Franconia on a Summer Day

I left Franconia (Franken in northern Bavaria) almost 40 years ago. My four siblings still live there, so I have plenty of reason to go back. It’s not just for family, but also for the local food, which is a big highlight for me. Tasting certain food brings back some good memories.

Here we stopped in Volkach, a little town by the Main River. I was surprised to see so many folks enjoying a glass of wine, sitting in cafés at noon, and it seemed like a regular thing to do. You’d have to be either a tourist or a retiree to have that freedom.


There are quite a few nice shops along the main road. Here we stopped at the shop named “Werry Frängisch”, and the shop keeper, being a Franconian herself, actually chased us out of the shop. Werry Frängisch indeed. 🙂 Franconians have the reputation to be very direct.

We had planned to stop by the wine fest in Nordheim, and were disappointed to realize it would not start until 3pm that Saturday. The following day, Sunday, would start with the Frühschoppen (German for morning pint in Hesse, but morning wine in Franconia) at 11am.

Nordheimer Weinfest

We walked down to the ferry port, where a passenger ride still costs only 70 cents.

Main River ferry

Next stop was the abbey in Münsterschwarzach. Across the street, we had a very good lunch at “Zum Benediktiner”.

I opted for the Fränkische Hochzeitsessen, which means Franconian Wedding Food. It consists of fine cuts of beef in a horseradish gravy. I occasionally make it at home, but to have it in a restaurant, you need to order it from a menu in Franconia.

An Afternoon Visit to Mont-Saint-Michel

On the spur of the moment, while touring villages around Cancale, we decided to drive over to Mont-Saint-Michel. I had not been there since 1986, so I was in for a big surprise.

If I recall correctly (mind you, it has been over 30 years), there was no street leading up to the abbey. We just stood at the shore, and saw it from a distance of about 600m on that cool, rainy, and overcast day.

Now Mont-Saint-Michel is overcrowded, and so was the shuttle bus as well. My first impression was that this has become a tourist trap.

A majestic site from afar! And I recommend you leave it that way, and bring a picnic basket instead.


About 2.5 million tourists a year visit Mont-Saint-Michel. I found the shops boring with the same old merchandise in each one.

It takes about 350 steps to climb up to the abbey (entrance fee is € 10). My husband went in, but I preferred to remain outside. The entrance area by the abbey was not crowded, it had a few places to sit in the shade, and I used the time to observe and take some notes.

The village’s Benedictine Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The parking lot on the mainland is 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the island. A shuttle will take you from the parking lot to a drop-off point. You need to walk another 440 yards (400 meters) to get to the entrance.
  • There are narrow walkways and steps, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepare for some elbowing.
  • You have to walk from the shuttle drop off to the entrance. The paved main street has no stairs, but it climbs quickly. Then you have 350 steps from the main street to the abbey.
  • There is no elevator.

Mont-Saint-Michel is a Gothic-style Benedictine abbey and dedicated to the archangel St Michael.

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