Visiting another country is always exciting and it’s been lovely for Thomas to show me places where he grew up and that are special to him. We had a great fast drive through the countryside to Bamberg in Bavaria to see my lovely friend Carmen.
I met Carmen when I was traveling around Canada at the beginning of last year. We met at the youth hostel and each purchased a 15 day Greyhound ticket and traveled to cold and remote places in the freezing winter together. Carmen tells me her main memory is of a mad Australian claiming she liked to live in her bikinis so went out in -33 degrees Celsius to prove it could be done. I didn’t think it was crazy. Just a fun thing to do. Maybe the Captain’s turned me sane all the same. He’s so sensible, (tongue in cheek).
Bamberg is a beautiful historical city with lots of classical Bavarian buildings to admire.
We found the hoards of multinational tourists interesting to watch as they followed their guides. I was thankful that I wasn’t amongst them and had my own personal native speaking guides in Thomas and Carmen.
On our first evening Carmen and I joined the local students in an evening of karaoke reminiscing about our times in Canada. Thomas looked on, cheered accordingly and provided constructive criticism. The perfect boyfriend. The next day we explored the town on our own and then met Carmen at her favourite ice cream parlour. Most tourists and locals were eating ice creams at this moment so we joined them. We sat on the bridge rail with a view of Little Venice, the fisherman’s part of the village from the past. It is a line of typical Bavarian houses with their balconies close to the waterline. They used to have the nets drying all over them, now they are covered in flowers and garden furniture. That evening we went to a colleague of Carmen’s place for a meeting and pizza.
We designed our own pizza and they were quickly cooked in the ‘pizza oven’. We met lovely people and one fellow, Andy, was ready to run away to join us on the boat. That’s a typical reaction we have found when we explain our circumstances.
We went for a trip out into the countryside on the Saturday looking for a lake to swim in. We didn’t find a lake suitable but we found a Biergarten through the woods, appropriately placed beside a church known for pilgrimages. As we drove through another village a brass band marched on the street as the local men sang and drank as they meandered to place a decorated tree at their sporting field. Love the meaningful traditions of the German villages. We ended up back in Bamberg at the river where swimming was catered for. We jumped into the freezing water, (we’re used to 31 degrees Celsius), and the current drove us quickly downstream where we had to swim to the side and go up the stairs. Carmen asked me if I’d like to repeat it. Hmm… That night we hit the town. We caught a live band with very young members who played some great covers. This set the mood for the 80’s dance party that followed. Lots of songs I didn’t recognise. Where was I in the 80’s? – obviously not in Germany. We all danced the night away. I haven’t had that much dance fun in ages. The Captain was a groover.
“Poverty has preserved our city,” we heard a nearby guide explain to his English speaking clientele when we entered the beautiful walled medieval city of Rothenburg. Too poor to rebuild or update, the old town has survived through the ages and industrialisation. It is really worth a visit and had never heard of it before. Thomas’ parents had taken the family there on the way to a lakeside holiday when he was a young lad. Perched on top of a hill, the city remains mainly intact. The surrounding countryside is green and lush providing wonderful views. We walked the wall as much as we could, explored parts of the inside of the wall, wandered through the streets eating a bowl of a variety of berries and local fruits and had a nice lunch at a cafe before heading back to Rade. more pics below…