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Day Trip to Bamberg - Schlenkerla Brewery Restaurant

Winter isn't exactly the best time of year for sightseeing. But it's a great time of year for sitting in a cosy Gasthaus with some great Franconian food and beer. One of my favorite cities to visit near Zeilitzheim is Bamberg with its picturesque old town, the cathedral and of course its restaurants. My personal favorite is the Schlenkerla (though there are many more good ones to recommend).

The three of us wine makers of the "Wein von 3" winery recently visited Bamberg (we were sponsoring the New Year's Brunch of the international Sculpture Network at a friend's gallery). A visit to the Schlenkerla after the event was wrapped up was an obvious choice to grab a bite to eat and - of course - a half-litre glass of Schlenkerla Rauchbier (made from smoked malt, an acquired taste but once you're hooked... Kind of like our Baron wine that we ferment in American oak Barrique barrels: Most people either love it or hate it. Thankfully the critics mostly love it).

Each of us had one of the Franconian specialties served with wonderful dumplings (Klöße) and a side dish of either steamed red cabbage (Blaukraut) or a salad: Rinderbrust mit Meerrettichsoße (boiled beef with a tangy horseradish sauce), Sauerbraten (see link below) and Kalbshaxen (wonderfully delicate meat pulled from a roasted leg of veal). Sound vulgur? Perhaps. But it tastes wonderful. Service is efficient if boisterous in that typical and authentic Schlenkerla kind of way. Don't try ordering a Coke, or you'll get a simple "hammer net!" as a response which is slang for "haben wir nicht" (we don't have that). You're expected to drink a beer which is - unless otherwise stated - always going to be served in the smoked version. In short: I love that place!

Links:

Schlenkerla (Wikipedia)

Sauerbraten (Wikipedia)

Schlenkerla Brewery Restaurant

Schlenkerla Brewery Restaurant

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

Triad: Beer, Blaukraut, Klöße (dumplings)

Triad: Beer, Blaukraut, Klöße (dumplings)


Day-trips to the Fichtelgebirge Region

I recently went on a short vacation to the Fichtelgebirge region with my family. It is mountain range that is close enough to Zeilitzheim for day trips (about 100 miles / 160 km), which is why I want to recommend it here.

For those interested in cultural events, the Luisenburgfestspiele near Wunsiedel are an attraction during the summer months. The Luisenburg Rock Labyrinth is also located here and is a must visit with kids. Our kids, who usually tend to start whining after a couple hundred yards on walks, climbed up the jagged rocks with a frenzy.

We visited the visitor mine near Fichtelberg on a rainy day; perfect, as you spend about an hour under ground. This is a great tour for kids, too. You get to wear a miners overcoat, helmet and lamp. Every visitor (who wants it) is christened with a smear of silver dust on the cheek. Group pictures can be ordered at 3 Euros including postage within Germany (so you could have the pictures mailed to your hotel if you travel Germany for a few weeks).

The mountains aren't exactly the Rockies but still fun to climb (more likely hike up). If traveling with kids you can always take one of the two chair lifts up the Ochsenkopf mountain and hike back down. We hiked down half way and then took the Sommerrodelbahn (dry toboggan run) down the rest of the way. A blast! Not just for the kids...

Of course there are numerous restaurants in the region. Feel free to ask me for recommendations when you visit!

On the way home we stopped off at Bayreuth which is a beautiful city with grand architecture. The Hermitage (with its sprawling gardens and - of course - beer garden) is a must visit in Bayreuth.

There is so much to see and do within a 100-200 km radius of Zeilitzheim. We will continue to go on short vacations within our own region so that I can post more travel tips here on the blog.

Photos: Luisenburg Rock Labyrinth, Hermitage (Bayreuth) - more at flickr.com

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