Saturday 6 October 2012

Bamberg, Crispenhofen, and Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The view from my room in Berchresgaden. The Eagles Nest is on the top of that mountain in the middle.
After my expensive stay at Berchresgaden (the town in the valley next to the Eagles Nest) I headed to Bamberg. It was about 380km north on some smaller roads at first, and then onto the autobahns to cover the last part. There was some light rain for half of the day, but it wasn't too cold just yet, I had all my warm layers on and when I did stop at one point I was shivering, but once I got back on the bike I was good again.

I had researched some places to stay in Bamberg and found the cheapest to be a Backpackers place just north of the old centre at 27euros a night. I headed there first but found no one inside. A few other guests had turned up but no one knew where anyone was, the phone numbers they had listed didn't work either. I waited around for about half an hour until someone turned up (we weren't sure if they were another guest or not) and everyone started the process of checking in slowly. They asked me what I wanted (sort of obvious, I thought) and I asked for a room, but then they looked at me funny and asked if I had a reservation. Of course I didn't and then I found they were fully booked (the other guests made reservations). I waited around for so long for that! I asked if there were any other places around the same price and the answer, while still looking dumbfounded that I hadn't booked in this town, was that there were none. Right... It was a Saturday after all, but I can't remember the last town I'd been in where I actually had to book in advance.

I went across the street to a smaller hotel, asked the price, 35euros which was OK, and then asked if they had any rooms free, which was a no. I spent the next hour on this side of one of the rivers wandering round trying to find a vacant room and there was nothing below 79 euro and I wasn't going to pay that. I went to the other side of the river and found the prices to be in the 89euro+ range, but no vacancies. And then I started to worry a little that I may not find anywhere here and it was getting late. I headed back out of the city a little and saw a place with rooms for 25euro advertised, but above a row of sex shops so I'm guessing that one wasn't for your normal tourists. There was another one above a bowling alley for 20euro a night but it looked full. Eventually I found a McDonalds I could get online with and check to see if I could book via my usual websites, and there was nothing on any of the five sites I tried. I gave up looking for a hotel and headed towards the camping place out of town (but around 15euro to camp, and I didn't want to because the task here was to drink a lot of beer) and along the way I noticed another pub/hotel on the way. I went in and asked if they had a room, and they only had one four bed room left, but they'd give it to me for the single room price of 35euro! Success!

That's has been the hardest day of looking for accommodation I've had on this trip.

My home for three nights. Excellent food and beer in the pub too, and a bus right outside to the centre. The lady running the place was extremely helpful too, rivalling the helpfulness of the Noom guesthouse in Lopburi, Thailand! I'm coming back to this town and I'm staying here again.
So I was in Bamberg for one reason, and that was the beer.

Klosterbräu Schwarzbier

Schlenkerla Marzen, straight from the wooden barrel (Excellent!)

Mahrs Bräu

Brauerei Spezial

Before they brew the beer here they smoke the malt before brewing it and it gives it a taste like bacon or sausages or bacon sausages. Possibly the best invention ever. I was able to get it in bottles in Melbourne so I had to come get it from the source! But I was about two weeks early to get the Urbock from Schlenkerla, that was my favourite in the bottle but they only start serving it for winter. Well now I just have to come back...

There were of course other things in Bamberg, like really awesome food (check the facebook photos), but there were some buildings too.

A typical street in the old city.

The town hall built over the river.

Some more buildings along the river.

Strange art in places...

A building built in an Italian style apparently.

An old building.

To keep the window shutters open most buildings had these.

The side of the town hall.

Old houses along the river.

A car show/rally that happened to be parked in the central square.

Placing locks on the bridge, some people overdo it though. Also handcuffs.

More buildings along the water.

The main church, and like all religious buildings everywhere I've been lately , covered in scaffolding. 

The side door to the church.

Schlenkerla. It was 2.50 euro for a beer, but you could also buy bottles for 1.20euro each...
The that drunken adventure I headed west to Crispenhofen to stay with a German family Drew and I had met in Turkey. It wasn't far so I decided to take some back roads along the way, but first I had headed south to Nuremberg to visit the Heine Gericke or Louis motorcycle shops to repair my heated grips. These shops have every motorcycle thing you would want in them!

Replacing the bad control module for the heated grips.
Outside of Nuremberg I got off the Autobarn and ended up in a small town. I had accidentally entered the main city area and I didn't want to be there so I was navigating the one way streets out. I stopped at a corner to check which was the best way out of there and then just moved off when I heard a yelling behind me. I stopped and it was another Australian who had run down the street to catch up and talk because he noticed the AUS sticker on my bike!

Dave and Brett are from Brisbane and have had their bikes overseas for 7 years! They go back to work but come back over every holidays to ride around a little bit more. This year they were renting a nice house in this small town from friends so they could make repairs and service the bikes in preparation for their trip into Iceland and North America next year. They had started this with a 7 month trip from the UK to Korea, and then went back the other direction and since then have been travelling all around this part of the planet every time they get holidays. It was the first time they'd seen another Australian bike overseas which is why Brett had run after me in the middle of the town!

My bike, with two bikes from Queensland, all the way over here in Germany!
We talked travel stories for a little bit but then they had to go and finish packing as they were heading out the next day to their next storage spot and then going back to Brisbane in a few days.

After this brief stop I started heading west again towards Crispenhofen. I had hoped to stay on the smaller roads but the GPS kept directing me back to the autobahn, and it was getting later in the day so I stopped fighting it and just took the faster road!

And now I'm staying with Gunter, Karen, Jan and Vera on their small farm in a small village! They say that everything is far (5km+) and they live in the countryside (a bigger town is just over the hill in the next valley), it's very strange to hear that as an Australian...

Watching the cows get fed.
The day after I got here was the Reunification Day when the wall came down in Berlin. I hadn't realised this, but since the family had the day off they took me out to Rothernberg for some sightseeing.

A wooden bridge on the outer wall of the city.

Beer and armour! 

One of the four towers in the centre section of the town.

A street in the centre.

A giant nutcracker outside of one of the Christmas shops in the town.  There were lots of handmade tree ornaments in this  shop. So many. So shiny. So many Christmas things.

Armour and weapons used to defend the town.

To the Dungeons.

The town above the river.

Side of the church.

Inside the church. It costs 2 euros to go further into it.

Another of the inner towers, this side from the outer wall.

The wall which you can walk along. When the town needed defending the residents by each section of wall would defend their part.

From the wall, a view up to the church in the middle.

A fountain.

I see that evil teddy bear staring at me....
While I've been here I've done some work to my bike, changing bearings, fixing up a few other little things. But while I was changing the bearings all the lifting of the rear wheel hurt my back, so now I'm resting it! I've started applying for jobs while here. No good responses yet, but I'm picking carefully as most jobs look like they pay very poorly compared to Australia.

Tomorrow or the next day I'll get going again and make my slow way towards the UK. It's not far from here, but there's a bit to see in between here and Calais.

And now an air-raid siren is going off... 


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  2. still following you along,you have given us some great ideas when we hit europe
    cheers clive and chris