Back to Bamberg

I think it, along with Nürnberg, is my favourite Bavarian city. We drove there one misty day last week and Mum and SG were suitably blown away. I was blown away a second time.

I mean, look at it.

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This time we went to the Museum of Natural History, to see the bird room, as recommended in Simon Winder’s fantastic book, Germania. (If you are German, live in Germany, love Germany, or have any interest whatsoever in this country, you must read this book. Now.) The bird room was fascinating, and beautifully done (although severely lacking, I feel, some key Australian species.) We shared the museum with the loudest school excursion I have ever heard. Kids these days.

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Mum had her first and last Eierpunsch. Truly awful. I asked the lady what is in it and she said ‘egg liquor, white wine and some special secrets.’ Special secrets indeed. I went for the hot chocolate and flooded my system with enough sugar to last a week.

We walked up to the Bamberg cathedral – wow – and into the Old Court on Cathedral Square, where employees of the cathedral (and their animals) used to live. There’s a museum there now, Bamberg’s Museum of History. And a beautiful Christmas tree.

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On the way back to the car, we enjoyed a quick refreshment stop in a cosy bakery, seated in this tiny nook.

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Yes, definitely a favourite.

The Final ‘berg

For months, people have been saying, ‘go to Bamberg.’ Or at least, I have been saying, ‘we have to go to Bamberg,’ because enough people said it to me in early succession, when we first moved down here. We have done every other berg and burg there is around here – Regens, Nürn, Rothen, Welten, Am – and tossed a couple of Czech Republic towns into the mix, to keep things fresh. And all the while, I have been saying, ‘we have to go to Bamberg.’

So, what did we do this weekend? We added ‘Bam’ to our list of burgs and bergs. Bäm.

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The weekend delivered a dear friend from Kiel to our door. She came bearing Kiel magnets, which now plaster our fridge, and we hit Weiden with a vengeance. We supped glühwein at the Christkindlmarkt as it snowed, and people around us ate half meter würste, drank a coffee in the little French cafe in the Altstadt, snuck through the stony alleys and got rained on as we ran for the train. The train ferried us into Nürnberg where half of Germany had turned out for the first Saturday of the most famous Christkindlmarkt in Germany (or in the world?). As the sky darkened, we ate Stollenherzen, drank Glühwein, and elbowed our way through the crowds to the castle and looked down over Nürnberg in her Christmas lights. Einfach schön.

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Which left Sunday for Bamberg. Beautiful, beautiful Bamberg, a city we approached with the expectation that it would be small and stunning. Quaint and quiet even. Sure, we knew about the UNESCO heritage site listing, the famous Altes Rathaus that sits in the middle of the river, and we suspected a decent Christkindlmarkt would be happening. Also, the phrase, ‘the Venice of Bayern’ was floating around the back of my mind somewhere. But, and this is always the most wonderful of occurrences when travelling/in life in general, Bamberg exceeded all expectations.

Behold.

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bamberg8From the Bahnhof, we followed our noses to the Altstadt and were absorbed into the Christkindlmarkt. A Glühwein was tossed down the throat, another mug sequestered away, to add to the collection. And then it was down a Christmas tree lined street …

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… only to be spat out at the bridge to the Altes Rathaus, the river Regnitz rushing beneath.

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And of course, we snuck in a Stollenherz on our way back to the Bahnhof.

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 What other ‘bergs and ‘burgs do I have to get to around here?