Sunday, 16 August 2015

Bamberg and Nuremberg: Reaching for the sky with our feet

Bamberg, Germany
I could never have foreseen our opinions of Bamberg, but I can safely say that it was the highlight of our trip through Germany. 
The campsite we checked in to revealed itself to have a super amazing riverside plot for tents. As soon as we assembled our temporary homes, we went back to reception to ask if we coul stay another night, because it was a place we wanted to chill by the river for a whole day. Avoiding stinging nettle on the banks, we plunged in and paddled around after lazing in the sun. Imagine that on repeat all day long. It was heaven. (Notice in the photo how Yannick is showing his feet to the camera. He had to fight the current to keep his feet above the water long enough for me to snap this shot, but I wanted to capture the moment to show how happy the cool waters made us.)
Our lazy day concluded, we set out to explore Bamberg central.
Cutting through the middle of the river, the Rathaus is the ornately decorated town hall that can be reached by two pedestrian bridges. In daylight, these are clustered with tourists carrying dripping ice cream cones. Once night falls, they are lined with youngsters drinking beer and having a laugh and a sing. 
A trip to the Bamberger Dom (cathedral) was essential for a rare spotting of Saint Denis. As our car is named after the decapitated saint, I had to ensure I got the correct statue and asked an attendant by pointing to the name on the iPhone. After patting his pockets to locate his reading glasses, he confirmed it was indeed our friend Denis. By way of dinner, we munched on brezels on the steps of the Dom. Fabienne found a pub that served a Bamberger specialty: smoked beer. I did not partake, and I'm very glad as I hear the taste was a fair bit more rubbery than desired. 
A row of half-timbered buildings along the river was dubbed Little Venice for its proximity to the water. While being nothing like the Italian canal city, it was a pretty sight. Originally fishermen lived in the houses with their families, their boats strung up to the decks that jut out over the flow. 
As the sun set, we weaved between the orchard's trees on the grounds of Kloster Saint Michael. Previously a church, it's been converted into an aged care facility (though you can still see the attached chapel, which we were too late in the day to see). 
I could have easily spent another week camping in the sun by the river and strolling along Bamberg's cobblestoned streets, but the Schengen [link] clock was ticking and we were set on Prague. On the way we took one more detour. 

Nuremberg, Germany
The main mission in travelling to Nürnberg was simple: acquire sausages and gingerbread. On those two goals we succeeded (see here for the details), but we also stepped inside the church on the main square. 
Severely damaged in the Second World War, St Sebalduskirche was given new life by restoration and photos of the former ruins were displayed at the far end of the church. 
A strange and highly decorated door stood out on one of the walls. Where does it go to? Why is it so high up and small? Many questions were left unanswered, but I'm fine with just looking at it. 
As we passed a chic café, I saw a sign for Pimm's, my second all time favourite drink (tea being the first). For a glimmer of home, I indulged in a No1 cup before we set sail for the Czech Republic.