written November 19, and later
Dear Friends and Families,
We have been doing so well getting ready to move (knock on wood!) that
we decided we could take one more German vacation. However, when
we started looking at relatively distant destinations, such as the
coast along the North or East Seas, it just didn't seem to warrant such
a drive. We have definitely gotten conservative on long
drives. Instead, we will simply go back to two or three of our
most local favorites.
Our first goal was a one-night stand in Bamberg, 20-minutes from home
and a UNESCO World Heritage city we have been to many, many
times. It remains our favorite German destination and this time
we booked a room at the Residenzschloss Hotel, a large facility on the
north edge of downtown. Somehow, we managed to see parts of town
that were new to us.
Residenzschloss hotel is built in part of the original Bamberg
hospital. As a hospital, it was originally built in 1886 through
1889 and was, reportedly, one of the most modern hospitals in Europe,
up until when it was moved to the Bruderwald south of town. (This
was the hospital Marianne checked into ten days ago.) The ornate
building next to the hotel, another part of the original hospital, now
holds city records. Axel Treuner, our house rebuild architect,
worked on this rebuild at the beginning of his career in the mid-1980s.
the hotel, we walked along the river into one of the oldest parts of
town. It was easy to see why Axel fell in love with the city,
although his story is that he fell in love with the beer first, the
city second, and his wife third.
The old town sidewalks also include bronze medallions commemorating a
darker period, when residents were pulled from their houses and sent to
work and to death camps.
comes early this time of year. We passed on a bakery snack in
favor of a glass of wine, while we looked out the window at locals
enjoying their city in the shadow of the old city hall. It
is no wonder we love this place.
walked back to the hotel via Sandstrasse, the home of several breweries
and restaurants and normally brimming with locals and tourists.
This evening, it was quiet and romantic.
at the hotel, we met up with Axel and reminisced about our house
project and our seven-year friendship. He has been more
than an architect for us and now we expect him to visit us in our
new life, in Fresno. He said he would, in 2015 if not
earlier. We will hold him to the promise.
On Wednesday morning I did my regular travel routine:
looking at yesterday's pictures and trying to dash off a diary.
Since we have just a 25-minute drive to get home, we can easily afford
a slow start, so we managed yet another walkabout.
|Our wander path. House sizes grew with prosperity.
This station of the cross, dating from 1500, is the oldest in Germany. The mural is much newer.
Bamberg may always be our German favorite.
On Wednesday we headed
to Rothenburg ob der Tauber for another last visit. Whereas
Bamberg is a darling Bavarian town, populated by regular people,
Rothenburg is the quintessential German tourist town, often overflowing
with thousands and thousands of people from around the world. We
like them both, but we do prefer Rothenburg visits in the off season,
such as on cold and wet November days.
For our 24-hour visit, we checked into the Hotel Herrnschlösschen,
probably one of the nicest and most accommodating hotels we have ever
used. From there we enjoyed and afternoon walk, a dinner in
Höll (pronounced "hell" to the delight of English-speakers) and
after a full meal, I tried my hand at night photography, with mixed
I'll tell the whole story with photos.
Thursday morning was our normal multi-hour hotel breakfast. I do
enjoy the quiet time to work on pictures, diaries, news-reading, and
just talking with my favorite travel partner.
Herrnschlösschen -- Great place. We were shown two rooms, but
opted for #8, a two-level suite looking out above the town.
Afternoon Walk -- Outside, we had quiet streets, bizaar medieval
statues, and "Schneeballs", the local pastry that looks tasty -- but is
in Hell -- The restaurant zur Höll is in the oldest building in
Rothenburg and is a tourist favorite. Our meal included a nice
pumpkin soup and, for me, two rounds of meat, Klöse, and
Wirsing (Savoy cabbage). I'm not sure of the English for the last two, but they
Photography -- After dinner, I wandered for almost two hours, enjoying
the foggy and damp street scenes. Capturing any of this was
tricky, because the night lights of the city are very bright
yellow. I resorted to "HDR" techniques to handle the high
contrast between light and dark, but the coloring remained odd.
No matter, it was fun to take pictures and I probably learned
something: Don't count on street lighting to be flattering.
Some shots with more of the "natural" yellow light of sodium-vapor street lights.
Now it's back to home and the final week of move preparations.
John and Marianne (the partner)