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Published: June 17th 2018
We arrive in Bamberg around breakfast time. In contrast to Nuremberg, Bamberg managed to largely escape bombardment during WWII and thus has retained a variety of original historical architectural styles. The Old City area is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It turns out to be an incredibly charming city.
We're bused to the city and meet our guide. Buses are not allowed in the Old City, so a 15-minute walk bring us to the old city to start our guided walking tour. We first climb to the highest point of the city. Bamberg does not have a castle on the hill like many of the cities we have seen. Instead we reach a square that is actually on a slant. On one side is the renaissance-style 15th-century Old Court and on the other side is the so-called New Residence in baroque style, dating from the 17th century. Our guide mentions that Bamberg was one of the locations used in the film Three Musketeers, featuring Orlando Bloom. This square was used for one of the sword fights. Apparently, more than 2000 locals applied to be extras for the scene, hoping to catch a glimpse of the extremely attractive Mr. Bloom, but
most of the actual sword fighting was executed by a double.
A handful of us take a detour to visit the rose garden, a courtyard inside the new residence. I only have time to snap a few pictures, but it is extremely impressive. I wish Violet could see this, but she has opted for a walking tour with no climbing.
Descending into the old town, we visit Bamberg's centrepiece building, the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. George., consecrated in 1237. It's beautiful and quiet inside. Lovely carvings. One of these, known as the Bamberg Rider, is famous for depicting a man on horseback, very unusual for a church. This carving has in fact become the city's symbol. It is believed to represent St. Stephen of Hungary, but no one is certain. This church has a pope (Clement II) buried here; he was a local and requested burial in his home town. The other outstanding artefact is the finely sculptured tomb of Henry II and Kunigunde, an imperial couple with an interesting history who were both canonized.
We continue descending to the river. Here we find a trio of charming bridges over the Regnitz. The charming 17th-century
Old City Hall with colourful frescos added in the 18th century is built right on top of one of these bridges. Upstream lies the very exclusive area of the town known as Little Venice, where former fishermen's houses have been transformed in heritage homes.
The walking tour over, we have some free time to explore the city on our own. Our first goal is to sample a famous local product: Rauchbier or smokey beer. We had earlier bookmarked a tavern and make our way there with some of our ship companions. This dark and foamy beer has a distinct ham or bacon aftertaste. I enjoy it, but I can't imagine downing many of them in succession.
We cross the river again to enter Bamberg's main shopping district and stroll along for a time. There are both commercial stores on each side and stalls offering fresh market products in the middle. Eventually, we reach another large square. Whoops, it's time to head back for the pick-up point, which is fair walk. We have to push it but make the bus just in time.
Back on board for lunch at 1 pm. Free afternoon that allows me to catch
up a bit on the accursed blog. The ship sails for Wurzburg just after 5 pm.
Tonight, we have the pleasure of dining at the other specialty restaurant on board, La Rive. The food is basically continental French style. Absolutely delicious, and we enjoy the good company of Aussies once again.
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