Wurzburg… Smokey beer and Bratwurst’s…
It was a beautiful blue sky, but chilly morning for our short, hour plus ride to Würzburg this morning, we were really looking forward to staying with our friend Steven.
Steven is a fellow traveller, who we met up with in Malaysia and then again in Thailand and we kept in contact throughout both our journey’s, Steven got back from his trip a few months before our arrival into Wurzburg and was heading off to ride around Africa in a few days time even though Steven is young enough to be our son, we had a great connection with him as he shares our love of travel and interaction with people we meet on the road.
Even though we were guests of Steven’s it would be his Mums, Andrea’s apartment we would be staying in, we were really looking forward to this part of our journey through Germany, staying with a family always gives you a real insight the their country and customs.
The ride was just over an hour, but in that hour gloomy grey clouds appeared, with some blue sky playing hide and seek with the clouds.
We found Stevens home pretty quickly as Steven had gave us GPS coordinates.
As Clive unloaded the bike i rang the door bell, Steven greeted us with his usual smiley face, it was so great to see him, such a lovely young man, after a quick chat we took our gear up to his mum’s top floor apartment, (thankfully it was only 3 flights).
A lovely apartment, where Steven made us feel right at home and first thing he did was grab all our riding gear and threw into the washing machine, as Steven has been on the road before he knows just what was needed…
After a long chat and a few cups of coffee, we head into the city centre to meet up with Andrea, Steven’s mum.
No riding the bike this afternoon, we all piled into Steven’s car, and parked in an underground car park and came up into the market square “Marktplatz”, one of the first things you notice is the Chapel of St. Mary- 1377-1479, and was restored after 1945, the chapel is an unusual colour of red and red brick and white plaster its one of the most interesting late-Gothic Bavarian churches, and has the Virgin Mary at the top of the steeple.
Also around the square were many small shops, cafe and market stalls and one in particular that Steven was interested in, and that was the Brattwurst stall, Steven is a bit of a connoisseur of Bratwurst sausages and said these were the best he had ever tasted, so we had to try them to make sure he was right, hmmm… pretty good.
Wurzburg is set in the Franconian winegrowing region in Bavaria, is set idyllically on both sides of the river Main. It used to be home of the powerful prince-bishops, you can still see their legacy in Würzburg’s baroque architecture, its so amazing.
Although about 90% of Würzburg, including its churches, palaces, and historic monuments, were destroyed during the Second World War, the city has been reconstructed to its former splendour, we soon begin to realise our short time here will not be enough to enjoy the sights this city has to offer.
After experiencing our first real German sausage, we had a little walk around this beautiful old town, until it was time for us to meet up with Andrea who was finishing work for the day.
We were meeting Andrea on the busy old bridge “Alte Mainbrücke” and the sun came out for drinks as well.
After a warm welcome from Andrea, she informed us that having a glass of wine on this beautiful and romantic German bridge, is a tradition of the locals, plus you also get to enjoy fantastic views of fortress Marienberg on the hill that is surrounded by vineyards.
On both sides of the bridge are statues of Saints, we were overwhelmed with the beauty of this place or was it the wine?, No it was definitely the beauty.
This bridge is a fantastic place to meet up with friends and enjoy a few glasses of local wine and catch up, i can see why it is so popular.
Back to Andrea and Steven’s place where they made us a delicious dinner of home made German beefs rolls (not bread rolls) they were perfection on a plate, so tasty, sorry Steven but your mums cooking were better than those Bratwurst!
Steven wanted to checkout his new camping gear that he was going to take on his trip, so he set up camp on their veranda to test it out, for the night…
Upon going to bed we found chocolates on our pillows, Andrea said it was to give us sweet dreams, Germany we love your traditions…
After our ‘sweet dreams’, we woke up to the smell of coffee, we got up to find Steven was on his third coffee for the morning, Andrea had already left for work.
Steven was thrilled with his new camp gear, that was going to be put to good use on his trip around Africa.
Today Steven was going to be our guide and drove us to old town of Bamberg, which is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and extends over seven hills, each crowned by a beautiful church!
There is only one way to see and feel this old town and that is by Walking, Bamberg is an enchantingly beautiful architectural masterpiece with an almost complete absence of modern eyesores, Bamberg’s entire Altstadt (old town) and one of Bavaria’s unmissable places to visit, it is regarded as one of Germany’s most attractive settlements, the town is bisected by rivers and canals and was built by archbishops on seven hills, earning it the sobriquet of ‘Franconian Rome’.
The narrow medieval cobbled streets are full of charm, I feel like we have stepped back in time. Cafes, pubs and various small shops (all be it modern) blend into the streets and don’t look out of place, there are no fewer than ten breweries cooking up Bamberg’s famous Schlenkerla (smoke beer), Steven was keen for us to try one, me i wasn’t so keen, i’m not a big beer drinker and the thought of smoky beer didn’t appeal to me, but i will try it.
The Schlenkerla Tavern, was a busy place, lots of tourists and locals, the rooms in the tavern were dark with heavy wooden furniture, we were lucky enough to find a table by the window, tour groups, after tour group would stop and take photos of this famous old pub which is one of Bamberg’s most famous.
The Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer is still brewed here at the tavern and is still being tapped directly from the wooden barrel according to old tradition.
Clive and Steven ordered their ‘smoky beers’ and i thought i would have a sip before i brought one, when the boys beers arrived i did try it, but it wasn’t to my liking, so i had a very boring and had a lemonade.
Bamberg is a feast for the eye, we would definitely like to revist this area one day, what a brilliant day we have had, plus the sun shone for all of it, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Later that evening Steven and Andrea took us to ‘Backoefele’ Restaurant, which serves good traditional Franconian dishes with generous servings, it was a great evening with great company and the food was delicious, we did not leave disappointed…
The following day was more relaxed, although we did have to go into the city to get Andrea a birthday present, while in the city Steven took us to his favorite coffee shop where you pick your own type of coffee beans,wow it was strong coffee, if you weren’t awake when you went in you would be when you left… lol.
In the afternoon Clive needed to do an oil change and some much needed maintenance on the bike before we leave (which was the following day).
So the boys had an afternoon of bike maintenance, Steven was also getting his bike ready for his Africa trip, he had decided to go on a smaller engine bike this time (his last bike was a 650cc) and was in the process of building some luggage racks for it, the reason he chose the smaller bike was because he wanted to blend in more with the locals and not look like a rich westerner.
Later in the afternoon we were to meet up in the city with Andrea and her partner for cake and coffee, which is another great German tradition (i love German traditions, did i say that before?)…we met up in the town square at this amazing cafe, sitting outside enjoying the warm afternoon sunshine eating cakes (choosing the cake was a hard job…so much choice), coffee, cake and wonderful hosts, what a great way to celebrate a birthday.
That evening we were invited to continue the birthday celebrations at the home of Andreas parents, we were welcomed like we were part of the family, Andreas parents were so warm and friendly, we feel blessed to have been let into their home. Steven has very youthful looking grandparents and were fantastic hosts, we had a great evening chatting and eating the most amazing home made onion tart we have ever tasted, it almost brings tears to my eyes it was so good…!!!
It was served with some rather yummy homemade unfermented wine.
With great sadness the following morning, we had to leave, we were heading to the south of France to try and grab some warm weather and sunshine…
We would just like to say a sincere ‘Thank-you’ once again to Steven and Andrea Hoffman and their family, you are all truly generous, wonderful people, who made us feel so welcome, if ever you are planning a visit to our shores here in Australia, our door is widely open for you….X