankfurt suburb!

‘Mum, we have to U-turn and head back to Würzburg!’ I instructed mum to retrieve a paper map from the rear seat as I made a three point turn. We were definitely not in the mood to trust any satnav, Apple or Google.

We managed to find signs for the autobahn fairly soon and we were on our way back to where we started. However, a return journey to Würzburg, using A3, was far from smooth.

‘Gee, why is the traffic so slow?’ The traffic was very heavy on A3. The three lanes motorway was reduced to two lanes with a 80kph (50mph) speed restriction. But the average speed of the traffic was less than 40kph. Ugh! We’ve got to get back to Würzburg on the double!!

Then, another concern surfaced. Petrol!

We had already driven extra 105km (65miles) so far, therefore, the amount of fuel left in the tank was not enough before reaching Rothemburg. Early on, we saw a broken-down car being pulled into the lay-by with a girl shouting into her mobile phone. Oh god, we can’t share the same fate on this Autobahn, mum and I both shuddered. Could I arrange a recovery or a repair over the phone in the middle of traffic jam in Germany on Sunday? The prospect was too scary to contemplate.

Eventually, a sign for the service station came up and we had a sigh of relief. ‘Let’s fill up the tank and also buy some bottled water.’ We also used their loo and came back to our car. Then, another problem surfaced. We found the traffic on A3 almost standstill!

It took us ages to rejoin the autobahn from the slip road as the queue on the road was solid. The pace of the traffic was crawling and it carried on like this for a good hour. Then, two lanes was reduced to one lane! Why? Any accident ahead?

Yes, there was. A cab of the HGV was about to be transferred onto a recovery vehicle when we drove by. The front of the cab was completely caved in like being punch by a fist of a giant! We guessed that the lorry must have rammed into the back of another lorry. The way the window was smashed, the driver must have got hurt badly too.

After passing through the restricted area of the autobahn, the traffic gradually gained its normal pace, and we arrived at our starting point, Würzburg, around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.

By the way, mum proved to be a very able navigator through this unplanned detour. She read the map and directed me towards Rothenburg. How reassured I felt by it, glancing at her chubby finger time to time, tracing the Michelin route map on her lap!

I turned on Apple Maps again to see if it behaved any better when we reached to a fringe of Rothenburg.

The stupid app still asking me to go back to Frankfurt!

I lost faith in Apple Maps completely. I will never use it as long as I live, I swore.

Then, I turned on Google Map and it took us to our hotel in Rothenburg in no time. Oh how I wished if I used Google in the first place! We didn’t have to spend 4 hours on a bloody autobahn!!! And I had no idea how I managed if I didn’t have mum helping me…

You, damn, stupid, useless, Apple Maps! I hate you FOREVER!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

The Residenz & Train

My apology for not uploading a post recently. I have been dog-tired for the past few days due to too much walking – my friends are visiting London and I volunteer to show them around. Two more days of hard sightseeing and they are off to home, therefore, I will have more energy and time to concentrate on blogging about my mum & daughter road trip! In the meantime, does anyone know how to alleviate very tight sore calf muscles? I never had such tired legs and feet in my life! They are so fatigued and I even have a cramp while I am asleep! UGH!

When we came back to our hotel from supper at Alter Kranen, I asked a receptionist at the hotel if there was any way we could visit the Würzburg Residenz, the most famous building of the city, by public transport. ‘Is there any bus or tram we can use?’ I was worried if it was too far for mum to walk. I certainly didn’t want her to strain her knees.

We saw a tourist train, very similar to the one we rode in Strasbourg, on Schönbornstraße when we were exploring the city centre, and was wondering if we could hitch a ride on it to the Residenz…

The receptionist replied apologetically that the train we mentioned was a tour bus and it would started and finished at the Residenz only.  She assured us that a walk to the place would take only around 10 minutes and the route had no up or down. ‘It is up to you, mum. If you feel ok tomorrow, we will go.’ Mum replied she would decide next morning.

After breakfast, we checked out and headed to the Residenz. ‘I would rather risk my knee than missing the world’s largest fresco.’ , mum reasoned.

Monday morning in Würzburg…

As the receptionist reassured, we arrived at a huge forecourt in front of the Residenz after a leisurely 10 minutes of stroll…

It was a shame that such a grand forecourt was now used as a huge car park. I wonder how spectacular it could have been in its heyday during the 18th century. I tried to recreate the scene in my head – a procession of onate horse drawn carriages coming and going with the clippety-clop of their hooves ringing in the square.

Inside the princely building was breathtakingly grand and opulent. Apart from the world’s largest fresco over the Imperial Hall which miraculously survived the bombing of 1945, all the rooms were decorated in sumptuous Baroque or Rococo style with their signature stucco and gilding.

After finishing the tour of the Residenz, we tried the tourist train…

The train was almost full when we arrive to a bus stop by the southwest end of the forecourt…

While mum sat on the window side, I sat next to an old German man. As the bus pulled out, his wife who sat in another row in front of us started to complain about an audio guide. It sounded like there was no German available from her socket. Unfortunately, our carriage was the last one and there was no intercom as such to communicate with a driver. So guess what this German guy did next? He opened a door and forced the driver to stop the train!

