El blog de Jaizki

14 agosto 2006

Visiting Bavaria - Day 1

Last June I dedicated my post Visiting Biscay to my guests Josef, Ingrid, Tobias and Tanja. This month they've been my hosts, lodging me five days at their home. They live in Forchheim, a precious town located in Franconia, part of the state of Bavaria, in Germany.

I've been several days trying to write a post about the journey, but it seems to me that there're too many things to tell for one post, so I will write one different post for each one of the five days I spent there.

The landscape is incredible; wide valleys, green forests and small towns alternate themselves in perfect harmony. The forests reminded me of my native Biscay, not so the wide valleys, quite scarce here. But, with no doubt, towns were the most surprising thing to me. In all of them the traditional construction style is respected, buildings are no higher than three or four floors in the worst case. A true oasis when you live surrounded by masses of brick twice as high and with a complete lack of aesthetic criteria, in most cases.

Although Nuremberg is the closest airport to Forchheim, Josef told me that he could pick me up in Stuttgart or Munich also, whatever was more convenient. Finally, I flew with HLX to Stuttgart airport, not knowing that it's over 200 km away from Forchheim.

The journey started last Friday, August 4th. I landed at Stuttgart airport at 12:35 with some delay, the usual one when flying. Josef had seized the opportunity to solve certain work issues in Stuttgart and he was already waiting for me in the airport.

Josef gave me a ride through Stuttgart to have a look at the city, and we ran into a small traffic jam in our way out to Forchheim. At about three o'clock we could stop for lunch at a highway restaurant. That time, not strange in Spain, was quite late in Germany, where they usually have lunch at around 12:00. I was surprised to find, in that restaurant, cheaper prices than in Spain.

I'm not completely sure but I think we arrived at Forchheim around five o'clock. Ingrid, Tobias and Tanja welcomed me there. At that time it's custom in Germany to have coffee and pastries, something like the Spanish “merienda”. Ingrid had prepared a flavourful cake of which I did not eat more because my recent lunch, as usual in me, had been plentiful.

That afternoon, Josef and Ingrid took me to Bamberg (pictures), a really nice city listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. Their daughter Tanja and a friend of hers came with us, but as they were not very interested in the tourist visit, they went shopping.

There they showed me "Little Venice" (picture), the former neighbourhood of the fishermen; several timber houses built by the river, with their pillars inside the water. Unfortunately, we could not visit the inside of the cathedral (picture) because it was already closed. The Old Town Hall (picture) has a completely painted facade and is located in a little island in the middle of the river. This island is connected to both sides of the river by bridges. In one of those bridges you can find the statue of a former Bavarian queen, Ingrid told me her name a thousand times but I can't remember it. I beg her pardon.

So that I could know the truly typical places, they took me to Schlenkerla (pictures), the most famous and tourist brewery there. Bamberg is known by its smoked beer, that despite its peculiar flavour, I quite liked it. In fact, it tasted like the liquid version of a smoked cheese of my homeland, Idiazabal. For dinner, I shared with Josef one plate of pork (I can't remember it very well) and another one of sausages cooked in vinegar, both very flavourful. To tell the truth, I almost like everything, so I'm not a very good culinary critic.

After leaving Bamberg, we visited Forchheim (pictures). Forchheim city center (picture) is really worth a visit. In Forchheim main street there's a gate representing the passage of time (picture). There's also a really nice leaning house by the river (picture).

And from there we returned to Josef and Ingrid's place, where I went to bed to recover from the tiring day and to get ready for the following day.

Continues in Visiting Bavaria - Day 2.

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