How many of us have heard “I’m bored” from the little ones? With the advent of over a bazillion television channels, video games, iPods, and MP3 players, kids are in sensory overload with all this “activity.”
Well, how about chucking out all those electronic devices (except your digital camera — you’ll need that) and going back to the simple life? My vote for that is the Lower Franconian town of Volkach, preferably staying in the Echterhof Hotel; an inn that’s been welcoming travelers to the area since 1605.
Now before you go thinking that Volkach is about as sophisticated as the Dark Ages, hold on a sec! Of course the town has all the modern conveniences you could ever need. It’s just that it all happens at a slower pace (which is good, IMO).
Volkach is a town that enjoys its festivals; and the biggest one in town is the annual Wine Festival (called Weinfest here), with all sorts of varieties made within the Franconian Wine Region. OK, maybe this festival isn’t for the kids, but nonetheless it always makes the grown-ups happy.
Other festivals here include the Herbstmarkt or Autumn Market (mid-October), the Gourmet Market (early April) that’s all about the food, the Summer Market (late June), and there are always concerts going on at the Marktplatz (Market Square).
If you’re not here during anyone of these festivals, I assure you the kids won’t say they’re bored. The Franconian sunshine makes it perfect to go camping, canoeing, hiking, or biking. Then there are the walks through the vineyards and wine tasting. Oh, sorry — that’s for the mommies & daddies, again! ;-)
I know it’s hard to tear yourself away from all the wine drinking, but there’s more to see. There are two City Gates (one’s called the Diebenturm or Thief Tower) from the 16th century; both are the only remainders from the town’s original defense wall (called a Stadtmauer in German).
Then there is the church of St. Bartholomew. Even though the church was built 700 years ago, it has a Renaissance baptismal font and Baroque alter.
The Maria Immaculata Well that sits outside the Rathaus is older than the Town Hall itself. The well’s been there since 1480, the Town Hall didn’t come for 64 more years. But, the oldest of all of Volkach’s sites is the Maria im Weingarten, a pilgrimage church that was built in the 1300’s.
Volkach’s Local History Museum (Heimatmuseum) can explain a lot more of the area’s history. Although it’s only open from Easter Sunday to the 1st of November on Fridays from 2pm-5pm & weekends from 11am-5pm. That’s plenty of time to get to see it.
Lastly is the Carthusian Museum Charterhouse, a monastery founded in 1409. Its museum is open from 1 November to the 28 February on Sundays from 2pm-5pm.
After a few days here in Volkach, and a little German lesson from me on this page, you won’t hear “I’m bored” outta the kids once! ;-)