I actually thought a lot about whether I would write where we live in Germany hence the long delay. Who knows why? Will the many visitors to this site try and stalk me were I to reveal the town we live in? Good luck with that, especially given I still find it hard to find my own way home.
Once I wrestled with this momentous decision I decided this is ridiculous. I am a somewhat grown up man and I should know my way home. Oh, and I should also just write about where we live as it is an interesting topic (I hope). It is also a son of a b*&^ subject to avoid when your blog is all about adapting to and living in a foreign country.
We live in Bamberg, Germany. This will mean nothing to most people. In the last 11 years I have told many people where Eva is from and more recently, where we are moving to. I don’t know what that number is as I focused more on the number who had actually heard of Bamberg. Ruling out Germans, there were only two people who knew of Bamberg. So, a little about Bamberg…
Bamberg is located where the map thing below should be pointing to in Bavaria Germany. It is in the best German State in all of…Germany. At least that is what I am told Bavians think and part of the reason why the rest of Germany dislikes their southern countrymen. Bavaria is where the majority of German stereotypes arise, from Oktoberfest, giant beers served by pony tailed big breasted women, BMW and of course lederhosen.
Bamberg is spread across several hills which has led to it being called the “Franconian Rome”. A “common” joke is that Rome is the “Italian Bamberg”. Though the audience for the joke is low given one first must know of Bamberg and know about the seven hills in Rome. My audience for that joke is two at best.
Is Bamberg a city or a town?. The population is just over 70,000. I don’t know the exact size/number it needs to be a city. A few sites seem to say it is a town and others say city. I am going to go with town as per Wikipedia, the fountain of all knowledge. Bamberg just does not feel like a city. It seems small, compact, cozy and there are no modern day sky scrapers ruining the skyline.
Bamberg is a great surviving example of an old medieval town. Unfortunately there are no knights in shining armour running about and fortunately there is no open sewers. However, It does have one of the largest surviving old town centres in Europe and as such has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I just want to clarify when us Europeans (I am one now as of 11 days and counting) talk old, we mean old. In this case some of the buildings still standing in Bamberg are over 900 years old. New Zealand was only discovered by Europeans 374 years ago.
Some sites of Bamberg
Altenburg is a castle, yep I live by a god damn 900 year old castle. “By”, being a 10-15 minute drive but how close are you to a castle? White Castle, a sand castle or those chess pieces that look like a castle do not count.
Altenburg sits on the highest of the seven hills above Bamberg. Due to it’s prime position, it provides wonderful views back over the city.
This is not a history blog as I don’t want to do lots of research like at University, but I do have to mention that castle had a bear living in it. His name was Poldi and the done thing was to visit him and feed him boiled eggs. As weird as this alone is, the shocking thing is that Poldi was a relatively recent resident from 1952 to 1982. Oh to live in a castle and be serenaded with eggs, the dream…
Bear aside, the coolest thing about Altenburg is that Eva and I got married there. Insert dad joke about Poldi being the ring Bearer.
This translates to the Old City Hall and old it is, built in 1386. The building sits in the middle of the river Regnitz and is located in the old town centre. The price is right to visit from the outside, i.e. free, as it is located on a common walkway and they can’t hide it.
The building is beautiful, fairytale like and probably the most readily identifiable building of Bamberg. If you know anyone who has visited Bamberg (and you don’t), you would have received a post card with this on it.
Sadly there was no egg eating bear living in the building. A legend started by me now says that there was however a lebkuchen eating moose by the name of Boris. Sounds as plausible to me as the bear.
Germany and Bavaria specifically have a reputation for good beer and plenty of it. Bamberg is almost at the apex of this reputation. Bamberg has 9 breweries which must be some kind of record for the population it supports. If you like Beer, it is cheap, plentiful and there is a lot of types and breweries to grow your beer belly with.
Unfortunately this is wasted on me as I am not really a beer fan. I can and do drink the stuff and it does become somewhat enjoyable as I become more inebriated. It just doesn’t taste good to me. If beer flavour truly tasted good, where is the beer flavoured ice cream or beer flavoured sweets? I suspect they are sitting with the cough mixture flavoured ice cream, tequila flavoured sweets and black jelly beans that no one likes.
The good thing for me is it is always close at hand to help me with my German. I am not comfortable in meeting new people or in large groups of said new people. In Germany this is ratcheted up by a factor of 100 due to the language. Beer helps as it loosens my tongue (for talking) and I speak without as much stress as I would sober. Unfortunately this does not help for all situations as I cannot chug a beer at a job interview or every time I buy a train ticket, or could I?
Prost und bis zum nächsten Mal