On Sunday we decided to check out Bamberg, a smaller German town about an hour north of Nuremburg. I had read that the city was very beautiful and we also wanted to try a famous regional beer, Rauchbier (smoked beer). Apparently it tastes like BBQ in a glass – I decided to find out.
We slept in and arrived in the city just before noon. We parked near the city center and found ourselves near a bunch of canals, winding through a sprawl of narrow colorful houses. We explored a few of the streets before we headed uphill to one of the churches dotting the valley. From there, we had a decent view of town, but over to our left we saw a much larger church atop a big hill. Before heading straight there, we dropped into a small rose garden. While the plants were not in bloom, the garden offered a nice view with a ledge around the side at around roof level.
Bamberg looked similar to Nuremburg, although these red roofs were original as the city had not been bombed out in the war. The town was very scenic with its many winding canals and bridges, and small little cafes, beer gardens, and restaurants dotted every street corner. Though the weather was windy and a little chilly, locals and visitors alike took the opportunity to sit outside and enjoy a little sunshine. We were eager to get back down to the river and try out the beer, but wanted to visit one more church we spied in the distance while we had the high ground.
The other church was a short stroll away, and before long we found ourselves hiking up the small grassy hill towards the massive cathedral. We found a good spot to overlook the city again and used our vantage point to see the city sprawled before us through the valley. We sat and enjoyed the view for awhile, took some pictures, and wandered the church grounds for a bit. We got into an entertaining debate about the height of one of the terrace walls which culminated in us devising several methods to measure the height, including estimation via counting bricks and the timing of a falling stone.
After our diversion up to the cathedral, we finally made our way back towards the center of town and grabbed a late lunch.Our first stop was Schlenkerla, the most famous of Bamber’s breweries known for its Rauchbier. The place had a really old aesthetic to it, with a stereotypical German-feel. (Note aside: it occurred to me recently that the American-held stereotypes of Germany can be largely attributed to Bavaria. I suspect this may be due to the occupation zones in post-WWII Germany, with the Americans having control of Bavaria). In any case, there was a small courtyard, a (closed) Biergarten, and half-timbered structures. The food here was pricey, so we stuck to our drinks while laughing and talking about our experience in northern Bavaria.
We grabbed some lunch outside. The food was not stellar but I took my last chance to try more Rauchbier and enjoyed the weather like everyone else. After lunch, we headed back to the car and couldn’t resist stopping for some gelato on the way. I had my 6-year-old moment as my gelato fell to the street, seemingly in slow motion. Unphased I picked it up and continued to eat it (sorry folks!).
After a 3 hour ride back I found myself in Stuttgart with enough time to take care of chores and catch up on a few things. I had a short week ahead of me, with an upcoming longer-trip at the forefront of my mind. In just a few days I would be headed to Berlin and from there would spend a week travelling with a friend from high school. My next posts will be about our journey together. Until then,
Best wishes and safe travels everyone,