Radtour Radelwoche in Franken und Bayern
Dag 1, etape/stage 1: Bamberg-Forchheim
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Erstellt am 07.07.2014
Gesamtlänge in km
Durchschn. Steigung Aufstieg %
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durch Ottocolor am 07.07.2014
Trackpoint-Dichte per km
Bamberg, Bayern, DE (238 m NHN)
Forchheim, Bayern, DE (267 m NHN)
Sunny and warm weather. Moderate wind from nothwesterly directions. Tailwind!
Zur Staustufe 21
The canal path alon the Main-Danube-canal is mostly tarmac and almost no climbs apart from short, moderate climbs in connection with the locks. Short stretches with very fine gravel surface. The tarmac is reasonably well maintained.
The bike week's first day and stage. The first of the day spent in Bamberg, then a short stage to the tent site a few km's north of Forchheim. In the evening a trip into town.
After a night and morning on the rails I arrived in Bamberg just after noon. I had slept okay in the night train from Odense to Fulda, but as it arrived here already at. 5.23, one as to get up early. And then I went very slowly in three different regional with change at Schluechtern and Wuerzburg. But luckily I could change trains without taking all my luggage off the bike which I necessarily had to do in the night train as its doors sit high up and are too narrow for a bike with panniers on.
The sun was shining and I was in no hurry in Bamberg. Happy as a pig in shit. Therefore, I read the newspaper in the pedestrian zone, before I slowly moved me up to Cathedral Square via the charming town hall on its island in the river. The story is that the city government wanted to avoid conflict between the two boroughs Inselstadt (Island-town, between the two arms of the river Regnitz) and Berg Stadt (mountain town, that is the ecclesiastical center around the cathedral) and therefore placed the town hall on an artificial island in the right Regnitz arm. Today there is another stream through the center: the Main-Danube Canal, which I would follow all the way to its mouth in the Danube at Kelheim.
But so far my plan was to spend a day in the lovely town of Bamberg, one of my absolute favorite cities in the world, both because of its intact medieval town center, which escaped major damage in the last war, but also its status as "one of the beer capitals "as Carsten Berthelsen call it in his famous book" The Beer Journey". Beer, culture and beer culture is part of the subtitle, and I wanted to experience that here in Bamberg. After stopping on the bridge at the town hall I rolled slowly past the hotel Brudermühle where I had once stayed during a beer journey, right next to the waterfall outside. Then I geared down firmly, and then stamped up to the large and beautiful cathedral square, which is located high above the town. When I had caught my breath, I remembered that I wanted to see the rose garden behind the new residence during the summer. The other times I had been in town, had been in the fall, and then, the rose flower was over and the bock beer's introduction was the target of my trips to the city. But now the rose garden stood in full bloom, and it was a pleasure for all the senses. Okay, you could not hear them! But otherwise ... gosh! Besides the garden is very nicely located behind the residence's restored facade next to a balustrade, which offers fine views over the city and up to Michaelsberg with the large St. Michael's monastery and the magnificent abbey church. Bamberg is also called the Franconian Rome, as it (if you count it all twice, I think, so maybe in a hefty beer intoxication) is also built on seven hills. And Franconia is the name of this part of the State of Bavaria, specifically Upper Franconia.
After the visit of the rose garden the clock was well past 'Oelle' (South Jutland variant of 'eleven' meaning simultaneously 'beer'), and since it was now summer and sun in Bavaria, a 'beer garden', in the local language 'Biergarten', where one can both eat and drink well, was certainly not out of the way. And I knew that Spezial brewery, one of three remaining on Obere Königsstrasse down town, ran an excellent beer garden a little further up the Stefansberg, another of the hills, Bamberg is built on. It took a little sweat to bike up there, but then the refreshment was to be so much intensive, I thought. I had just breathlessly stopped my bike next to the entrance of Spezial-Keller, as it is called, when a car pulled over. The driver rolled down the window and announced with many words of regret that they had the day off today, so the 'cellar' was closed. The regret was really humble, but at the end I realized I had been stomping up here in vain. It was very kind of the owner to regret it so deeply, but fortunately a wise fox has several exits. Mine was to roll down the hill to the Regnitz river again and seek out another of the almost sacred beer mekkas in Bamberg, namely Klosterbräu. Here I had, along with huge numbers of young people celebrated the bock beer tapping ("Anstich") in late October last year. That had been going on in the large rustic banquet hall on the first floor. Now I would rather sit outside where I obviously enticed more thirsty customers. I had some small fried sausages on sauerkraut, a kind of German sour cabbage, with the house's famous brown beer. And a big sigh of relief. Unfortunately a noisy vacuum truck was working out in the road, so it could not have been more idyllic in the small alley down to the river.
After lunch I sneaked over the mill bridge, where there is still an impeller, which currently does not operate a grinder, but a power generator. Past the tourist information and the castle of Geyerswörth, the old residence, I came to the town hall again. And shortly after I was trapped again when I passed another must-drink pub in Bamberg, namely Schlenkerla, where the famous smoked beer is dispensed. I sat again under the open sky in their courtyard. Here I allowed myself to praise the waitress, as it buzzed with life and guests out there, yet I was served quickly. And she had even to stork away over the uneven cobblestones plus climb two high steps into the pub all the time. I wonder if she is happy when summer is over and the backyard closes? After all this beer it was now time for a bike ride out to the Regnitz' and the Main-Danube canal's origin at the river Main. A part of its flow the river and the canal share the same course, but more often than not the canal has its own. The Main is a long tributary of the Rhine, which after much meandering flows into the Rhine at Mainz and Wiesbaden, far to the west. For a long time, indeed ever since Charlemagne around 800, man had sought to create an artificial connection across the European watershed and connect the Rhine and Danube systems, so you could transport goods and people by water across Europe, from the North Sea to the Black Sea and return. King Louis I of Bavaria managed to do it in the early 1800s, but 150 later the canal was too small and a large project was attacked, namely the existing Main-Danube canal from Bamberg to Kelheim. It started out in trouble, as profitability was questioned while the environmental costs by many people were considered too heavy. But the conservative Bavarian Government in Munich under the leadership of the prestige-hungry Prime Minister (and Bavarian 'King') Franz Josef Strauss pushed the project through in the 80s. If nothing else, they had created a paradise for cycling tours, and I wanted to try it out during my bike week down here. And I did not want to miss the canal's beginning at the Main, about 5 km north of Bamberg at the village of Bischberg. When I had seen it, I cycled into town again. On the way I found a bakery that could serve a cup of coffee and a piece of cake for me. Now I had soon to say goodbye to Bamberg, if I, as it was my plan, was to reach Forchheim, approximately 30 km further down the canal in order to pitch my tent at the local youth camp and, not least, make it into the center of this town for Germany's first match at the football World Cup in Brazil against Portugal. And as kick off was at 6, I was a bit in a hurry. Yet I did not manage, how could I have thought it possible to cycle through the Obere Königsstrasse past the adorable little brewery of Fassla where I once had stayed a few nights with my friend Kolja on another memorable trip to Bamberg. I simply had to savour their Zwergla ('the dwarf', and there is also a dwarf rolling a beer keg in the brewery's logo). Moreover, I wanted to buy a few bottles for the tent afterwards. I had my beer in their covered patio, where it smells so nice of hops and malt. But then I rolled down to the canal and out on the tarmac path along it. It was good to ride and thankfully I had the wind in from behind. I had drawn my route into gpsies.com and had downloaded it on my Garmin GPS, so it was easy to follow the places where the route turned away from the canal, mostly due to locks (typically with a small ascent to follow) or port facilities. At one point another cyclist showed up, whom I fell into conversation with. He also often enjoyed the good tarmac paths along the canal and said that further south it was mostly gravel path. It came to be correct. Shortly after I found the place north of Forchheim where I needed to leave the canal path to get to the campsite. It turned out to be absolutely huge, but completely deserted apart from some workers who pitched a large party tent in a corner. But down at the long service building, there was a phone number you could call, and here I was told that I could just put up a tent and take a bath in the open bathroom, then he would come the next morning after 9 and receive payment. Fine with me. Now it was just getting the cotton villa up and go into town to watch football. But then I got a nasty surprise when the tent bag came out: I had forgotten the pegs! For Christ's sake, and the ground even looked quite tough. In a shrubbery I found a long stick, someone had cut the bark off. This I broke into ten pieces, and really managed to smack them into the ground as emergency pegs using the peg hammer, I fortunately had not forgotten. But I spent so much time with the primitive pegs that I had to give up watching the start of the Germany-Portugal game. Anyway, I arrived only about twenty minutes late at a bar inside Forchheim, where I watched the rest of the game. The streets were completely deserted, and I could hear football commentator in the street, so it was easy to find. It was a funny place where youngsters smoked hookahs with different flavours at the tables. Well, I ordered a beer and fell down on the sofa. Now the problem was to stay awake. And the game was by no means dull, when Germany beat the Portuguese red and green and won 4-0. No, the heat and beer, plus not least the lack of sleep at night and in the morning was making their impact. But I pulled through and did not fall on the floor. On the way 'home' to the campsite a few kilometers north of Forchheim, I stopped at a petrol station to buy some milk and bread for the morning and cooked me a soup on my gas cooker. After my meal it was not even ten o'clock, and it was a wonderful beautiful quiet summer evening alone at the campsite, yet I had no other plans than to crawl into my sleeping bag and sleep the righteous sleep.