Sunday, October 10, 2010

Friday – Bamberg

We head a little north today to the UNESCO town of Bamberg. This is the town with the city hall (Rathaus) in the middle of the river. According to one story I heard this town was the Residence of a Prince Bishop and the church owned and ruled the territory. Most of the churches and religious were on the west side of the river and the merchants and businesses on the east. Neither side wanted to give up land for the Rathaus so it was built on a bridge in the middle of the river! There are other stories so I am not sure what is the real reason but whatever the reason it is beautiful and interesting. It is a must see in this city also known as the Rome of Germany because it is built on 7 hills. I believe that because the last time I was here I walked all the hills. Lots of beautiful churches, breweries, shops and things to see. We started off our day with a trolley car tour of the city. This is one of those hop on/hop off but gives you an overview of the whole city without walking it completely. Would have been ok if the driver/guide would have told us in English what we were looking at like I had booked but we got very little in English, oh well, a nice ride around the city. These things happen. Afterwards we walked a ways down a hill to make our way to the oldest Brewery in Bamberg, the Klosterbrau. We were to eat lunch there. This was a working brewery that had been a monastery brewing starting in 1533. We had a great lunch and then walked up to the Cathedral and Old courtyard for our tour of this and the Bishop’s residence Palace. We had a great guide and the tour lasted for several hours! We learned a lot. In the old courtyard there was a guillotine set up that I didn’t remember from when I was here in the spring. We found out that it was a movie prop. There recently had been a Hollywood film filmed here, 3 Musketeers in 3D with Orlando Bloom. So if you see that movie know that part of it was filmed in Bamberg. Since I have been coming to Germany a lot lately and am learning all kinds of history I should have known before, I find that the “Church” wielded a lot of power, they were the ruling class and these towns that were home to Prince Bishops were powerful indeed. Interesting information and makes you think! Anyway, we then toured the Residence Palace this Prince Bishop lived in. WOW. But one more little explanation if I have this correct. It seems that already ruling nobility would be appointed bishops etc. (I don’t know if these positions were for favors or what, I need to read up some more, but they already were people in power). Well to say the place was magnificent is an understatement. Of course a grand ballroom or reception hall and numerous bedrooms and other public rooms. Interesting thing I found in most rooms was the large ceramic heaters in the corners. You would think they would have fireplaces but I think those were considered too messy. These heaters were up against a wall and tended to by servants in the next room. The opening in the wall would allow them to keep something burning in the heater which radiated out into the room. Although the heaters were large I would imagine with the size of the room and high ceilings it would still be a little chilly.
Also this place had beautiful wood floors. During a renovation they found a floor with 27 different types of wood inlays. It truly was a magnificent place.

After this tour which stretched into a long time, we had to make our way to see the Rathaus and painted bridge. We did (see pictures) and then shopped for a very short while and made our way home to our own Princess Castle hotel.

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