Sunday, February 16, 2014

What I love about living in..................Bamberg!

This is the first of a series of posts highlighting what it is like living in different towns/cities in the HENhaus area.

Specific questions about living in Bamberg? Email me at I'd be happy to help!

About Bamberg: Bamberg is located in Franconia, 63 km north of Nuremberg (45 minutes by train) and 101 km east of Würzburg (50 by train). It is situated on the Regnitz river, the inner city is surrounded by the left and right arms of it.
 Bamberg has seven hills, with a church on top of each. The city limits extend quite far, about 55 square km, or 34 square miles. Bamberg has about 70,000 residents, including approximately 3,000 at the US Army Base (this number is dwindling, and scheduled to close this year). The University has about 14,000 students. In 1993, Bamberg was named a UNESCO World Heritage City, most of the city was not harmed during the War.The UNESCO area comprises the episcopal town, the island town and the gardener's town (where I live) 

Name: Mandy Weis

Hometown: Montclair, NJ, USA
Age: not telling. Over 30. 
Family Status: Married, two step children, one cat. 
Occupation: Former HR Manager, now I guess you'd call me a Hausfrau or a student. I just finished my B1 German classes, and I have two more weeks of Orientation class to go! I volunteer at a homeless shelter (Menschen in Not) as well. 
What brought you to Germany?I met my (German) husband in 2010 while on a trip with my Dad.
How long have you been here?  We married in 2012 and I officially moved here in March 2013 after 3 years of going back and forth 90 days at a time.
How did you settle on Bamberg? My husband already lived here, and owned the house.
How easy is it to meet people? Other expats? I had a leg up meeting people, as my husband is the friendliest guy I know. He knows everyone. I met most of my "own" friends at our local brewery. I hate to encourage drinking, but becoming a regular at one or two bars or breweries helped my social life immensely. I've also become a regular at several shops in the area. When I have questions, and my husband isn't around, I can pop in and ask where to buy x or y, ask if I am saying something right, etc. I also lucked out as I have a lot of family in the area, and cousins I actually like to hang out with. I met most expats I know through organizations like HENhaus, Internations, or Chickhaus or by association (being introduced through friends).
Favorite things about living in Bamberg? There is so much to love about Bamberg. It's gorgeous (link to panoramic view). 
We have SOOO many things to do here. There is seemingly always a festival of some type. Stadt Marketing does an INCREDIBLE job here with the larger events (BA zaubert, Blues and Jazz Fest -for example) , and the local fests are seemingly never ending (Canalissimo, Gartner Fest, Kirchweihs, Sandkerwa). if you are always  bored on the weekend, you are doing something wrong.I love it´s size. Big enough to have distinct neighborhoods (Gartnerstadt,Wunderburg, Altstadt,for example each with their own personality), and loads of restaurants. Tripadvisor says 138, but there´s MANY more.  Big enough to have Karstadt, Douglas, Müller, etc. Yet, there are loads and loads of independent stores.
And groceriesAsian markets, Middle eastern markets, Rewe, Edeka, a few CityMarkts, Tegut, Norma, Aldi, a daily veggie markt in the city, a weekly bauern markt with meats, home made dairy products, etc, and guys like my veggie guy down the street .
I love that BA is big enough that you can always meet new people, but if I spend more than an hour or two in the city, I´ll run into someone I know.
I love our parks, the largest being the Hain and the new Erba park.......which is amazing. Just take a look. I love it, and LOVE that it´s a 10 minute walk there.
I love to run or bike down the river, to where the city meets the country and see horses and farms.
I love to drink a beer at the kiosk by the river.
I love the beer. :)
Kid friendly? School information? We don't have kids (though my husband has two older children from a previous marriage) so I can't speak too much about that. We do have some amazing playgrounds.
Playground in Erba Park
What do you do on the weekend? We love going to festivals- big, small, doesn't matter. We also go bike riding, or out to meet with friends. We eat out...... a lot.
Weeknight activities? Normally, a beer at the Faessla, or out to our local doener shop- we stay relatively close to home during the week in Winter. When the days get longer, we venture farther into town for dinner, or grill in the garden.
Surprises about the area?Bamberg is very Catholic. I was shocked at how on Good Friday the entire town appeared to be in mourning. I still get annoyed at how everything is closed on holidays and Sundays. 
The amount of things left outside (decorations, or in front of stores) that are not stolen. Bamberg is called "Freak City" because the fans "freak out" at basketball games. I was really quite scared to go to a public viewing because of that. It was the calmest "freaking out" I have ever seen. Noone so much as  bumped in to me. 

