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Bamberg Birthday

August 1

Written September 15


Dear Friends and Families,


Birthdays. Bah, humbug. That's my view, but Marianne was having none of it. This year she treated me to a planned tour of one of the nicest towns in Germany, Bamberg. Sure, it's our neighboring "
city" and we've shown pictures before (July, 2004 ,Oct 2005,Dec 2005) But she made it such a nice day that it warrants a new production


We started at the Tourist Information (TI) center, where we picked up the official town self-guided tour. The first tour stop was this relief map, just before heading across the pedestrian bridge. (I know, that's not us, but at least we didn't have to pay for professional models.)

All tours of Bamberg cover two or more sides of the Rathaus (City Hall). Our TI audio guide told the story of how the building was erected in the middle of the Regnitz River. At the time, much of the city was ruled by the local clergy and they would not allow the locals any more land, certainly not for something as symbolic as a city hall. So, the town's merchants drove wooden pilings into a small sand bar in the middle of the river and made their statement.


The parish church of St. Martin faces the "Green Market" square, in the center of Bamberg's walking zone. Sometimes it is useful as a quiet refuge from the activity outside although today there was little activity inside or out. The original St Martin's was started in the 12th Century and destroyed in the early 19th Century. At that time, the various interior fittings were transferred to this building, a Jesuit university chapel at the time.

Around the corner is Maximillan Square, the largest in Bamberg. Again, this square is generally a busy place, especially in the Christmas season when it hosts much of the local Weinachtsfest. (Incidentally, one of the most convenient parking garages in town is hidden below this centuries-old square.
Art work pops up on the streets of Bamberg. The "Reclining Woman with Fruit" by Fernando Boteroa reminded us of his works we'd seen before in Italy. The half-face ("Centurian I") by Igor Mitoraj always draws attention.

Bamberg was a commercial center with two rivers and the Main-Danube canal. The waterways have allowed Bamberg to be called the Venice of Germany. (Or is Venice the Bamberg of Italy?)

Several of the old cranes line the downtown river banks, reminders of the old importance. Do you suppose the docks of Hoboken will ever look this good?


On the left is the entrance to the Schlenkerla restaurant, a Bamberg landmark famous for inexpensive local cuisine and smoked beer. By now, we have other favorite places for beer and local cooking, but this is not a bad place for an introduction.

On the right is a glimpse of the shopping area that has a number of antique stores. These all hold very nice pieces, but if you are looking for an under priced bargain, look elsewhere.


The cathedral or Dom has to be on every walking tour, although today was Sunday and only worshippers were being allowed inside. The view from the cathedral square showed the helter-skelter carpet of red tile roofs, a sign of a very old town.


We ended our tourist day with a horse-drawn carriage ride through town. We wound our way through some of the streets and bridges we had just walked. But, we also went out into a wonderful residential area with grand old turn-of-the-century homes. We had not seen this areas before nor had we realized there was an old-fashioned swimmin' hole so close to the center of town.


So, we ended our Bamberg birthday tour. It was a wonderful idea and will serve us well as we guide you when YOU come to town. You are coming, aren't you?

John and Marianne



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