On our seventh day we visited Bamberg which is another small city in southern Germany. The primary attraction in this city is the cathedral which was built 800 years ago. The cathedral was another massive Gothic structure. Next to the cathedral was the New Residence which was built for Bamberg’s princes and bishops. It is always amazing to see the size of the buildings required to house these princes and bishops while the peasants did not always even have a roof over their heads.
The more interesting area of the town is near the river. There are many restaurants and bars mixed in with some nice shops. In addition to the bars there are two breweries in the center of town and they make a very unusual type of beer called rauchbier which means “smoke beer”. Our group bought one beer to have a taste and it lived up to its reputation – it tasted smoky and terrible! There was a beer fest going on in town while we were there. They had a little entertainment with a singer and an accordion player but mostly the festival was just one big tent that served beer. The river that flows through town makes a great back drop to some great pictures with the city hall that is built on a little island in the middle of the river. Also along the river are some nice looking homes called Little Venice. All in all this was a very nice town to walk through and spend a half day.
On our eighth day we visited Nuremberg which is a large city of 120,000 people in southern Germany. This city is best known in America for the trials of German war criminals after World War II. Many famous Nazi’s were tried and executed. We did not take one of the optional tours to go into the courthouse but we were able to see it from the outside. Our tour dropped us off at castle top which has a large distinctive tower. This tower was almost all that remained after the Allied bombings of the city. The bombers left the tower so that they had a reference point to complete their bombing runs of the city. The city people considered moving the town after the war since there was so much damage but they eventually elected to rebuild each building using the same stones if possible. Today it is impossible to know that the city was once destroyed.
In the center of town at the Haupt Market there is a large church called Church of our Lady. This church has a large clock outside that has many moving pieces. At noon when the clock rang we watched the trumpet blowers on the clock raise their trumpets, the bell ringers on top ring the bells and various figures rotate around the clock. We have seen other similar clocks like this in past visits to Prague. In the market center we did try another Bratwurst and some ginger cake. Bavaria is known for their ginger cake and strangely enough it uses no ginger but many other spices that make it taste like ginger.
We took a short hike to a cemetery that was shown to us on our bus ride. We were fascinated by this cemetery because instead of “buying” a plot to be buried, you “leased” the plot. You could renew the lease but if your friends or descendants didn’t renew it, your bones were taken out and the plot was leased to someone else! This cemetery was also unique in that sometimes there was more than one person buried in an individual plot. Sometimes it was just a husband and wife and sometimes there might be 10 people buried in one plot over a period of 100 or 200 years. Tombstones in this cemetery dated back to the 1500’s. Almost all of the graves were covered in flowers and these were planted flowers as opposed to the cut flowers you see in the US. This was certainly a different way to be buried than we are used to seeing.
We walked around different areas of the city before having to leave. We saw many bridges that you could walk across to take pictures. There were many shops you could visit. People were bustling around this rather large city.
On our ninth day we visited Regensburg which is a small city in southern Germany that was built over 1800 years ago. This city is one of the best preserved medieval villages in Germany and was relatively untouched during World War II. The city has a wall around it because the city was originally built by the Romans as a fort. There is a stone bridge across the river that was built over 1000 years ago. When it was first built it had towers along the river that would collect tariffs from any ships that past under the bridge. This was a standard practice of cities along the river to collect revenue for the town.
St Peter’s Cathedral is the largest church in the city and was originally built 1300 years ago. Due to several fires it has been rebuilt several times until 1320 and has changed very little since then. Although we went into the Cathedral to take some pictures of the beautiful stained glass windows, there was so little light we were not able to get any great pictures.
On the river is the historic Burstkuchen which makes some excellent bratwurst. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to sample any of these but many of the other folks in our party did and confirmed that they made some great bratwurst! The town has many medieval buildings and is very fun to walk through. It also has many interesting shops that we took some time exploring. Another interesting item about this town was the many towers you would see. Most of these towers were not associated to churches or town halls, but were just built as an attachment to the residential houses. It was common for rich town members to build a tower onto their house. The taller the tower, the richer you were. Some of these towers are 5 to 8 stories high and did not really contain anything other than a staircase.
Before we left this interesting city we were able to make one more walk after dinner and take some night photos. Sharon and Greg
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