Any negatives about the area? Rents are high, due to demand. Apartments can also be hard to find. 
We can get a LOT of tourists. In 2011 we had the Landesgartenschau in the area (large gardening show) and it was brutal just getting around, especially on weekends. That said, we got a great new park out of it. When Viking River Cruises shows up, it is also rather crowded.
 I have little faith in the local hospital. I had a bad experience, and the reviews on line are pretty poor. If I were to fall ill, I'd go to Erlangen or Nuremberg. 
While I love festivals, there's one I don't like. No, I hate it. The Sandkerwa festival. Too young, too drunk, too crowded, too much puke, too few toilets, not fun. Our Christmas market is rather small, and tends to have the exact same vendors every year. Meh. 
Transportation? Do I need a car? IMHO, that would depend on where you live in Bamberg. We live less than a 10 minute walk to the city, supermarkets, etc. We utilize car sharing when we need a car (large shopping trips, traveling to areas without public transport), but most of the time we don't need one. Most of, or a large portion of, Bamberg's inner city is pedestrian zone anyway, so driving there is not recommended. I personally can't stand buses, but Bamberg has an extensive bus transport system. We also live about a 10 minute walk to the train station, and trains to Nberg and Wburg run quite often. Most of the time we walk, or go by bike.
Crime? I'm not going to say nothing ever happens in Bamberg, but violent crime is VERY uncommon. I have never not felt safe walking around Bamberg at any time of the day or night. Bikes do get stolen, however, frequently by the train station.
Doctors? There is no shortage of doctors in Bamberg. I'm rather happy with my general practitioner, and no less than thrilled with my dentist. Dr. Schaller rocks. I am not happy about the hospital, after my one experience there. 
Hairdresser? I go to a Paul Mitchell salon, Schranne 9. Kristine speaks perfect English. 
Spezial Keller view
Favorite spot for a beer? Faessla, or Spezial Keller in summer 
Café for a coffee? Cafe Mueller -just off the pedestrian zone. Really, any cafe on Ausstrasse is good. It's close to the University, so there are loads of student cafes. 
Favorite restaurants? Weissbier haus (for schauferla and wirsing), Kornblume, Piccola Roma (tiniest restaurant ever) for Italian
Place to watch a game? Lewinsky's 
Day trips? Bike trip to Pettstadt to ride the old fashioned ferry, huge fan of Wurzburg, Nurnberg is just 45 minutes away. Most of the time, there is something to do in town.
Clothing?  Honestly, I buy online, or when I am in the US (due to both price and styles I prefer)
Taste of home? We have a US Army base here, and I have been lucky enough to get some items from there. Real has an American section, and some items can be found at SubStop here (mayonnaise, mac and cheese). We have quite two especially good American restaurants (Mike's Diner, and Crazy Diner) within walking distance of our house. If I want to go to an English speaking bar/restaurant, we have the Irish Pub (recommended) or the Green Goose (not a favorite of mine), where Americans mostly from the Army  hang out. 
New in town? Check out Neu in Bamberg on Facebook (in German). They have compiled lists of recommended restaurants, doctors, gyms, etc. They also organize almost weekly events, and welcome newcomers of any German speaking ability. Bamigo is a great source of local events, as is Frankische Nacht, or Frankische Tag (newspaper).  The International Women's Club also has a Bamberg chapter, or check out the IWG. 
Other helpful hints for newcomers? Join a gym, or a verein (club). As mentioned before, become a regular somewhere. Most of all, get out. Invited somewhere you don't want to go? Go anyway. Whatever you liked doing in your home country, do it here. Go for walks in your new city. Buy a street map, and walk different ways to places you go often. See your city like a tourist. Check out Tripadvisor for ideas. 


Unknown said...

Mandy, where are you taking your German language classes?

Mandy939 said...

I took the immigration class (to B1 level) at Euro Sprach Schule on Ludwigstrasse. The teachers varied. Some were very good, some were just awful. I also took a B1 plus Beruf class at BFZ, that was awful. Just awful. However, I took an online B2 class also through BFZ that was amazing!