BAMBERG SITS AT THE STARTING POINT OF THE MAIN-DANUBE CANAL:
Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise – Avalon Waterways – Day 7
Today’s crusing was interesting as we entered the Main-Danube Canal which connects the Main and Danube rivers. The 171 km long canal runs from Bamberg (our next destination) at one end, through Nuremberg to Kelheim.
Our ship was moored on the outskirts of Bamberg so after lunch, we are transferred by coach to Bamberg’s historical centre.
Bamberg is a city of many charms. Built on seven hills, with a beautiful church gracing each of the hills, Bamberg likens itself to Rome – a cheeky tour guide will however tell you that Rome is the “Bamberg of Italy”. It also has its own “Little Venice“, a district that was formerly the Fisherman’s settlement.
Bamberg is also a city of market gardeners and in the market gardeners’ district (Gärtnerstadt), Bamberger gardeners still live in typical “market gardening houses” and preserve their centuries-old market gardening traditions. But most of all, Bamberg is a city full of medieval charm and it’s not surprising that the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bamberg Sightseeing Tour
Our sightseeing tour of Bamberg began with our guide Stephanie showing us pictures of what Bamberg looked like in the past. The first bridge of the Island district (Inselstadt) that we crossed, the Untere Brücke, offers a fine view over the banks of the River Regnitz. From Untere Brücke, we also had great views of the charming fishermen’s quarter. With its half-timbered houses, it has been nicknamed “Little Venice” (Klein Venedig).
Running parallel to the Untere Brücke is the Obere Brücke, the other stone bridge crossing the Inselstadt. From this bridge we admired the beautiful Wedgewood blue Hellerhaus and Bamberg’s Old Town Hall straddling the Regnitz River.
Strolling through the serpentine streets lined with cafes, charming houses and 18th-century mansions, we next walked up one of Bamberg’s seven hills to the impressive Bamberg Cathedral. The tomb of Heinrich II and Kunigunde is here as is the famous and mysterious Bamberg Rider.
Other sights we visited included the Old Palace (Alte Hofhaltung) and the Neue Residenz with its beautiful rose garden.
Bamberg, a Beer City
After all the sightseeing one can get quite parched. This is where beer drinkers score because Bamberg is a beer city. With a population of only 80,000, it has 9 breweries producing some 50 different types of beer, including its specialty Rauchbier, a "smoked" beer.
After the guided tour of Bamberg, we were given some free time. Some chose to go shopping for souvenirs or to do some beer tasting, but we headed back to Schlenkerla Rauchbier, which we passed earlier on, so that Tony could drink some of Bamberg’s smoked beer.
My first impression of Rauchbier was that it almost tasted like beer infused with smoked ham. But, we were assured that there is no ham in it – the malt is roasted over beech wood fire to give it that smoky flavor. Rauchbier certainly is an acquired taste and Stephanie advised that "if at first you don’t like the taste, don’t give up". Tony didn’t have any problem as he’s had Rauchbier before and likes it whereas a group of Aussie seasoned drinkers from our cruise did not finish their drink…and that’s saying something. So, if you’re keen to have a go, head down to Schlenkerla Rauchbier, No. 6 Dominikanerstrasse, which is the most famous brewery.
Bamberg is one of my favourite towns and with 2 million visitors each year, it shows that a lot of visitors like it too. From Bamberg we continued along the Main-Danube Canal towards ancient Nuremberg.
Photos of Bamberg: Bamberg Photo Gallery
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