The driver did notice the rear door swung open in his rear mirror so he stopped the train immediately and came over to see what was going on. The old guy explained what was wrong and they tried to resolved it but couldn’t, so the tour resumed…

‘Now, we must set off to our next destination, Rothenburg ob der Tauber!’ We headed back to the car park. At that moment, we didn’t know that the journey would be riddled with troubles…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Beer garden at Alter Kranen

Beer, ice cold beer, that is what we want! Mum and I strongly agreed while fanning our sweaty faces with folded maps given at the hotel early on. But where? Where can we get our hands on chilled long glasses of German beer? We looked around but only to find a beer garden next to Alte Mainbrücke almost brimful with customers.

I remembered that a receptionist who handled our check-in recommended a beer garden on Mainkai. ‘Shall we try there, mum?’

We walked along Kännergasse because the street was in the shade therefore it was cooler.

Alter Kranen was a German restaurant with a large terrace overlooking Main River. We decided to sit in the terraced area as the breeze travelling over the river was pleasant and cooling.

Even though it was only six o’clock, the place was very busy with people not only drinking but also eating hearty meals…

Mum looked so happy to have her beer!

Prost, mum!

The beer tasted so good after a long sweaty walk. We earned it, didn’t we? We nodded in agreement.

For dinner, we decided to share a platter instead of ordering two main dishes as we were not too hungry.

We opted for Brotzeitbrettle…

Supper time board: cheese cream, Emmemtaler cheese, sausages, farmhouse ham, Camembert cheese, tomatos, pickles and onion rings. The platter was accompanied by a basket of farmhouse bread. They went very well with our beer.

Oh boy, visiting a local beer garden is becoming our new routine! Mum and I both shared a good conspiratorial giggle…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Pre supper walk in Würzburg

‘Let’s walk to Alte Mainbrücke!’ Mum and I stood up from the bench and started walking westward along Domstraße…

The church at the end of the street was Bischöiches Ordinariat. As we headed to the bridge, we came across a fountain…

The time was nearly 5 o’clock but the sun we felt on our arms was still scorching…

The Alte Mainbrücke – Old Main Bridge is the oldest bridge over the River Main in Würzburg. The bridge connects the old city centre with the opposite Fortress Marienberg.

Fortress Marienberg in the distance…

The bridge was first built around 1120, but it was partly destroyed by the floods in 1342 and 1442.

The bridge was decorated with statues…

The bridge had altogether twelve sand-stone statues.

Around the end of the 1720s, six statues of saints were erected along the south side of the bridge in honour of the late prince-bishop, Christopher Franz von Hutten. Then 10 years later, The north side received another six statues of saints in the style of Baroque, commissioned by Prince Friedrich Carl von Schönborn.

Mum was given a beautifully illustrated map in Japanese at the hotel…

She found it very very useful!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Hot & happy in Würzburg

Anther advice given by Mr.Orange T about how to avoid the hand brake getting stuck was, not to use it altogether when I parked my car. Instead, he suggested to put a gear in first or reverse after the engine was turned off so the wheels were locked and the car would not move.

Later that day, the hand brake did misbehave again when I used it unwittingly. It was very difficult to break my old habit – using a hand brake! Ever since I was qualified to drive, I always used a hand brake if the car was stationary for more than a few minutes. The habit was ingrained into my system so deeply and it was almost an unconscious thing.

After a few errors and near misses, mum decided to place her hand over the hand brake every time I parked the car so I wouldn’t pull it up absentmindedly!

When we arrived at Würzburg, it was around three o’clock in the afternoon. The room was rather spartan-like but we were only too happy to have somewhere to put our feet up…

After freshing ourselves up, we went out to explore the city. The place appeared quiet or even subdued comparing it with bustling Strasbourg. ‘Maybe it is because today is Sunday?’ Mum and I discussed as we crossed the road with tramway tracks.

Würzburg was well known as a start / finish point of the Romantische Straße – Romantic Road. The city was also the center of the Franconian wine country and all the hillsides encircling the city were adorned with light green pinstripe patterns of grapevines, a telltale sign of the wineries.

We visited St.Mary’s Chapel – the Marienkapelle, which was built in the 14th Century…

Like most of the churches and cathedrals we would come across in Germany, the church’s external walls and stained glass windows were not original. It was due to the damage caused by aerial bombings by the Allies during WWII.

The temperature started to soar as Europe was hit by the recent heat wave. The pavement of Marktplatz was gleaming under the baking afternoon sun. Apart from the people, who were sitting in the shade provided by the street cafes, there were hardly any people in the square

We came to Schönbornstraße…

Again, no many people were on the street.

We saw trams going by…

It was so hot so we decided to have some ice cream…

‘It is like a dream comes true!’

I confided to mum how blissful I felt as I lick my lemon sorbet. I was with my beloved mum in Würzburg, sitting on the same bench and talking face to face! What more could I want?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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