Tuesday, 2 April 2013

I recently returned to my home town, Würzburg, with my wife to show it to an Italian couple that we are friends with. What struck me yet again is how "different" I looked at this city that I grew up in.

You really have to ask yourself how much you look at that city of yours. I can't count how often I walked over the old bridge over the river Main without having more than a brief glance at the toes of the statues (which are at roughly head height) while rushing to wherever place I needed to go at the time.

I really started to appreciate more what a nice place I actually grew up in. Since we showed them both the city and also introduced them to the regional culture, we had the chance to enjoy fantastic food and to delve deeper into the historic aspects.

For example, Würzburg was for a long time the seat of the so-called Prince-Bishops (Fürstbischof) who wielded both spiritual and worldly power. As a consequence there are a huge number of churches in the city alone. When I looked at these churches before, I just saw a church plain and simple. Ever since I have been to the cathedral in Cologne, I have been more than disinterested in churches (it's hard to get better than that one in my eyes).

Not this time, though. In passing, my Italian friend commented that he finds it weird, that there are many "worldly" symbols in here. And true enough, the majority of the interior designs depict the bishops and several swords and other insignia, but not many crucifixes or other pictures associated with Christianity. It was very enlightening to see, that worldly power of the Church led to a fusion of symbols of power.

This was just one of several anecdotes of a very enjoyable trip. My conclusion from this trip is to really have a closer look at my surroundings. Especially when I have been in one place for a long time. There may still be something to discover.

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