March 24, 2017

My First Bamberg Adventure!

Upon arriving in Bamberg I dropped my luggage at my hotel, Barock Hotel am Dom, and decided to hike up one of Bamberg’s 7 hills to Michaelsberg!Walk to Michaelsberg Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The walk up hill is quite nice and takes you by some very lovely buildings complete with shuddered windows and even some with flower boxes.

The weather in Bamberg was cloudy and warm.  Of course, as I got to the top of the hill it started to rain.  I walked quickly to get into the church because my umbrella was where all good umbrellas should be, back in my hotel!  I did have a chance to notice the beautiful courtyard as I hurried along the gravel road and up the magnificent stairs leading into the church.St. Michaels Church Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Michaelsberg is home to the old monastery, which is now used as an old folks home, and the monastery church.  The complex of buildings was founded by Emperor Heinrich II in 1015.  Today the Baroque edifice looms over the city and offers amazing views down below as well as a picturesque spot looking up towards Michaelsberg from the city.View of Michaelsberg Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The Baroque face we see today dates back to the 18th century.  Despite the Baroque additions, the Romanesque beginnings are still evident once inside the church.  Inside the church you will be impressed by the vaulted ceiling, Rococo pulpit, richly ornamented organ and the frescoes featuring over 578 flowers and herbs.

Inside St. Michaels Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Inside St. Michaels By Berthold Werner

The rain had stopped so I decided to visit the Franconian Brewery Museum which is located to the right as you leave St. Michaels church and is in the old Monastery Brewery.  Inside you will enjoy an extensive collection of beer making equipment and documents dating back to 1122. There is also a beer garden but I decided to wait until I got back into town since the weather wasn’t completely suited for a beer garden!Franconian Brewery Museum Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Continuing around to the back you will find a beautiful terrace containing gardens, fountains and a café.  The views from the terrace are amazing, even on this gray cloudy day!View from terrace Michaelsberg Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Walking down the hill to town was as beautiful as the trip up!  Now it was time for my first beer in BambergAmbrasianum Brewery Bamberg Bavaria Germany

I managed to find a table at Ambrausianum under a fantastic umbrella so my first beer was outside and dry!

 

Whether religious or not, do you enjoy visiting churches while traveling?

Bamberg Germany and Little Venice

It’s Travel Photo Thursday again and today I’m sharing a few pictures of a beautiful town in Germany – Bamberg.

Located in northern Bavaria, Bamberg is known as a charming town that if full of picturesque views at almost every turn.   Even though I don’t think Bamberg is visited by many Americans touring Germany, I wonder how many people recognize it by it’s city hall which is located in the middle of the river!!Bamberg Town Hall Bavaria Germany

To say this Unesco World Heritage city is gorgeous would be an understatement.  Situated along the Regnitz River and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, this Beer City has many reasons to visit.

It’s not hard to find amazing views along the river but one of the more splendid areas is known as Klein Venedig or Little Venice.Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Little Venice is a row of fishermen houses dating from the 19th century.  I’m not sure where the comparison to Venice comes from but it is striking.  Do you see a resemblance to Venice?
Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

The Regnitz river is a grand frame to these small half-timbered houses which are indeed very picturesque.

Maybe including gondola reminds us of  Venice! 

Gondola along Canal Bamberg Bavaria Germany

 

 

 

 

These photo’s are shared as part of Travel Photo Thursday.  For more great pictures, make sure to look into Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

Bamberg Beer Failure

Bamberg is a beautiful city famously known around the globe for beer.

Hopfen und Malz, Mai Gott erhalt’s! (Hops and Malt, May God preserve them!) is a common saying in this city which is home to 9 breweries.

Located in the northern Bavaria, Bamberg is home to 70,000 people and was the first stop on a recent trip to Europe.  In Bamberg plus Beer equals Dilemma I discussed the 9 breweries in Bamberg and mused about which ones I should visit.

Departing San Francisco I really had hopes of reaching all 9 breweries in Bamberg!  Lofty goal, I know, but I was still optimistic.

Alas that was not to be 🙁


By the time I arrived in Bamberg, I actually only had 1 ½ days to see the sights and drink at 9 breweries!  I hadn’t given up hope but the 95° temperature definitely played a roll in slowing me down.  Besides not really wanting to move quickly, I didn’t want food or beer.

