You can’t throw a pretzel down here, without hitting a perfectly pretty little Medieval town (or indeed rather large, beautifully preserved city with buildings dating back to the Romans); within a couple of hours of us, you’ll find Nürnberg, Regensburg, Bamberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, München, Amberg – and that’s just sticking to this side of the border. There are more on the other side. And we live in one, something I sometimes overlook, given we’re small fry. Sweet, but small fry.
So last Friday, needing to get out of Weiden for a little bit, we threw a pretzel, and it hit Amberg (not to be confused with Bamberg, which we still haven’t been to but must) a town about forty minutes from our front door.
Amberg is about the same size and age as Weiden, but with a much bigger Altstadt and some of its original wall fortification. Nothing like a walled town to make you feel like you’re in a Ken Follet novel. It also lies on the Vils River and there is something about towns built on rivers that feels so romantic. You know, wooden bridges, canoes, old houses reflected in the water, little steps leading from the water to land.
We strolled through on a public holiday, so everything was quiet, except for fellow strollers and those tucked into a cafe and cosily brunching. It was also flipping cold, the first real taste of what’s around the corner – hats, beanies, scarves, bit coats – the whole thing. Not a peep of sunshine, just grey skies and an abundance of Jack Wolfskin jackets. The only colour came from those multi-coloured buildings, shoulder to shoulder, just like in Weiden; it must be an Oberpfalz thing.
Amberg’s ‘defining feature’ – and every self respecting, small-mid sized Medieval Bavarian town needs one – is its Stadtbrille, ‘town spectacles’. In actual fact a bridge, that once formed part of the original fortifications, the Stadtbrille is named so due to the image created by its arches reflecting in the water.