Last Friday I took what I consider to be a pretty big step and went on my first solo day trip in Germany to the absolutely stunning little city of Bamberg. With the whole city being a UNESCO heritage site it's fair to say I had pretty high expectations of the Instagram and photo potential of the city and it did not disappoint.
With it's windy streets, red roofed buildings and beautiful authentic architecture (unlike Augsburg which I wrote about here, Bamberg was virtually untouched during the war!) makes you feel like you are in a walking in magical medieval secret fantasy. From the minute I crossed into the "Altstadt" I felt a sense of mystery and excitement that can only be described as my inner history geek running away with her imagination.
I didn't really know where to start since although I had read about Bamberg in various travel guides before I left, it was another thing to be standing by myself in the middle of a totally unknown city relying on the trusty google maps for navigation. What I did next will not surprise anyone who knows how I whittle away my Summers - I headed to the Tourist Information. Armed with a little walking tour book that I bought for only about 3 euros I decided to just follow the trail which took me around Altstadt, past the incredible Rathaus (town hall) and all the way up the hill to the Cathedral. After a peaceful wander round the Cathedral I moved on to a quick look round the gardens of the Neue Residenz which were absolutely beautiful. Filled with roses it not only smelled amazing but gave an incredible view over the city and all it's little red roofs.
After making my way back down the hill (and tripping in a spectacular fashion - best bit about solo day trips is nobody needs to know if you fall over. Unless you blog about it I guess...) I was determined to stay outside my comfort zone and find a traditional German restaurant for lunch. I finally decided on the Altringlein Hotel which I don't think could have looked any more German. If you want see more and check out their menu then click here! The portions were absolutely ginormous and the food was lovely! However it would be my first and last time trying Sauerkraut. Just not ma thang...
Now, Bavarian character has a pretty strong stereotype and part of this stereotype was confirmed in my time at Altringlein hotel as when I asked for a table for one, I was promptly told to sit down beside the other young girl who was also eating alone. I don't consider myself to be too stereotypically British yet this was a step too far. I sat awkwardly for an hour, watching this poor girl eat her food whilst maintaining total silence. I just panicked. I am sure if I was in an English speaking restaurant I would have dealt with the situation better and been able to make small talk about the weather (which is so so so so so cold at the moment fyi) or even progressed as far as to asking her about herself and why she came to be dining alone in a German tavern on a Friday afternoon. But, based off the few attempts at small talk I myself or friends have encountered so far in Germany I decided against it, for fear of making myself look even more strange than I already felt ordering a pigs shoulder and sauerkraut by myself. It's actually making me feel awkward and embarrassed just thinking about it.
With not much left to explore after lunch (I had strictly forbidden myself from looking in any shops) I walked back along the river, past what is considered "little Venice". Now I have never been to Venice so can't really comment but it was cute nonetheless. After that I just headed back towards the Hbf to catch my train home, feeling pretty accomplished with my little solo trip.
I like to think of myself as a pretty sociable person so spending the day wandering aimlessly by myself does not really sound initially like my idea of fun. Moreover the thought actually makes me a bit nervous, what if something went wrong. Funnily enough, something did go wrong quite spectacularly I might add. Train journeys as I have mentioned before are eventful in Germany as in that they are NEVER ON TIME but aside from that minor detail usually pass without excitement. I either take the opportunity to catch up on some probably much needed sleep or I plug in to my Spotify and zone out. My journey home progressed much like this until we got to Erlangen which is a smaller city just beside Nuremberg. They announced on the speakers that we would be arriving in Nuremberg shortly and I packed my headphones away and got ready to head towards the door. Then the train stopped. Pretty uneventful so far trains stop on the tracks all the time, maybe there was just congestion or a hold up further along the line. Twenty minutes passed. Pretty big hold up. By this point I had hot footed it to the door of the train so I could be first off and avoid the mad rush of people with cases getting on and off the train and already plugged my headphones back in and was nodding my head away to some poppy cheesy beat. I vaguely heard a message sounding over the speaker system so took one ear out to listen in catching only the words gebrennt and Einschuldigung (burning and sorry). Now when you learn a language, the swear words of said language don't normally form much of your school education in said language funnily enough. Yet I can now confirm that all of the main culprits that exist in English also exist in German if the passengers on my train are anything to go by. I was a bit
concerned to say the least. Biting the bullet and deciding that finding out if indeed anything was burning I turned to the lady beside me and asked her what was happening. "Something on the train is burning" was the reply I received. Happy days. To this day I still don't know exactly what was burning if indeed anything but the concerned staff and policemen walking briskly up and down the train and the eventual termination of the train at Nuremberg 40 minutes later might just suggest that there was. Let's be honest, it would only happen to me...
Bis Bald! XOXO