After an hour of wandering through the old town, we stop at a beer garden for Frühschoppen. It’s a Sunday morning in southern Germany after all; what else could we possibly do? We take a seat at one of the long wooden tables under the trees and order Bamberg’s most famous beer: Schlenkerla Rauchbier (smoked beer). It tastes like bacon.
We’re on our way to Austria for the summer holidays. It’s a ten hour drive to Osttirol – where we will visit die Uroma and hike a bit in the mountains – so we decided a stopover is not a bad idea. We looked at the map, and exactly – well, almost exactly – halfway between the Netherlands and Osttirol there is a town called Bamberg. I honestly never heard of it before, but I guess that’s because I’m from the Netherlands. Apparently the Dutch don’t have Bamberg on their radar yet.
I think that’s one of the wonderful things about Bamberg: no Dutch tourists. Or at least we didn’t spot any of them. Not a single one! And they are easy to spot. Even when they don’t talk, you easily recognise them by the combination of their length (they’re super tall), manners, movements, clothing style and face expressions. They’re just so Dutch in everything they do. Anyway, none of them in Bamberg (except Bowser, Watson and me).
Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Dutch tourists. I’m one of them! I’m just very surprised, because the Dutch are usually everywhere. Really everywhere… apart from Bamberg.
Anyway, what about Bamberg? Well, the old town is beautiful and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993. There are a lot of super old buildings, such as the old town hall (1386) in the middle of the river (see photo above this article), and the Bamberg Cathedral (1237), with the tombs of Emperor Henry II and Pope Clement II. We went into the cathedral, but Bowser didn’t like it. He immediately wanted to go outside when he smelled the incense. Perhaps he’s not very fond of churches and stuff, which is fine with me – not much of a churchgoer myself (except when it comes to funerals: I’ve been to about 200 of them and got paid for most of them, but that’s a different story and completely irrelevant for this one).
So outside we went. And outside we stayed, for it was a perfect day for just that. We walked around, had lunch at the Michaelsberg Abbey on one of the seven hills of Bamberg and walked around some more. Well-preserved medieval buildings everywhere! Really, Dutch tourists, you’re missing out!
Some advice though: don’t do a boat tour when you’re in Bamberg. It’s disappointingly boring and if you have our luck, you might come across angry 60-something year old German tourists who complain about all the children on board. Those kids completely ruin the 80 minute boat ride by talking and laughing too much. The angry German tourists think children shouldn’t be allowed on board or the parents should at least make sure they shut their mouths. I think angry 60-something year old German tourists shouldn’t be allowed on board if they can’t deal with the fact that kids have a right to talk and are still happy enough to laugh every now and then. But there was no sign forbidding either loud children or angry German tourists to enter the boat. So there we were, stuck with each other for 80 minutes.
I didn’t notice our kids being loud or anything. But if one of them was, it was definitely Watson (the baby one). She’s always laughing. Bowser (the toddler one) has always been a bit more sceptical. A very happy kid, but not the laughing-out-loud-type. Watson, on the other hand, seems to think the whole world is one big joke. She laughs about everything. Especially when she bites me with her two teeth and I scream in agony.
Okay, what else about Bamberg? Well, there’s Sauerkraut and potato dumplings everywhere (if you’re into that kind of stuff; I’m not), lots of breweries (that interests me more already, although bacon beer is not my favourite), and did I mention the beautiful old town? I’m glad we stopped here on our way to Austria. Anna likes it a lot too. Bowser too. Watson thinks it’s hilarious. Funny baby.