Despite the adversity, I did make it to 3 – Ambrausianum, Schlenkerla and Klosterbrau!

Ambrausianum Beer Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Ambrausianum Beer

At Ambrausianum, I enjoyed a very nice Hell beer!  I enjoyed this wonderful nectar of the gods while sitting under an umbrella waiting for the brief rain storm to pass.  This is also the location that made me realize “I’m in Germany!”

Schlenkerla Beer Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Schlenkerla Rauchbier

Schlenkerla is home to a famous smoked beer called Rauchbier.  I had heard this beer tasted like bacon and wasn’t really very excited to try it but thought I had to do it!  My verdict, it didn’t taste like bacon and I actually really liked it!  I thought the smoky flavor complemented the other beer qualities.

Klosterbrau Beer Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Klosterbrau Beer

Klosterbrau is the oldest functioning brewery left in Bamberg and sits next to the Regnitz river.  After a morning of wandering the city I decided I needed to sit and have something to eat and drink.  Founded in 1533, Klosterbrau’s Pil’s was just what was needed!

I was disappointed that I didn’t make it to more breweries but this leaves the door open for my return!

There is so much beer in Bamberg and the breweries just touch the surface.

Next time I won’t neglect the Beer Kellers most of which sit high above the city and offer awesome views.  Fassla, Spezial, Mahrs and Wilde Rose are just a few of the Kellers that may make on my list the next time I visit Bamberg.

 

Have you set a travel goal that didn’t get met?

Bamberg plus Beer equals Dilemma

I have a dilemma and I am hoping someone will be able to help me out!

August 21 I land in Frankfurt Germany and head by train to Bamberg where I will spend the next 2 days visiting this picturesque Bavarian city on the Regnitz River.

Old Town Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Old Town from Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH

Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage City that is full of medieval churches, half-timbered houses, Baroque architecture and frescoed buildings.  The quaint, cobbled streets are bursting with outdoor cafes, bridges, shops and charming houses along the Regnitz River.

View of Bamberg Bavaria Germany

View of Bamberg from Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH

The vast cultural, architectural, religious and ancient history Bamberg has can be found within its well-preserved boundaries.

Little Venice Bamberg Bavaria Germany

Little Venice from Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmbH

But that is not all Bamberg is known for.

Beer aficionados will know Bamberg not for the aforementioned beauties but for the 9 breweries that call this village home.  According to the Bamberg tourist office these 9 breweries produce more than 50 types of beer!

This brewing tradition goes back 1,000 years and produces beers ranging from lagers, wheat, Gold Pils to the Rauchbier (a smoked beer).  These breweries have seriously been around a very long time.  Schlenkerla was first mentioned in 1405, Fassla was founded in 1649 and Klosterbrau has been brewing beer since 1533.  And that’s only 3 of them!

Rauchbier Spezial  Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

Rauchbier Spezial Bamberg, Germany by Ethan Prater, on Flickr

So what’s a girl supposed to do with only 2 days, 9 breweries and 50 types of beer?

How do I choose which ones to visit?   I’m hoping you can help but first here is a listing and brief description of the breweries in Bamberg:

  • Ambrausianum is the newest and smallest brewery in Bamberg.  It is a modern brew pub complete with copper brew kettles.

    Dominikanerstraße Bamberg Germany by barockschloss, on Flickr

    Dominikanerstraße Bamberg by barockschloss, on Flickr

  • Brauerei Fassla dates back to 1649 and is a family run brewery with a lively atmosphere.  Reminiscent of an older typical brewery, the large entrance doors are still there making delivery by horse and cart possible.
  • Brauerei Greifenklau is a small brewery that was established in 1719 by Count von Greiffenclau.  Today it is a lovely old tavern with a shady beer garden that has been owned by the same family since 1914.
  • Kaiserdom is the largest brewery in Bamberg.  The Wohner family has owned it since 1718.  Each beer you drink at Kaiserdom has its own style glass or mug.
  • Keesmann has been a family owned brewery since 1867.  This brew house has a modern flair to it but is still able to cling to tradition.  You will find a herd of deer heads on the walls in this pub.
  • Klosterbrau was founded in 1533 and has been in the Braun family since 1852.  It is the oldest functioning brewery in Bamberg.  This picturesque brewery sits alongside the river Regnitz.
  • Mahrs Brau was founded in 1679 and has been in the Michel family since 1880.  This traditional brewery still includes beer served from the wooden barrel.
  • Spezial was first recorded in 1536 and is housed in a beautiful half-timbered building complete with overflowing window boxes. Spezial is a classic pub with a traditional atmosphere that also serves a smoky beer.

