Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany

Bamberg: A vision of pre-war Germany

I’ve finally figured out my plans for Thanksgiving- I’ll be going up north to Hamburg to celebrate with another Fulbrighter and some other Americans! I’m heading out right after my classes tomorrow to make it just in time for dinner. It’ll be really nice to be with other Americans, especially since I know everyone back home is getting together with their families and friends.Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, since it’s one of the few that isn’t so commercially based (even if the day right after it is), and more focused on appreciation and everyone being together.

After our lacrosse “team night” on Thursday, we struggled through practice Friday, and I went out with the two British teaching assistants in my town Friday night. Saturday, however, I wanted to do something a little bit different. There’s a Fulbrighter, who I met at orientation, currently living/teaching in Bamberg, a town about an hour east of Würzburg. I’ve been thinking about heading over there for a while, and all of the Germans I’ve told this to have emphatically recommended it.

Altes Rathaus (former town hall)

Würzburg was about 90% was destroyed in WWII just weeks before they surrendered to American forces. Würzburg was actually more completely destroyed than Dresden- for those of you who have seen the pictures, that’s hard to imagine. Bamberg, on the other hand, wasn’t touched at all due to a nearby artillery factory. So, many Germans idealize Bamberg since they feel it represents a typical German town pre-World War II. The whole town is actually a UNESCO world heritage site, which I think is pretty cool.

'little Venice'

Once I get in to the train station, my fellow Fulbrighter meets me there and we just walk around town for most of the day. The Altes Rathaus is beautiful, complete with paintings on the side. We also visited the Old Palace, the cathedral (of course), stopped at the lookout point, and walked along the river. Apparently Bamberg is known as Germany’s ‘little Venice’ and it wasn’t hard to see why with all of the houses and boats along the river.

Of course no visit to a German town is complete without sampling the local beer. I’m told that Bamberg itself has about 9 breweries and the area around it about 40 or so. Bamberg is best known for its Rauchbier, or smoked beer. It’s a dark beer and they dry the malt over open flames (hence the smoke flavor). If you’re more interested in the brewing procedures click here. As far as taste goes, the best way I can describe it is that it’s like drinking beer and bacon together, in one drink. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s all I’ve got. I enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not a beer you drink quickly or have five of in a night (at least not for me). Also, the tavern we went to have drinks at is 1. also a brewery and 2. one of the more famous ones in Bamberg (see picture below). It’s called the Schlankeria, just in case anyone’s planning on making a trip.

Bamberg was a really nice town to visit and I’m glad I got the opportunity to go. This week has gone pretty well so far. I had a ‘trial lesson’ yesterday at the language school in town because I’ve decided to… start taking French lessons. Yes, you read that right. I figured there’s a better chance of learning it here, in a closer vicinity to France, than at home. And why French you ask? I figure with public health it will be useful (Haiti, West Africa), and I enjoy learning languages. My language tutor looked like a scholarly Thierry Henry (hey, I’m not complaining). But the lessons really help my German as well since I’m learning French in the context of German (talk about confusing). Henry doesn’t speak any English so I’m forced to resort to German/French. We’ll see how it goes!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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November 24, 2010 Posted by | Germany | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments