Magical Bamberg

Beautiful Bamberg! Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

Beautiful Bamberg! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Viking River Cruises’ Viking Vidar spent the morning sailing along some of the narrowest stretches of the Main River we’ve had yet as we continued our 15-day Grand European Tour. The Main – pronounced mine – is barely wide enough here for two ships to pass. Even then, just barely. You certainly wouldn’t want to meet another Viking Longship on some of the sharper corners. Of course, thanks to advances in modern navigation technology, the Officers in the wheelhouse can see other vessels in the area on their radar, along with their heading and current speed. That helps eliminate “chance” meetings on tight corners.

The Main narrowed considerably this morning...Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

The Main narrowed considerably this morning…Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

...and we were graced with our first rain in days. Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

…and we were graced with our first rain in days. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Aside from being relaxing and beautiful, this morning was also a time to begin to pack up our staterooms so we can “swap ships” with Viking Lofn tomorrow. The change is necessitated because of low water levels between Nuremberg and Passau, which is currently making the stretch of water near Regensburg completely unnavigable.

Having just arrived here four days ago after an unexpected delay en-route, it’s odd to be taking clothing off hangars again and emptying drawers out. The few purchases I’ve made here barely fit in my suitcase, and I am forever trying to come up with new ways to squish it all in. The winter clothes I had brought for the Arctic last week are the problem; parkas and sweaters don’t compress down so well. Nor are the needed here: it’s another 30°C scorcher outside.

Packing up - again! Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

Packing up – again! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

After a relaxing casual lunch in the Viking Lounge – which is more popular on this voyage than on any other Viking trip I’ve been on – it was time to go explore the nearby city of Bamberg.

Bamberg is famous for many things. It brews a smoked beer known as Rauchbier. It features a surprising collection of underground tunnels from sandstone mines that exist under the town, and which were operational until the 1920’s. Witch trials during the 17th century saw as many as 1,000 victims in Bamberg, and Adolf Hitler tried to whip up Nazi party dissent at the Bamberg conference of 1926.

And They're Off! Guests board coaches for our afternoon of touring in nearby Bamberg, Germany. Photo ©  2015 Aaron Saunders

And They’re Off! Guests board coaches for our afternoon of touring in nearby Bamberg, Germany. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its well-preserved medieval architecture. Our full-day tour would include an extensive walking tour of Bamberg’s most historic sites, coupled with a generous amount of free time. But we were warned about two things: the fact most shops are closed in Europe on Sundays, and that Bamberg would be crowded due to a magic festival being held smack in the center of the city’s historic center.

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Our Live Voyage Report from onboard Viking River Cruises’ Viking Vidar’s Grand European Tour continues tomorrow from Nuremburg, Germany – and the Viking Lofn in Passau! Be sure to follow along with our adventures on Twitter @deckchairblog.

 

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