Advantages a beautiful town with a cosy atmosphere
Last summer I was in Bamberg, a town of about 70.000 inhabitants (plus 10.000 students during term time) in Upper Franconia which forms the northern part of the German land Bavaria because I had never been there before and had heard good things about it.I went there by train, from experience I know that only big German cities have a tourist information office in the central train station, smaller cities and towns have it somewhere in the centre. This is silly because in order to find it, the tourist may pass sites without realising it or maybe realise it but not know what they are. If there are signs in the station and along the streets indicating how to get to the tourist information office as quickly as possible, the town council can be (partly) forgiven, the situation in Bamberg is so absurd, though, that it is unforgivable.
I’ll begin with the end of my stroll, half an hour before I had to get back to the station I found the darned thing, when I complained, the woman behind the counter looked as if she had heard the same words before. I said that I had come from the station and passed sites I would have liked information on when I saw them and not later. She replied unmoved, “Bamberg is so beautiful, it doesn’t hurt the tourists if they walk around on their own for a while and have a look. Moreover, the ones that find us are enough for us to handle.” Have you ever heard anything like that? I insisted that there should be a sign at least near the bridge one has to cross, she said there was one, but the tourists didn’t see it. Going out I looked again, there isn’t one, the woman lies! Thanks to the net I had consulted at home and thanks to some information boards put up beside famous sites and, not to forget, friendly and helpful Bambergers I wasn’t completely lost.On the way to the centre I crossed a bridge spanning the Main-Donau (Danube) canal *and* the right arm of the river Regnitz as I could read on a plate. I was puzzled, either it was a canal or an arm of the river but not both. Later, when looking at a map, I learned the answer, Bamberg lies on the Regnitz, a tributary of the river Main (the one which flows through Frankfurt), the oldest part of the town is on an island formed by the two arms of the Regnitz, one of these was made into a canal which is used by small barges, the other is in its (more or less) natural state and not navigable.
The first site I came to was the Maximiliansplatz (Maximilian Square), named after King Maximilian I of Bavaria, the fountain on the square is dedicated to him. One side of the square is open, the three other sides have mainly baroque buildings from the 18th century, the New Town Hall among them. When I was there on a Tuesday, the square was empty, but it is used for open air markets, every Saturday there’s a farmers’ market and in December you can find the Christmas market there.A bit further on the street widens and forms ‘Green Market’, a rectangular place which had fruit and vegetable stalls when I was there.
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