Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Europe 2011 - Day 9 - Haßfurt/Bamberg
Yummmmm. Breakfast was awesome. I tried the Swiss Bircher Müsli and it was a very new flavour I've never had before. The Franconian sausages and the yogurt they serve daily at the boat's restaurant are amazing.
Our boat was docked at Haßfurt and we had to take a 45 minute drive to get in to Bamberg. We walked around the downtown area starting down Lange ßtrasse, where we passed a statue of Leopold II, into the Green Market where we got to see an interesting statue of Neptune/Poseidon. The tour guide explained how most locals wouldn't know the Neptune reference and would probably only recognize it as the man with the fork. Hahaha.
Bamberg is relatively unscathed from the effects of World War 2 compared to other cities as it was not a primary target for bombing.
The first stop on our city tour was a bridge beside some castle building with a set of bridges? I wasn't really paying much attention to the tour guide and really been tuning out. I think I've been to enough cities where the general history isn't really interesting anymore unless there's some weird backstory.
The funny thing about this building is that there are images painted on the wall, but on one of the paintings of a person, there is a wooden leg that sticks out from the building (where the leg would be in the painting). It looks absolutely demented and funny at the same time.
We visited the site of the first beer garden/cellar(Beer Keller) that created the smoked beer (Rauchbier), the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, which has been open since 1405. Also, our tour guide showed us and recommended a bakery (bäckerei), the Bäckerei Seel. We worked our way up the cobblestone paths up to the imperial cathedral of Bamberg, the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Georg (Dom St. Peter und St. Georg) and to the unfinished palace, the Diözansemuseum Bamberg/ Der Dom zu Bamberg. The palace is unfinished (in the shape of an L) as the duke/prince who was building it ran out of money (it was supposed to be U-shaped). It is now known as the New Residence Bamberg (Neue Residenz Bamberg). Our tour ended in the Rose Garden of the New Residence Bamberg where could have a panoramic view of the city.
Before we went back to the boat, we stopped by the beer house to have a taste of the Rauschbier. It's described as tasting like smoked ham and that for most people, they wouldn't like it after the first two tastes and that they would only start to like it after the third try. This idea was reiterated by the local German lady that my dad was sitting across from (who spoke no English) trying to explain that idea using hand signals and thumbs up/thumbs down. I took a sip and I liked it. I didn't really taste the super smoky taste, it seemed like just a hint of smokiness for me, but rather it tasted like a really dark beer.
We also stopped by the bakery the guide recommended and we couldn't really read any of the signs so we just pointed at random cookies and pastries that we liked. Deeeeeelicious.
Back on board, I enjoyed my lunch with the best fried fish/tartar sauce I ever had. They listed it as breaded fillets of coal fish served with sauce remoulade. Yum. After all the food I've been stuffing myself with, I did a light workout with my sis and mum on the elliptical. Though after that, I went back to the lounge with my sis to partake in high tea and eat some scones. Heehee.
I finally got to experience the essence of river cruising when I finally went to the top deck to take a look at the boat going through the process of transferring between the river locks (to a different height of the river). The second part of the essential river cruising experience is to duck when the boat passes by, or rather goes under, a low bridge. I pretty much had to be down flat on the ground in order to not get hit. =D
I've been impressed with the cooking on the boat so far, but I think tonight was a one off. There was some weird issue with the kitchen (I'm guessing) as no tables were receiving their entrees for what seemed like an unusually long period. After the kitchen finally got the food out, I was less than thrilled with my duck breast.
I am hoping that this will be the exception as I've been thoroughly satisfied (prior to tonight) with all the delicious food (that I know I am probably sounding like a broken record of how delicious everything is ;]).