April 22, 2012 Staffelstein and Kulmbach

A couple of days ago we ran into the Fourteen Holy Helpers carved into a frieze in a museum in Wurzburg. It was also in Wurzburg that we learned that Balthasar Neumann was the architect for the Residenz. What could be better then finding out that today we are passing close by the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers designed by Balthasar Neumann in Staffelstein. Deserving of a stop? Of course.

It seems that a farmer found a child sitting in a field and when he went to pick the child up, it disappeared. He saw the child again. This time carrying two candles. Then again, but this time with thirteen other children. Someone corroborated his story. The child told the farmer that if a church was built there that the fourteen children would help out the local people. Next miraculous cures were reported. The Basilica to the Fourteen Holy Helpers was built. No one is sure how they morphed into the particular saints that are represented at the church.

The Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

Given the look of this building, maybe Balthasar should have stopped after he designed the Residenz. It is quite ugly. But the inside is fabulous.

The altar of the Fourteen Holy Helpers

Rococco interior of the Basilica

Hungry from our long climb up the hill to the church, we drive into nearby Kulmbach for some lunch. We figure we will plot our next move over some hopefully light dining. John and I order a spargel salad and Sarah wants a tuna sandwich. The size of Sarah’s sandwich makes us laugh. It has to be over a foot long.

Giant tuna sandwich

John and I figure we will be presented with a leafy salad with some asparagus and hard boiled egg. Well, sort of.

Spargel salad

We decide to visit the castle, Plassenburg, that overlooks all of Kulmbach. Perched high on a hill, it was first chronicled in the 12th century. Although we are ready for another hike up a steep hill, this time we are allowed to drive all the way to the top. Unfortunately, there is not much to see. There seems to be only a cafe and a tin soldier museum. There’s also a sundial clock.

Sundial clock

At this point we decide to drive to Bayreuth and check into our hotel. It’s about 4 PM so it must be naptime. We are hoping that this is the last day we will need the late afternoon nap.

We have had a lot of fairly heavy food over the past few days so for dinner we select an Italian restaurant, have a salad, some pasta and call it a night.

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