A friend, LM, and I headed to Germany last Saturday. We first headed for Kelheim from Prague. Kelheim is an old German city between the Danube and Altmuhl rivers. It was already 30°C (86°F) by the time we got there. First stop: lunch. We had fabulous, large salads at the Schneider Weisse brewery and a quick look around the town square. By then, it was around 15h, and we were able to check into our hotel at the Cafe am Donautor, a family run restaurant and guesthouse.
After checking in, we went for a walk along the Danube. We were able to find some shade alone the way but it was quite hot! After visiting a cave church along the path, Klosterl im Bruderloch, we picked up flat stones from the river, and then headed back to town. While the river was quiet with people along the beach on our walk to the church, it was full of people in the way back! The current appeared to be carrying them downstream. They were on all sorts of floating contraptions from canoes, paddle boards, inflatable ducks and mattresses, etc. It looked like a pleasant way to cool off. The water was too low for the boats to run from Kelheim to the monastery so swimmers and floaters had their run of the water.
Keeping Cool in Kelheim
We had planned to do some walking in and around Kelheim, but it was too hot! Thankfully, LM had brought fans along on the trip, so we were able to keep cool while in our rooms. The next morning, after breakfast around 8:30, we walked around Kelheim a bit more before driving to see some of the local sights. First, we went to the Weltenberg monastery, the oldest beer-brewing monastery in the world. Along the way, we stopped to watch the cable ferry at Weltenburg-Stausacker carry passengers back and forth across the river.
Sightseeing in Kelheim
I can imagine that the trip from Kelheim to Weltenberg would be quite scenic. There is a boat that travels part of the way in low tide, picking up passengers and letting them off a 45 min walk from the town of Kelheim.
There are scenic rocks along the river banks, many of which have names, and contributing to a beautiful landscape (see picture above).
From Weltenberg, we drove to Befreiungshalle (Hall of Liberation), a showpiece commissioned by King Ludwig I to commemorate the victories against Napolean in the Wars of Liberation in 1813-1815. It is an impressive monument with 34 goddesses of victory on the interior and 18 statues representing the German tribes on the exterior. It is made primarily made of marble painted to resemble bricks up close. From afar, it looks white, and towers over the city. The last renovation was finished in 2018.
From Weltenberg, we drove to the nearby town of Riedenberg. It was about 4pm and no one was serving food although we we’re hungry so we settled for cake and coffee before heading back to Kelheim.
Visit to Schloss Weißenstein
On Monday morning, we drove from Kelheim to Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Along the way, we stopped at Schloss Weißenstein and did a tour of the castle. There were many rooms with paintings by various European artists. The most interesting room to me was the grotto. I had never seen a room like that before. It’s coolness was welcome on the hot summer day. It reminded me of a hamam, but for lounging and cooling down rather than for lounging and hygiene. Unfortunately, images were not allowed inside the castle.
The Quiet town of Prichsenstadt
After our visit to the castle, we decided to stop in the picturesque town of Prichsenstadt. The town was pretty and incredibly quiet. Everything was closed except the pharmacy and the bank! We tried to go to a cafe at a hotel, and we could hear someone moving around but no one ever appeared to see what we wanted. Apparently, Monday is the wrong day for a visit!
Onward to Bamberg
Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a medieval layout and well-preserved architecture. We arrived in the city in the early afternoon. Our Airbnb was a 5 min walk from the town square. We walked through the old town, making note of the Jazz and Blues festival going on. Then we stopped to appreciate the Alte Rathaus and the houses along the river in Little Italy. On the way to dinner at an Indian restaurant, we stumbled on the lying woman with an apple.
The city of Bamberg is built on 7 hills. We visited at least 5 of them this trip. The first hill that we climbed houses the cathedral, Bamberger Dom, and a rose garden. The cathedral was amazingly bright, probably because the windows are not made of stained glass.
From there, we went to St. Michael’s, on a different hill. Unfortunately, we could not visit the church as it is under reconstruction. Being parched from the sun, we appreciated being able to stop for a cold drink in the garden of the restaurant.
We continued on to St. Stephens, Karmelitenkloster, St. Jakob’s and the Church of Our Lady. After a stop for a snack, we visited St. Martin’s.
A walk around the town still left time to return to the apartment to cool down before dinner at Zapfahn of a veggie burger and fries. There was smoked tofu, jackfruit, and other tasty things on my burger. There were enough other flavours that I didn’t even mind the red cabbage. And the sweet potato fries were scrumptious.
After dinner, I remembered my intention to see the sculpture or the 8 sitting monks by Wang Shugang, an artist from Beijing. I tried to blend in with them but I need to keep working on my squat. I wasn’t at my most limber having just had a burger and fries!
Visit to Bayreuth
The next morning, we left Bamberg by 10am and headed for Bayreuth. There is a Baroque opera house there, which we aimed to visit. Unfortunately, there was too much of a wait before the next tour to visit the theatre, so we skipped it and went for a coffee and ice cream.
A Quick Stop in Vyton
From Bayreuth, we drove to Vyton, a border town with Czech Republic. I hadn’t been there so we stopped to see the old town and have our last cake and coffee of the trip. It started to rain as we were leaving the cafe but stopped soon after. We made it to the car and drove through spats of rain, avoiding a heavy rainfall.