Our Viking Atla longship docked in Hassfurt this morning. This port doesn’t show up on my official Viking travel literature but Bamburg does, and that’s really where you spend your day after a short bus ride. Meanwhile, the Atla travels along to meet up with the touring passengers at Bamberg at our day’s end…
Bamburg is a university town and I could feel its vibrance from the moment I stepped off the bus. One immediate clue is the visibility, once again, of bicyclists swirling around pedestrians in a fast shimmer of spinning spokes. Not so many, of course, as in Amsterdam (I don’t think there’s any place in the world with as many two-wheeled vehicles as Amsterdam), but still enough to get my alert up and keep me looking over my shoulder a fair amount.
It seems to me (from my huge experience in these things…ha!) that Bamburg, as opposed to Rothenburg and Miltenburg, combines the two parts of town (modern and medieval) in a closer blend. While there’s the ancient Rathaus (town hall) astride the river running through town, I stepped a half block away and enjoyed some shopping at a very modern shop featuring ultra-contemporary household furnishings and accessories.
The Viking walking tour in Bamburg is about 1.5 hours and covers the territory from the Green Plaza (farmers’ market plaza) to the Dom (I have just learned that’s the German word for “cathedral”) up on the hill. Bamburg is said to have been built on seven hills, as Rome was. You return to the same plaza at the end of the afternoon to catch a bus trip to our newly-relocated ship.
Our tour took us up one of those hills—and Mom and I added to our hill count with a continued trek up the next hill to the old monastery. Yes, it’s a bit of a steep walk, but the views are magnificent from up there (and they’re pretty fine already at the Dom and neighboring New Residenz’ Rose Garden out back). Walking back down from the monastery (which is now used as a home for senior adults), we opted for a small trail (we took the road heading up there), passing through a small orchard then down to the River Regnitz.
Exploring along the river we admired the (expensive, but so old) homes along the water (like Amsterdam, but definitely doesn’t look like Amsterdam) and even spotted a swan family with their grey offspring almost full grown.
Outdoor cafes abound in every city we’ve visited (remember how amazed I was with them way back in Haarlem?) and we’ve stopped at a few. Today’s afternoon break in Bamburg was at a cafe in the center of a bustling plaza. Mom opts for the sugar-free Coke; today I had an espresso. How much more European can these two California ladies get?
If you’re visiting Bamburg with a Viking river cruise, you can count on lots of ATM machines near the old town part of the city which you’ll be in the most. You’ll also hear about the locally famous (or perhaps, infamous) smoky beer. The highest acclaim I heard about this distinctive brew (the barley is “burned” before used for the beer-making) from fellow passengers was that, “It wasn’t that bad.” You decide if you want to sample it.
I chose to purchase a pastry instead (as if I’m not growing sufficient “love handles” on my own with the delicious and varied meals on the Atla). And, since I seem to have a photographic theme going on here (look for my newest exhibit, “Edible Treats Posed With Medieval Towns”), I took a picture. Mom looked at the photo and commented that she was happy her fingernail polish was holding up so well since she’s the “hand model” for this soon-to-be-acclaimed photography series.