The Main (pronounced “mine”) River is a major tributary of the Rhine, but it receives much less attention from tourists than its more glamorous cousins, the Danube and the Rhine. It flows from two sources, the Weisser Main, or White Main, which rises in the mountains, and the Roter Main, or Red Main, flowing from the Frankish Forest. Its waters are generally described as yellow, but in all honesty, we couldn’t tell the difference between the colors of any of the three rivers we sailed along. All of them looked brown.
The most famous city on the Main is, of course, Frankfurt, but there are other historic towns and villages along its banks, notably the university city of Würzburg.
For us, though, the highlight of the Main was the beautiful medieval town of Lohr, where we spent a relaxing afternoon on our own, strolling through its streets.
The Treasures docked near the Alte Mainbrücke, just at the foot of the old town, and we walked slowly up from the river, marveling at the storybook perfection of this lovely town. The houses were half-timbered, and nearly all of them had small gardens in full bloom , either in window boxes or climbing over their doors.
The town boasts a 14th-century watchtower, as well as a castle, the Lohrer Schloss, which houses the Spessart Museum (the town lies between the Spessart mountain range and the Main). The famous glass exhibit in the museum includes, legend says, Snow White’s mirror. Well, actually it was the wicked queen’s mirror, but it had a definite preference for Snow White.
All the buildings in the village seem to have been designed to suit the exact purpose they are being used for at the moment.
One lovely white medieval structure in the center of town now houses a pharmacy on the ground floor, where I was able to buy a tube of Voltaren, a topical steroidal analgesic for arthritis (which half the ship seemed to be using), over the counter for seven euros. The more potent version I use at home costs $40 and requires a prescription, another example of how medical care differs around the world.
Every building looked as if it had just been scrubbed and painted, and women were sweeping the streets in front of their pristine doorsteps. The signs marking hotels, shops and restaurants were made of brass that shone like gold. The clever sign for a local bakery was a golden pretzel.
Every square inch of the town seemed to be buffed and polished until it gleamed, as if the residents were preparing to welcome a royal personage. Most of the people we saw in the streets were locals, out for lunch with friends or doing their daily shopping. We saw children going home for lunch one by one down the tiny lanes, being greeted by mothers or grandmothers at the door as they shed their book bags. It was an idyllic scene, made even more appealing because it was all real.
Rothenburg deserves its reputation as one of the prettiest towns in Germany, with its well-preserved architectural history, its spectacular setting, and its vibrant social scene. But in many ways, we preferred Lohr: very few tourists, beautiful medieval buildings, and an unhurried pace of living made this village unique.
Here are a few other images of Lohr that will give you a sense of this lovely town.