Tam Coc Ninh Binh, Vietnam. 2008
Our last stop before disembarkation in Nuremberg was the Franconian city of Bamberg. The city is built across seven hills along the river Regnitz. Each hill is topped with it's respective church. In medieval times, Bamberg was often labeled "The German Rome".
Known for it's beer, Bamberg has ten independent breweries producing thirty different ales. Most are powerful, dark brews, but the true Bamberg specialty is their Rauch-bier or 'smoke beer'. This rendition of an ale has a distinctive smoky flavor derived from its malt being roasted over beech-wood. It's a unique flavor, and it reminded me of some of the smokier Scotch Whiskey's. You can't experience Bamberg without having a Rauch-bier in old town.
Walking along the Regnitz in the eastern part of town, you'll see what the locals call "Little Venice"; a row of quaint, historic homes, traditionally occupied by the local fishermen. The photo above is from this portion of town. The hanging planters with red flowers, and well-cultivated, small garden areas in their 'backyards', on the river, present a delightful photo op.
After we walked along the river, and passed Little Venice, we headed up the hill to Bamberg Cathedral or Bamberger Dom St. Peter and St. Georg. The cathedral was completed in the 13th century and is the seat of the Archbishop of Bamberg. It was included in the "Town of Bamberg" UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993. Initially, the building was founded in 1002 by King and Emperor Heinrich II. The first two structures burnt down in the 11th and 12th centuries to be later reconstructed in the Romanesque style with four large towers.
Alongside the cathedral is the Bishop's Palace or Neue Residenz. The exterior of the building looked very James Bond-ish to me, and our local guide said several movies had been filmed there. We didn't have an opportunity to go inside, but after walking through an archway under the structure, we walked out into the Bamberg Rose Garden. Honestly, I have never seen so many roses in one garden. We didn't have much time to walk around, but it's a must see in the summer.
Bamberg was definitely distinctive from the other stops on our river cruise. From Little Venice on the Regnitz, to the Rauch-bier, Bamberg has a noticeably different feel from other cities like Rudesheim and Bernkastel-Kues. My time there was bittersweet because it was our last stop before getting off the ship, and I could sincerely have stayed onboard Avalon's Visionary for quite awhile longer.
Next up, Prague!
Born and raised in the travel industry, Avery clings to a unique and profound drive to explore the planet's people, their cultures, history and architecture, as well as natural settings, landscapes and ecosystems. Outside of his upbringing in the travel industry, Avery's higher education mainly consists of Environmental Biology and Anthropology; his knowledge in both greatly influence his travel.