Day 11 – Miltenberg

This quaint little town (of only 10,000) lends itself to a very easy lifestyle.  One main road for heavier traffic along the river that is but one block down from the main pedestrian road that runs through the heart of the town.  During the day there are vehicles that use this cobbled street, but later it becomes foot-traffic only.

For about 2.5 km. one can walk slightly uphill taking in varied shops and merchants plying their wares.  Food stuffs (wine and beer of course, sausage, bread, pastries), clothing, shoes, tobacco (cigars are common), hotels, restaurants, banks – they have all found their niche in the houses that have been here for centuries.

The oldest house in Miltenberg dates back to 1333.  In the 1950’s, after the war, it was plastered over.  New owners have removed some of the plaster to reveal the timbers that still form the main structure of the house.  For restoration to take place it must, by law, be true to its origins.  With that in mind, awards are also given for homes that have been shown this care and attention.  Two are seen side by side – the left one was the winner in 2007 and the right won in 1995 (plaques beside the front door).

The current museum was, at one time, the home of the Bailiffs (which were the local law enforcement working for the Prince Bishop).  Surprisingly it had no kitchen.  It seems that 460 years ago, the smells of the kitchen were not something he appreciated.  He lived his life as an order-in kind of guy.

The fountain in the central square was commissioned, built and paid for.  However the architect, after completing his work, felt he had been taken advantage of.  He was certainly not in a position to voice his displeasure vocally, so he made some slight additions to the final display.  He made his point…but never received any additional compensation.

There are 12 wells in Miltenberg with the oldest dating back to the mid 1600’s.  Ground water (which is what came from these wells) was less than pure however.  Given that everyone simply threw their waste directly into the river, drinking water maybe quenched the thirst, but also gave rise to much sickness.  One thing they did know how to do in the area, however, was make damn fine wine.  And that never made anyone ill (hungover perhaps…).  Even children were encouraged to drink wine instead of water due to its health benefits.  In the morning, wine soup was not uncommon (and now, its not just for breakfast anymore!).

About 80 years ago a man by the name of Mr. Stepple (single, and reasonably well off) had a maid working for him.  She was a constant thorn however as she was continually asking ‘What shall I do next, Mr. Stepple?’  No matter what he asked her to do, after completion the words remained the same “Wash the floor’ ”What shall I do next, Mr. Stepple?’ ‘Make up the rooms’ ‘What shall I do next, Mr. Stepple?’ ‘Make the supper’ ‘What shall I do next, Mr. Stepple?’  On and on like the proverbial broken record.

Finally he had reached his breaking point.  When once more she asked ‘What shall I do next, Mr. Stepple?’ he said ‘Hang your arse out the window!’  After a little while she came back and once again said ‘What shall I do next, Mr. Stepple?’  He looked at her, horrified and asked ‘Did you really do that?  I didn’t mean it.  I was simply angry!  What have you done?  What will the neighbors say??’

‘Oh it’s no problem’ she replied.  ‘They just looked up and said, Good Morning Mr. Stepple’

The Reisen Hotel is one of the oldest in Germany.  It is said that King Barbarosa (King of Germany mid 1100’s) has stayed here.  And a more current king (of Rock and Roll!!) has also laid his head between these walls albeit in a somewhat more modernized room.

What looks like it might have come from the time of Hansel and Gretel is now just a garden shed for the little old lady that lives across the road from it.  And just down that same road is a depiction of St. Florian, the patron saint of firemen.

A pleasant morning rewarded us with another ration of old Germany (and no rain to dampen the way).  Wandering the way back to the ship little aromas would beckon (and a couple had to be dealt with in person).  A light lunch ushers in a very lazy afternoon spent watching the countryside drift along.  Time will be spent exaggerating this blog (rather than late at night which has been the norm) quickly followed by more of…nothing.

Well…maybe another glass of wine….

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