    Schlenkerla Sign Bamberg by barockschloss, on Flickr

    Schlenkerla Sign Bamberg by barockschloss, on Flickr

  • Schlenkerla was first mentioned in 1405 and is home to the world famous Rauchbier, a beer made from smoked malt.  This traditional brewery tavern is popular and crowded.

If you’ve been to any of these breweries, let me know your thoughts.

If not, vote for your favorite brewery or two or three by leaving a comment below.

To Market, To Market

Farmers markets that is!


There are a lot of reasons I love summer but one of the best things (in my humble opinion) is the bounty of summer fruits and vegetables. And the best place to buy these goodies is at a Farmers Market.

With Summer officially beginning next week, its time to get out and spend some time wandering a local Farmers Market. . .  no matter where you are.

 

There is not a better place to enjoy a Farmers Market than in Europe!


The longer days and warmer weather of summer combine to produce a feast for your belly and eyes!  It seems each town in Europe has their own Farmers Market offering up a beautiful array of colorful fruits,

Farmers Market Bamberg Germany Fruits

Fruits in Bamberg Germany Farmers Market

Delicious vegetables,

Farmers Market Freiburg Germany Vegetables

Vegetables at Freiburg Germany Farmers Market

even some I’m not familiar with!

Farmers Market Freiburg Germany Carrots

Who knows what the long red vegetables are??

Plus a rainbow of colors from vibrant flowers!

Farmers Market Freiburg Germany Flowers

Colorful Flowers at Freiburg Germany Farmers Market

Farmers markets are a wonderful place to grab some snacks or items for a picnic lunch plus strolling the market is a great way to get out with the locals!

 

Do you visit Farmers Markets in Europe?

 

 

These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday! For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Colorful Buildings in Europe

With a history dating back thousands of years, its no wonder Europe is full of villages and cities whose streets are lined with colorful buildings.

 

These colorful buildings line rivers,

Bamberg Colorful Buildings GermanyBamberg Germany

Dress Up Old Town’s,

Mainz Colorful Buildings GermanyMainz Germany

Or are as colorful as their past!

Erfurt Colorful Buildings GermanyErfurt Germany

Some villages are even known for their beautifully painted buildings.

Mittenwald Colorful Buildings GermanyMittenwald Germany

 

No matter the reason they exist, the colorful houses found in Europe delight us all and help keep memories of our visit fresh in our minds.

Lucerne Colorful Buildings SwitzerlandLucerne Switzerland

These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday! For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

#FriFotos – Symbols

If you’ve traveled in Europe, I know you’ve seen the many Guild signs adorning the streets of most cities and villages.

Guild signs were traditionally a way for store owners to let the non-reading public know what kind of wares they sold.

While visiting Bamberg Germany you will most likely visit the Schlenkerla Brewery for some of their world famous Rauchbier (smoked beer). 

As you enter, you’ll see this beautiful Guild sign sitting out front.

Guild Sign Schlenkerla Brewery Bamberg Bavaria Germany

At the end of the sign, you see a six-pointed hexigram most of us call the Star of David. What you may not know is this symbol is actually a Brewing star!

So next time you see this symbol you might just be outside a brewery!

European Beer from Germany and Belgium

In Europe, beer seems to be a culture.  To understand this, all you have to do is visit a European brewery, English Pub or German beer garden!

Let’s briefly explore two countries that receive a lot of travelers seeking out their beer!


Belgium

Belgium is known to have many varieties of beer, by most sources, they have the largest selection of varieties in the world. The repertoire of beers found in Belgium include Wits, Dubbels, Tripels and Flanders and range in color from white, brown, red to golden.  The best known beers from Belgium are Lambics, Saisons and beers brewed in Monasteries.

