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Monday 26 January 2015

One day in Bamberg, Germany - Schlenkerla, pretzels, Leberkäse, farmer's market, traditional foods and the sites of an UNESCO world heritage city! (Part 2)

After a delicious meal and plenty of their famous Schlenkerla smoked beer and a good sleep the night before when we arrived in the picturesque medieval UNESCO World Heritage city, we woke up early and were excited to explore the city! Henry II, the Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 and he untended Bamberg to become a "second Rome", which explains why there are a multitude of churches and palaces in this cobblestoned city built on seven hills.  Since we only had a half day here before driving to Augsburg, Fussen and into the Alps later on in our 2 week trip of exploring Germany, we hit up most ofhte must see sites, and of course, noshed on tasty traditional food along the way.. discovering the best pretzel place and probably the best place in Germany for delicious Leberkäse!

We started off by hiking a short way (almost everything is walkable in Bamberg if you stay in the central part of town - and easier without a car since you don't have to navigate the multitude of one-ways and pedestrian only streets) to Klein Venedig or Little Venice.

Its a picturesque row of 17th century fishermen houses along the east side of the Regnitz river.  In August, there is historical jousting of the boatmen and fishermen guilds in the Sandkerwa (Sandkirchweih), the largest folk festival in Bamberg.

Just skirting the west side of the Regnitz river, we found a family of swans, so of course, being the good tourist, we took some pics :D

We then made our way to Bamberg's Altstadt or "old city", which is kind of funny since the whole city is an "old city"! The Obere Brücke - the upper bridge (on right) is the oldest in the city dating back to 1157 when it was an wood bridge, later built with stone in the 15th century.  The lower bridge (on left) and the old city hall or Rathaus is built in the centre.  Legend has it that the bishop didn't give citizens of Bamberg land to build a town hall, so giving the bishop the old flip of the bird, they rammed huge wooden beams into the river bed, and built their town hall right in the middle of the Regnitz river!  It now houses a small museum (Museum Stadt Bamberg) that has the largest private porcelain in Europe, and on its exterior is some impressive Baroque and Roccoco styles frescos... to take this shot, we had to walk to a bridge across from it.. the city is linked with a multitude of little bridges everywhere!

We were planning on picking up food at their farmer's market located around abig square called Maximiliansplatz, so had a leisurely stroll.  As we approached it, we passed by the Bamberg Rathaus or city hall

And admired St Martin - Bamberg's only Baroque Church, first built in 1248.  There were already farmer's market stalls set up in front of it, so we knew we were getting close to the farmer's market!

The farmer's market around the Maximiliansplatz sold mainly fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and the odd butcher on wheels.

We took a quick pit stop at Der Fuchs am Hauptwacheck or Fuchs Fachgeschäft (Address Fuchs Fachgeschäft, Hauptwachstraße 16, 96047 Bamberg) for probably the best pretzels we've had in Germany!

They had all sorts of savory and sweet goodies, and there was a constant stream of people picking up tasties!  This bäckerei or bakery dates back to 1885, and is currently on their fourth generation in this family run business... and they know their stuff!

 Their pretzel was soft as a cloud and just had a tinny bit of chewiness to it

Their cheese pretzel I still daydream about.... soooo good!

We had noticed a lot of folks walking around town with little meat filled sandwiches, and we followed the trail of sandwiches back to the best place in all of Germany for Leberkäse at Metzgerei Max Liebold.

This butcher has been around since 1897, and they know their Leberkäse.. its “passt scho”, and not to be missed!  Leberkäse is a traditional meatloaf - think well seasoned ground beef, pork, corn and onions that is formed into a gigantic loaf, slow roasted until the outside has a crispy crust with the taste of a juicy mild sausage. After we lined up for a deliciously seasoned Leberkäse on a soft and slightly sweet bun...

 We went back for seconds lol! Sooooo tasty!!

its served with a swipe of sweet smooth mustard that you can buy to take home if you like.. They are also known for their Zwetschgenbames - a raw beef "ham" that is smoked over a plum wood fire, that is rock hard, sliced thin and served like carpaccio.  We were too full to try, and will have to try it next time we're back!

And here's the fabulous team at Metzgerei Max Liebold that make the tasty magic happen! 

As we noshed on the yummy Leberkäse, we poked our noses into random tourist and corner stores... we're glad we did as we found a mini keg of Schlenkerla, Bamberg's smoked beer to take home with us!  We eventually had to drink it all before flying it home as we had too much soveniors to fit into our luggage, but it was totally worth it and its displayed by our fireplace at home! We got lots of thumbs up from locals as we headed back to the hotel to drop it off and even had some Germans visiting the city ask us where on earth we found the mini keg! :D

We packed up, hiked to the car (we parked 15-20 walk away from hotel as our car didn't fit into the attached super tinny garage), and then headed up some interesting paths that looked like bike paths, but were actually roads to the Imperial Cathedral.  We could have walked here, but it made sense to get the car as we were planning to drive out of the city after sight seeing, rather than looping back later to pick up the car.  The Imperial Cathedral or Bamberger Dom - first cathedral from 1012 burnt down, and was rebuilt in the 12th century.

 The founders, emperor Heinrich II and his wife Kunigunde as well as Pope Clement II, who was a bishop of Bamberg before his papacy, has their final resting place inside the cathedral. It is the only tomb of a pope outside France and Italy.

Just to the right of the Dom, is the Neue Residenz or New Palace (1698–1704)  was initially occupied by the prince-bishops, and from 1864 to 1867 the deposed King Otto of Greece lived in it.  You can tour the inside or the back where they're known for their rose gardens... since we visited in the late late fall, we didn't hit up the gardens as they're much nicer in the spring/summer seasons.

The  Alte Hofhaltung or Old Court was built in 15th century on the same place where Henry's II palace initially was. A complex of commercial and residentail buildings. After the Prince-Bishops moved to a new palace, the buildings were used as office, library and council chamber. Today Old Court houses the Historical Museum of the city

As we drove out of the city, we hit up Michaelsburg Abbey or Kloster Michaelsberg. This former Benedictine monastery built in 1015 became an almshouse in 1803 and today, is a seniors home, with the old abbey church still functioning today as a church called the Bamberg Michaelskirche.  If you hike around it, you can get a great view of the city from atop the hill its built on and it has a nice little garden in the middle

And that ends our one day in Bamberg (split up with an evening in Bamberg prior trying out their lovely Schlenkerla smoked beer and food!)... onwards to Augsburg, Fussen and the Alps!

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