After my long sleep I was rarin’ to go when they bussed us to Bamberg. We got a walking tour through the medieval city center which is a UNISCO World Heritage Site. We couldn’t get into the 11th century cathedral because it was Sunday and everybody was at mass. But the tour guide got interrupted by the bells which were really impressive. We saw the Bishop’s residence and heard that the city is famous for smoke-flavored beer. I didn’t have any because it was only 10:30 in the morning and some other tourists who’d sampled it told me it was awful. We got educated about the historic bridge and the fishing village then they cut us lose to wander around the city square. We were munchy so we stopped at a bakery/coffee shop to order a pastry and coffee. I guess Gordon was tired of practicing his German so he let me take the lead. “Guten morgen, eine schnittlefritzen (or whatever the hell it was; I was pronouncing it phonetically) bitte.” The counter man answered me in perfect English and I said, “Thank God you speak English. This could have gotten really complicated.” We all had a good laugh and Gordon and I ate our pastry while we people watched. We even peaked into another historic church; very quietly, of course, mass was being said. Then we ran back to bus so we could rejoin the boat before it left for Wurzburg.
We had another unfortunate run-in at lunch. A crazy lady from Georgia started bellowing that the military was evil; she’d heard that there was a crime wave in Colorado Springs and it was all due to soldiers. I asked where she’d heard that and she said she read it on the internet. I raised a skeptical eyebrow and she left in a huff. That was another person I would avoid sitting with. But the day wasn’t done. After a pleasant afternoon of sitting on the top deck of the boat admiring the view we were joined at dinner by some other Californians–San Jose, to be specific. And they started in with a political diatribe–how taxes should be raised on the rich (they were retired teachers), that charter schools should be abolished, that charter schools were a conspiracy of the Right, and on and on and on. When did it become acceptable to dominate a conversation with perfect strangers about your political views? Had they no manners at all? But I’d had 11 hours of sleep the night before. I countered every one of their arguments with a better argument and a smile. Gordon even joined in and he usually ignores people like that. Then again, they were hard to ignore. Dinner ended on a cool note and we vowed never to let those people sit with us again.
We toured Wurzburg the next day. The Bishop’s residence was truly magnificent. The first floor was devoted to servants’ quarters and the entry way. Carriages pulled directly through the huge doors and deposited their riders right in front of the magnificent staircase leading to the banquet hall and other official rooms on the second floor. The story goes that Napolean wanted to impress everybody with the biggest carriage around. It was so big it couldn’t fit through the door and Napolean had to walk. There’s a lesson here. Anyway, the residence was impressive. It must have been good to be bishop.
We had another quiet afternoon of cruising to the next port before we faced the challenge of dinner. We decided to go late so we could avoid all the crazy Lefties who wanted to talk politics. We found two empty spaces and everybody said where they were from. When I announced that we were from California I could see the eyes of everybody else there narrow warity. Another diner asked if we knew one of the Lefties from last night. I said that they’d bored us with their politics and you could hear the collective sigh around the table. Apparently, every one at the table had been subjected to these awful people. Which led to a discussion of the grievances we’d all suffered at the hands of Lefties. So it ended up being a political discussion anyway. But once we’d unburdened ourselves talk turned to other things. I was able to enjoy my excellent dinner. By the way, the food on this cruise was much better than the last cruise we took. Less German food. I was told the chef was from the Phillipines. Maybe that explains it.
The boat stopped at Bernkastel and Gordon and I walked around by ourselves. It was a small town with a winery but I’d gotten to the point where if you’ve seen one historic German town, you’ve seen ’em all. The next stop was Wintrich where we took a tour of a renovated castle. It was impressive but I really liked the view. Oh, I forgot to mention that the boat travelled from the Danube, to the Rhine, to the Moselle. I could never remember what river we were on. Things started blurring together.
That’s enough for one day. On to Heidleburg tomorrow.