Lambics are beers fermented with a special blend of yeast and bacteria or allowed to spontaneously ferment and then aged in oak barrels for years in some cases.  These beers tend to be sours and often contain fruit from the region in which they were made.  Lambic beers are specific to the Brussels area.

Frahan Belgium Ardennes

Frahan Belgium by Jean-Pol Grandmont

Saisons are another popular beer from Belgium and are also known as farm beers.   They have a distinct clove and banana flavor that comes from the type of yeast used.   As for the overall character, Saisons also have spices added to the mix which are known to include orange peel and coriander but the exact mix depends on what farm the beer comes from.

The Abbey of Chimay Belgium

The Abbey of Chimay by harry_nl, on Flickr

The last and most popular are the Dubbels and Trippels which are traditional beers made at Abbeys and Monasteries. Chimay is the most well known of these types of beers which is brewed with candy sugar and a good dose of malt and hops.  The result is usually a crystal clear, highly carbonated, balanced golden to amber beer with above normal alcohol (8-11%abv).  Travelers need to keep in mind many Trappist ales are not available outside of Belgium, so planning your visit is more important if you want to get a chance at tasting them.

 

Germany

Most people think Pilsner when they think of German Beer. Sure it was a German that started this style, in an area that is now the Czech Republic, but there are many more varieties from all over the country. In Germany, over 5,000 different types of beer are created by 1,250+ breweries which include well known styles such as Bock, Helles and, of course, the Pilsner.

Bock beers are usually dark, very sweet and malty beers while Helles and Pilsner are the lightest offerings differing in only their hop usage.  Helles beers are all about the malt but may have some subdued hoppyness to them.  Pils are balanced more to the middle of malty and hoppy but sometimes move over to the hoppy side.   Both are very light straw colored and brilliantly clear.

There are several other styles that are less known, but equally delicious!

Kolsch is ale from the Cologne region and comes from a time before lagers.  It is fermented warm and aged cold like a lager resulting in a malty, slightly hoppy and fruity Pilsner like beer.

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollernbrücke at Night Germany

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollernbrücke at Night by Nietnagel, on Flickr

Another similar style, the Altbier from Dusseldorf, is like the Kolsch in that it is fermented warm and aged cold, but it is darker and maltier than the former.  Altbier is usually copper in color, with some fruity notes that are given by the yeast used.  Did you know there are more than 200 pubs in a one square mile section of Dusseldorf’s Old Town?

The last and probably most unique beer is the Rauchbier found in Bamberg Germany.  This beer is a lager, fermented cold and aged cold, but what sets it apart is the use of malts that are dried in the traditional way over a fire.  This imparts a smoke character to the grain that is carried over into the beer.   Keeping the flavors in balance is the trick but they have it down in Bamberg a medieval town known for its 9 breweries!

Basing an itinerary around beer will take you through beautiful countrysides serving up castles, local history and great regional cuisine all while sampling some of these great local brews!

 

 

Would you enjoy a holiday based around beer?

Art Around Town – Statues & Fountains

I’ve got good news for those of you that don’t like museums!  To see art you don’t have to enter a museum.

Walking around a town you will run into all kinds of interesting and beautiful pieces of art.  As with all art, they can and do evoke all kinds of feelings and are a great way to learn a little history including who or what is important to the citizens.

I’ve found Statues and Fountains  wandering Europe that . . .

Honors Brave Deeds as the the Girondist column and fountain in Bordeaux France!  This beautiful column celebrates a small group of revolutionaries who banded together to save the republic.

Girondist Column Bordeaux France

Added to the peace and beauty of a garden as do all the statues and fountains found in Mirabell Gardens.  These Gardens are one of  the most popular places in Salzburg Austria and the artwork really adds to the beauty of the gardens (IMO)!

Mirabell Gardens Salzburg Austria

Told a tale of unrequited love depicted in the lovely Matthias Fountain found on Budapest’s Castle Hill.  The Fountain depicts a hunting scene where the young King met and fell in love with a peasant girl.

