Day 9: Bamberg

IMG_1756Bamberg has so many historically significant buildings it has been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. Unlike towns like Frankfurt and Nuremberg, it wasn’t bombed flat in the war. So there was some honour between the combatants. Unlike the recent destruction of Petra, but that’s another story. Anyway, you can read all about Bamberg here.

IMG_1743As usual, there’s an abbey on one hill, and the cathedral plus the stronghold of the cardinal princes who ruled the area on another hill. And lots and lots of cobblestoned roads lined with beautiful old buildings in a variety of architectural styles. We did a short tour of the cathedral, parts of which date back to the eleventh century. It’s one of the few churches that actually has two altars – one for the emperor and one for the church. And one pope is buried here – Clement II. He had been the local bishop before he was promoted, and asked to be interred here. Back in the day (1046) being pope was a sought-after job and since it’s given for life, the only way you got to be pope is if the incumbent died. Clement died of lead poisoning in 1047. Who knows if the death was deliberate? Suffice to say he was succeeded by Benedict IX, who had already been pope twice before at the time – the first time when he was just 20 years old. They were exciting times 🙂 (I knew there was a reason I read Medieval history)

There are lovely views to be had from the cathedral precinct where the rulers lived. You can bet there was a fortification up here well before the cathedral was built.

I have to admit that the various picturesque German villages tend to blur together in my memory. But each had its own unique quality. In this case it was the river Regnitz, which is a tributary of the Main. It was fascinating to see how the buildings have been built over the fast flowing river, incorporating rapids and arches. They obviously do kayak racing through the rapids. You can see the gates hanging over the water.

One thing all of these places have in common, though, is that just because the road is built of cobbles that doesn’t mean it’s for pedestrians only.Bamberg was particularly bad for this. The road (the bit for the cars) was delineated by some white lines. No kerbs. No gutters. And over there in Europe they drive on the wrong side of the road. Us Aussies had to remember to look LEFT for approaching cars. And if you’re wandering around in a large group, meandering out into the traffic because it’s crowded just behind the lollipop might not be a good idea. However, the locals know about the visitors. I have no doubt they talk about the browns cows while sharing a pint (I certainly would be), but the tourists are what keeps these places going, so tolerance has monetary value.

We had a very pleasant morning, nobody was killed or injured from playing in the traffic and we returned to the ship tired but happy.

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The view from the palace

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Looking down on the town

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The courtyard at the residence

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Note the murals on the walls

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Rapids in the heart of town

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The joys of a heritage listed home

 

 

 

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Fresh produce at the market

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More of the markets

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Follow the leader along the cobblestoned street