February 14th, 2008 – by: ms_travelr
Rauchbier (smoked beer)
Every Febuary or March, my husband and I to go Austria for a week of skiing with friends. And every year we travel the same route through west Germany. This time we decided to leave a few days early and take a more eastern route. So out came the '1,000 Places To See Before You Die' book and laptop-website for UNESCO. Destination...Bamberg. The fact that this town is over 1000 years old appealed to me and it's reputation as a beer drinker's eden (over 30 varieties) to my husband. So after loading up the car, we headed out. After a day of driving through misty Germany, we finally arrived into alte stadt (old city center), found a hotel and headed out for dinner. That evening my husband had his first experience with Rauchbier (smoked beer).
I just had to have a sip and indeed, it tasted like smoke. Very interesting indeed. After a romantic evening stroll through the old medieval streets, we ended up in a very hip cafe full of university students. The university is not very old..founded in 1972 and has about 5000 students but it occupies alot of the old buildings. And I thought the university I had attended was old . Seeing that our hotel was beneath the steps leading up to the Cathedral, the next morning we just had to go exploring. It was like walking though the middle ages. The old courtyard (Alte Hofhaltung) was deserted and you could picture a medieval film being made here. The Romanesque to Gothic to Baroque architecture is so well preserved that it's no wonder it's on UNESCO's list.
like stepping back in time.
Of course, across the river and through the Altes Rathaus (old town hall) is the modern face of Bamberg
with it's wide boulevards and shops such as Esprit, H&M and Nike. Didn't spend much time there. The fact that it was outside the tourist season made this place even more pleasing due to the absence of large crowds. Of course some of the locals looked at us strangely (Dutch license plate) thinking we were lost since most Dutchies tend to stay on the well beaten path to Austria during the ski season. We definitely will be going back again one of these summers to enjoy the medieval festivals.