On our very first full weekend out of quarantine, we decided to spend the day exploring. We didn’t even have our own vehicles yet, but boy, are we glad we took the chance for a day trip. (Little did we know we’d spend the next few months in strict lockdown.)
At that time, we could only visit cities that weren’t “red” on the RKI listing (Germany’s version of the Centers for Disease Control), and we weren’t able to stay anywhere overnight, so it needed to be a short drive, especially since we had a then-11-month-old. I had quite the time trying to find somewhere to visit that fit the bill. I had originally planned a day trip to Nürnberg, but the day before our visit, Nürnberg turned red, so I had to change course quickly.
Enter: Bamberg. A city that was honestly never on my radar until I quickly scanned a Lonely Planets guide to Germany in my desperation to find a place nearby to visit.
The entire city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is intersected with rivers and canals and was built on 7 hills. In fact, it’s known as “Little Rome.”
Although we would have preferred to take a bus tour around the city, getting off whenever we wanted, we weren’t allowed to ride public transportation due to virus restrictions, so our only choice was to walk. Unfortunately, Bamberg is hilly with lots of cobblestone streets (as is the case in most European cities!), so we had a heck of a time since Drew was in his stroller. Shout out to my studly hubs for pushing and carrying Drew’s stroller everywhere!
We visited St. Peter’s and St. George’s Imperial Cathedral, aka Bamberger Dom. It was originally built in 1012. Pope Clement II (a Catholic pope for all of 10 months from December 1046 until October 1047) is buried here. Fun fact, this is the only Papal grave north of the Alps!
We also went to The Old Court, built in 1185 to serve as the Bishop’s residence. The courtyard was so gorgeous that we did a mini “photoshoot” here by setting up the tripod for a few family pics. One of them even made the cut for the 2020 family Christmas card!
I cannot handle how adorable my sweet baby boy looks in the above photo!!
Across the street is the Palace of the Prince-Bishops, known as the New Residence. Sadly, it was closed due to the virus, so all we could see was the exterior.
We were still able to see the palace’s Rose Garden, although roses aren’t in season in Bavaria in late October, so it was a little sparse. Nonetheless, it was still gorgeous! We enjoyed sitting here for a minute, relaxing and watching Drew play.
On our way out of town, we drove over to Altenburg Castle. The castle dates back to 1109 as a refuge castle (a place where residents can flee to in case of danger.) Then, it served as a residence for the bishops for about 200 years, burned down in the mid-1530s, became a prison, and was purchased by a private citizen in the 1800s and then began a restoration process that lasted, oh, 100 years or so. Today, there’s a restaurant inside the castle, and you can also go on tours of the castle, which again was closed due to COVID.
I’m terrified of heights, so climbing up the watchtower for a view of the city below was not my idea of fun, but I did it anyway.
I’d love to revisit Bamberg in the future, although I definitely want to take the bus tour next time! And, of course, try the smoked beer.