What a charming and fascinating place is the German city of Bamberg! Going there is like stepping into a fairy tale. Although not a big city, (approximately 75,000 people), it has cathedrals and churches (like many cities in Germany), and other historical buildings. There are quaint streets and alleys, little shops, stone bridges and old, narrow, German residences. Bamberg is situated on the river Regnitz, a tributary of the Main river and is a common stop-over on European river cruises.
My travelling companion and I went on a walking tour and visited the Old Town Hall which was built on a small man-made island joined by two bridges on the Regnitz river in 1386. Who would believe a town hall on a bridge? Apparently, the people at that time got annoyed with the Bishop who wouldn’t grant them land for a hall, so they created an artificial island in the river and built their hall. The hall is covered in baroque style paintings which although weathered and worn, are still very attractive. When standing on the bridge, we were amused by a three dimensional sculpture of a cherub’s leg sticking out from the wall of the building. If you go there, make sure you look out for this.
We saw a group of 19th Century fishermen’s houses situated right on the edge of the Regnitz riverbank. You wouldn’t want to fall out of a window. The water is directly below. We were told it was very handy as long ago, animal innards and scraps could be released into the river through a trapdoor on the floor.
Our walk ended in a city square with a Cathedral (St Mary’s), a fountain, some surrounding shops and pleasant cafés, and a very small market selling fruit and vegetables. It was relaxed shopping and we bought small souvenirs, and for me a gorgeous buttercup yellow, light linen jacket made in Italy which unbelievably cost only €20. A treasure for me.
When I wear my yellow jacket here in New Zealand, I happily remember my visit to the picturesque city of Bamberg.