Day 9 – Bamberg

The night drifted by.  After spending too much of it earlier drinking wine at the bar with new friends, it seemed prudent to depart for a much softer environment.  There is no real sensation of movement, unlike the ocean cruise ships.  River cruising doesn’t lend itself to much more than the occasional ripple and, strangely enough, the lack of rocking bothers me not at all.  The legs and feet are feeling more accustomed to the punishment that has been thrust upon them.  The cold that filled my lungs and nostrils has all but fully abated.  Wine and food have to account for most of the improvement.

Bamberg is another smaller city (only 70,000 pop.) that seems to have an overabundance of university students. Some 13,000 attend a facility that was only planned for 4,500. If you make it free, they will all come. 🙂

One of the major employers of the city is Bosch which produces, amongst other things, about 600,000 spark plugs per day.

Bamberg is essentially 3 towns in one. One part is referred to as the Rome of the North as it is built on 7 hills.  Another is known as the town of the Bishops, extending back to the middle ages.  The third is known as the town on the island of the merchants.  This is where market gardeners are in town 6 days every week and locally known as the onion treaders.  They have a specialty here that is waiting for trial.  Not today, unfortunately, but I will do it at home to be sure.  Essentially a hollowed out large onion, filled with ground pork (mixed with various ingredients), baked, covered with bacon and beer, baked some more and then enjoyed.  This cries out for attention.

Fortunately Bamberg was affected very little during WW II with one legend being that as it was so inundated with breweries (at the time), the pilots of the bombers made the only intelligent decision – don’t bomb the breweries.  Now there are 9 breweries left. Two of them make the very famous smoky beer (Rauchbier) – Schlenkerla and Spezial.  This is accomplished by drying the malt over flame to impart the smoky flavor.  It is said that you either like it or not however after 3 or more, if you didn’t like it, you will. 🙂 Back in older times, the area around Bamberg held the Guinness World Record for highest concentration of breweries – around 200 in the immediate area.

Bamberg also lays claim to one of the 10 best Philharmonic Orchestras in the world.  And yet, there are no native Bamberg people that are part of it.  They herald from all around the world and have now made Bamberg their home.

The main law courts building looks very much like a church.  Common supposition is that more prayers have been uttered in that building than in any church in Bamberg.  Paintings on the law courts building date back about 250 years and are done very much in a Baroque style.  3D representations are evident with the little leg sticking out from near the bottom and with the Cherub near the top.  Some houses range from 3 – 500 years old with others exceeding 600 years.  The Green House in my pictures is the oldest dating back to 1187.  To keep them in habitable condition renovations and repairs can cost hundreds of thousands of Euros.  Local law insists the original appearance must be maintained.  The tilting house is a prime example of a house that has suffered from sinking into the river throughout the centuries and has cost it’s owner dearly in maintenance.

Famous for it’s Nativity scenes, there about 2.5 – 3 million throughout this city that had its official birthday in 973 A.D.

The main square in Bamberg hosts a statue of Neptune (Poseidon).  It is a local meeting / gathering place most commonly known as The Forked Man.

Antique dealers are numerous.  If you are willing to spend 400,000 Euros on a chest of drawers, you can take comfort in the fact that you are getting a bargain.  Shipping to your home, worldwide, is included.

The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Georg contains the burial place of Pope Clement II.  He is the only Pope north of the Alps not buried in Rome.  The Cathedral took somewhere from 40 – 50 years to build and was started near the beginning of the 13th century. It also holds the burial crypt of King Henry II (who ruled around 1002) and his wife.  He and his wife were the only German King and Queen to be canonized. The front of the Cathedral has two lions guarding it however they are now referred to as the Green Toads. The ravages of time and weather have taken their toll.  This city has never been Lutheran…always and today, Roman Catholic.

Back in the 17th century there was about 10,000 people living in Bamberg.  However witchcraft was running rampant at the time. About 1,000 people were burned at the stake due to their special ‘powers’ without concern as to their station in life.  Bishop to commoner, all were potential ne’er do wells.

One of the more recent versions of the film 3 Musketeers was filmed here.  The rose garden we were able to visit contains over 4,500 plants and 48 varieties of roses. And…they’re still blooming even now!  Malt is so prevalent here, Guinness from Ireland buys much of it for its own productions.

This area is famous for its white wines.  Last year (2014) 12 out of 17 award winning white wines came from here.  Lower Franconia is the only wine region in Bavaria.  Drink the beer or drink the white wine. The reds…better left to the Italians.

Back to the ship for a very lazy afternoon spent meandering down the Main river.  Tomorrow we dock in Würzberg and have a side trip to Rothenburg, a very medieval town.  Tonight is Sauerbraten and red cabbage.  Traditional fare is absolutely mandatory aboard ship.  Bummer.  😉

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