Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finally Bamberg

We haven't been up to much lately.  School, work, life keep us busy.  Plus the weather hasn't been great.  In fact, I was starting to wonder if we were done with nice weather until NEXT summer!  Fortunately, the past two weeks we've had sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures so on Columbus day we drove up to Bamberg, a city that has been on our radar for a while.  Lots of people just love Bamberg!  For some reason, it was bigger than I expected and more modern.  I think because a lot of people seem to equate it with Rothenburg and then to me it wasn't anything like that.  But it is a beautiful city!

I will never tire of window boxes, climbing vines, and beautiful houses.  Although I've been pulling out a ton of ivy at home and I don't think I ever want it on my house!

The first church we happened upon was St. Martin and I didn't realize it was a church at first.  Why does this remind me of Indiana Jones??

I'm starting to be able to tell if something is Baroque or Rococco or whatever. But it does make me wish that I had taken an art history class in college.  I'd love to know more details about what we see.  It's all beautiful. 

In one of the main squares there was a statue of Poseidon and his trident. The square was also filled with flower and vegetable stands and because it was lunch time, we stopped and got some crepes from a cart.  I make the kids crepes at home but food always tastes better from a cart!  Why is that?  Probably because I didn't make it.

They were really excited about the edible waffle cookies plates too.

We then walked down by the Rathaus.  It sits right in the middle of the Regnitz river.  In the middle ages, one side of the city on river was the ecclesiastical side and one the civic side.  The rathaus had to administrate both sides and so it's placement was literal and symbolic.

Then once you get over the bridge and look around, you have the attached half-timbered house that is the main postcard scene for Bamberg.  Because it was a Monday, the museums inside were closed but the outside was fantastic!

We then walked over the the courtyard of the Geyerswörth Castle that was built in 1585 as a residence for a prince-bishop.  Today it seemed to house administrative offices and had a bathroom for the kids to use!

Fall is so spectacular!

The kids pick up leaves, nuts, acorns, pinecones, rocks, etc. They love being outside and collecting whatever catches their eye.  This is a buckeye but of course that's not what it is, I just can't remember what it really is!

Hi mom!

Bamberg is on and among seven hills so we were up and down all day.  After our bathroom break we headed up to the Cathedral (Dom).  Built originally in the 1000's and rebuilt after 2 fires in the 13th century, it is the only cathedral in Germany to house a dead pope and unfortunately, we couldn't really see his tomb much because of the restrictive ropes but he is in an actual tomb and not a dressed up skeleton (which we have seen elsewhere).

The stone masons for this cathedral must have enjoyed their job.  This one is headless.

This is the famous Bamberger rider -- a king carved by an unknown carver.  I feel bad for the guy who thought he would live in infamy through his art and now is completely unknown!

The girls LOVE candles in the churches. I don't entirely understand the significance although I believe it has something to do with remembered your deceased love ones.  I think they are more entranced by the atmosphere of a quiet, beautiful church lit by candlelight, but on occasion I let them light one and count it a donation to the upkeep of the building.  

On one side of the door, the statues are being led to Hell.  On the other side, they're entering Heaven.  I thought their faces were great!

Then on the Domplatz you have the Old Imperial Court around the old Diet (deet) hall that was the seat of government for about 500 years starting in 1085.

And next door is the New Residence that was begun in 1697 and I didn't take any pictures of the exterior because it wasn't cool enough!  But we did go inside for the tour.  Apparently, the building was built for some of the prince-bishops (I really need to learn my history) but they never came so it only ever housed royal guests and wasn't permanently lived in.  The main hall is still used today for concerts and things and they have an art gallery on the second floor that had a variety of interesting European art.

Have I mentioned before that my children are amazing?  They don't love the museums and castle tours and churches but they don't mind it either and are usually very very good.  I'm not sure how that happened!

Ok so this is William REALLY picking his nose.  And then when I got on his case about it, he decided that he needed to pretend to pick his nose for every. stinking. picture. Little booger.  Literally.


 Hey whatever keeps them entertained I guess!

No pictures on the castle tour of course.  Outside there is a wonderful rose garden that still had quite a few blooms and amazing views over the city.

 Megan's favorite!

We walked up to another church called St. Michaels that is supposed to be fabulous but it was closed for renovation due to the risk of falling rock. SO then it was back down over the river and a look downstream at Little Venice.  Which I haven't seen big Venice yet so couldn't compare!

After a late Italian lunch (Chopper isn't a fan of German food so we actually don't eat it that often!), we bought some baby pumpkins for the kids and headed for home.

Chopper and I had a long conversation on the way home.  He's sad because exploring Europe doesn't feel like it once did.  We liked Bamberg a lot and had a great day but we didn't LOVE it.  But how much of that is because of all the amazing things that we've seen?  It's kind've like the difference between new love when you're dating/engaged/first married and then when you're 15 years end. It's awesome, but it doesn't necessarily have that spark of romance.

On the flip side of that, I love that we're in a position to lose that spark!  And I adore pretty much everything I see from the great cathedrals to the hike in the forest I went on today with friends.  It's such an amazing place!  Chopper loves it too, don't get me wrong, but he wants that spark back of new and exciting discoveries!  But we're not done yet! There are plans in the works for new and exciting discoveries.

Just a quick pic of eating lunch at school with William.  He seems to be doing pretty well.  I've had a conference with his teacher (stemming from his speech therapy) and she says for the most part he's good.  He has stopped asking to stay home and already his writing has improved significantly.  I think we're going to make it through kindergarten!!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Ulm on the Way Home

Our drive home day presented a few options and we chose to visit Ulm, the birthplace of Albert Einstein!!  We only had a few hours so we followed a walking tour in one of our books and discovered a beautiful city!
Red dog statue

The Ulm Münster is the 2nd largest Gothic church in Germany as has the tallest spire in the world.  It was started in 1377 but the steeple wasn't finished until 1890.  You can climb to the top on it's 768 stairs which we didn't do but I saw a picture of the inside and I'd love to do it sometime either without kids or when they're older.  The spire is open with lace work and supposedly on really clear days you can see the Swiss Alps.

This cathedral turned out to be one of our favorites ever.  It was gorgeous all through it but also some of it's details where magnificent and things that we hadn't seen before.  I loved this statue - the statues are usually religious figures and I don't think I've seen one this loving with teaching a child (which is how I interpreted it).

 My second favorite things about this place was the organ with the window framing the stained glass window on the outside.  Gorgeous!  Chopper loved how light and bright it was in the cathedral.  So many of them are really dark.

And then in the choir stalls they had amazing carvings.  Men on one side and women on the other.  I read that real women posed for these carvings in the 15th century.

Megan's favorite window

The kids were also wowed by this replica of the Münster made out of 112,000 legos.  Legoland is apparently about 20 minutes away which means that we'll be back in Ulm sometime . . . 

After the Münster, we walked down through the medieval fisherman's quarter.  Ulm is right on the Danube and the fisherman's quarter is full of canals and creeks and half-timbered houses.

That tower is Ulm's very own leaning tower.  I guess we don't need to go to Pisa!

The Danube

 The Rathaus.  Actually it was pretty badly damaged in the war.  It's wonderful to see that some many things have been restored and that history is preserved but it's also neat to see in cities how modern buildings have come in to replace ruined ones.  I think it's part of what gives Europe it's charm -- the eclectic mix of old and new.
We walked up to St. George's church because we saw a picture of it that looked fantastic.

Then we let the kids play at a park for a bit and got some early dinner and went on home.  We had a really good day!