Matthias Fountain Budapest Hungary

Honors a beloved ruler like  Kunigunde.   King Heinrich and his wife, Kunigunde, made Bamberg their home and are one of Bamberg’s favorite rulers.

Kunigunde Bamberg Germany

Impressed me with the artistic ability of the craftsman.   At the southern entrance to the Hofburg Palace in Vienna Austria are statues depicting “The Labors of Hercules” by Lorenzo Matelli.  I found them all to be amazing and this is just one!

Labors of Hercules Vienna Austria

Even add a lighthearted feel to a city street.  Look who I ran into on a corner in Potsdam Germany – The Green Family! No clue what the significance is, I just found it interesting 🙂

Green Family Potsdam Germany

Even if you’re someone who doesn’t feel they like art, I think we’ve all been impressed by some of the Statues and Fountains we’ve stumbled into while traveling.

 

What Statues and Fountains have impressed you?

 

These pictures are part of Travel Photo Thursday! For more great pictures,make sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

European Lodging – The Choice is Yours

George Bernard Shaw said “The great advantage of a hotel is that it’s a great refuge from home life”. This too true statement is indicative of why the choice of hotel when traveling is so difficult and important!

Luckily Europe has many different lodging options which will add to the enjoyment of your escape! Here are a few that I’ve been lucky enough to have stayed at.Alpenrose Hotel Mittenwald Germany

Hotels can be wonderful traditional guest houses like Gasthof Fraundorfer in Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Hotel Alpenrose in Mittenwald Germany. Make sure you know whether they have elevators and are prepared for stairs if they don’t! Also make sure you know whether there is a bar or restaurant on the first floor. This may mean it may be a bit noisier than expected.View Schloss Hotel Rheinfels Germany

They can be Luxury class beauties set on the shores of an equally beautiful lake as with Palace Hotel on Lake Lucerne and Suisse Majestic Montreux Switzerland or seaside in the Hotel du Palais Biarritz France or even have amazing views of rivers like the Schloss Hotel Rheinfels in St. Goar Germany. I don’t have the opportunity to stay in luxury hotels often since the price is not usually in my budget but can say I’ve enjoyed staying in luxury accommodations even if I wonder if they are really me.

Gasthof Fraundorfer Garmisch-Partenkirchen Germany

Gasthof Fraundorfer by Q-BEE, on Flickr

There are 4 star large basic properties conveniently located for train travel such as the Intercity Hotel in Mainz and Hotel Excelsior Erfurt Germany. Not usually my first choice but I really did enjoy how close they were to the train station and the city centers of both were easily reached.

Green hotels like Hotel Victoria Freiburg Germany which boasts they are the “most eco friendly hotel in the world” and they just might be! All electricity and heat come from renewable sources like solar, wind and wood pellet heating. The thermal solar panels on the roof and the natural materials used throughout hotel make for a wonderful experience and the Victoria is also convenient to both the train station and city center!BarockHotel am Dom Bamberg Germany

Historic architectural treasures in perfect locations – Old Town city centers – but not completely convenient for train travel BarockHotel am Dom Bamberg Germany and Kasererbraeu Salzburg Austria. The beautiful building housing the Barockhotel dates back to 1520 while the Kasererbraeu is from 1342 and was once a monastery and brewery before becoming protected by UNESCO!

Hotels I’m glad I read the online reviews of so I wasn’t completely frightened by the entrance, Panorama Central in Budapest. A wonderful oasis once you got inside but honestly a little unsettling getting to! Moral to this story, READ online reviews!

Known for its history and spa, Schwarzer Bock Wiesbaden. I’ve been lucky to stay here two times and can say this is one of my favorite hotels. Dating back to 1486, the Schwarzer Bock is a classic beauty- luxurious and yet very comfortable. And in a wonderful location!

Hotel I fell in love with because there was a heat wave and it was air conditioned refrigerated, Grauer Baer Innsbruck! I would stay at this property again because it was very convenient to Old Town and train station.

While my preferred type of lodgings are guest houses and architectural and historic beauties, in some way, all of the hotels I’ve stayed in have added to my enjoyment and experience I had in their cities and villages.

What do you look for when choosing a hotel for your trip?