Destination: Bamberg, Germany

Aside from Regensburg, I also did another day trip from Nuremberg while visiting last November. Having heard of its popularity as a quaint tourist destination, I was interested in checking out Bamberg while in the area.

Waking up early to catch a 7:20 BlaBlaCar from Nuremberg, I spent the next hour enjoying the ride with my driver (who was French, but working in Germany) and a Ukrainian girl also visiting Germany for the holidays. It was a pleasant time which passed quickly and, soon enough, we arrived at the town’s Hauptbahnhof. From there, I set off on a 20-minute walk to the historic center.

That day turned out to be a snow day, albeit lightly so. Still, it was a challenge to walk through the ankle-deep snow, freshly powdered in the early morning, all the while trying not to slip on the glossy parts. Soon enough, I crossed the bridge and got the iconic views of the Altes Rathaus against the bridge itself. It’d been built on an artificial island in the 15th century, due to the bishop at the time not wanting to relinquish land to the town. Today, it remains a famous site for visitors to admire (and take plenty of photos!).

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Bridge on the way to the Altes Rathaus.
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Altes Rathaus.

There was a slight ascent as I made my way to the Dom, aka Bamberg Cathedral. Just adjacent to it was the Neue Residenz, a palace which had housed bishops since the 17th century. It wouldn’t open until 10:00, so I decided to visit other places in town and return to it at a later time.

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Dom (Bamberg Cathedral).

I climbed another hill to the Kloster Michaelsberg (Michaelsberg Abbey), which is an 11th-century Benedictine monastery that stopped operating in the 19th century and has since been turned into the town’s retirement home. However, the place has been under construction since 2016, so I wasn’t actually able to access the inside of the former abbey. Instead, I just circled around the grounds where I got snowy rooftop views of Bamberg, which made for lovely photos. Certainly a winter wonderland, to say the least!

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Views from the Kloster Michaelsberg.

Nearing 10:00, I headed back to the Neue Residenz just as it opened, and took a tour of the State Rooms with a small group of visitors. The tour guide spoke German, as there was one German couple in the group, but the rest of us had been given placards in our respective languages (e.g. English) to read about the history and significance of each State Room visited. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos of the State Rooms, which was a shame, because they were so lovely. I could take photos of the art gallery on the first floor, so they’ll have to do! I also got views of the Rosengarten (“Rose Garden”) from the palace, which didn’t have roses blooming (after all, it was winter), but even under the thick layer of snow, I could imagine it being very beautiful in warmer seasons!

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Neue Residenz.
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Art gallery inside the Neue Residenz.
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Rosengarten.

The tour ended around 11:00, so I left for the main town center where I visited the Christmas markets in Maximiliansplatz. Considering that I hadn’t enjoyed my spätzle in Nuremberg, I decided to give it another try in Bamberg, ordering one from one of the market stands. Rich and piping hot, it tasted much better, and it put me in good spirits. On my way back towards the Hauptbahnhof, I saw “Little Venice” in the distance, which were a cluster of traditional, half-timbered houses along the river, which were quite picturesque.

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Spätzle at the Christmas market.
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Little Venice in the distance.

Since I’d booked by return to Nuremberg at 12:20, I didn’t have much time for anything else in town. I could’ve loved to have tried the local Rauchbier (“smoked beer”), but I couldn’t find it at the Christmas markets nor at grocery stores. I wish that I’d given myself more time in Bamberg, perhaps enough to pop into a cafe or bar for a drink and to relax. In any case, I caught my BlaBlaCar ride back to Nuremberg with a driver who didn’t speak much English, but thankfully, the other passenger did and could translate for both of us when we communicated. Otherwise, it was a quiet ride back, as I returned around 13:30 and explored a bit more of Nuremberg for the rest of the day.

I found Bamberg to be lovely, even under loads of snow. Then again, I’d love to return when it’s warmer weather, and perhaps stay a bit longer to really enjoy myself. Perhaps it merits another trip over soon!

…and that’s it for my trip to Germany last winter. However, there are more travel posts to come, so get ready for them! Thanks for reading, and see you soon!

— The Finicky Cynic

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