Travel Tips for Amberg
Why you Have to Find three Mice in Amberg
This page is not only about Amberg but the region of Oberpfalz (Upper Palatine) which is nowhere near the Pfalz or Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatine). In fact, Oberpfalz is roughly east of Nürnberg and part of Bavaria. But never tell an Oberpfälzer that he is Bavarian. You could rather call him a Franke but better you use the proper term. However, you will still not understand their dialect. It is even nearly impossible for Germans from other regions to understand them.
Mama's friend Gisela lives in the region since her wedding with an Oberpfälzer guy, so Mama has been there on quite some occasions. She understands if she listens closely. Especially Gisela's father-in-law tests her quite a lot with his veeeeeeery strong accent.
The Unterpfalz (Lower Palatine) once was the region around Heidelberg.
Until 1810 Amberg was the capital of Oberpfalz, then the administration centre went to Regensburg. Now Amberg forms an administration centre with Sulzbach-Rosenberg, named Kreis Amberg-Sulzbach. It has about 44,000 inhabitants.
Amberg is on the river Vils. I will tell you in my travelogues why it is important to find three mice in Amberg if you ever want to come back, and why the city has glasses, yessssssss, glasses like spectacles.
It is a very beautiful place, enclosed by a nearly complete medieval city wall. In fact, it is one of the best-conserved medieval cities in Europe.
Mama and Gisela always find a lot of clothes in the many shops, so I guess it is a great place for shopping. I also find it very important to point out that it has a lot of cafés, so I can indulge in nice cakes and ice-creams.
I was surprised to spot a lot of Bavarian lions in Amberg although the people are Oberpfälzer and do not want to be called Bayern. Well, I think the lions are for the tourists like you and me.
Another thing that would be very interesting for you to know is that they have lots of breweries in and around Amberg. In the Middle Ages they had 30 breweries. Now there are a lot less but still impressive enough to have a big beer fest named Bergfest. At the end of June/start of July all breweries have marquees in front of a church named Maria-Hilf-Kirche. They call this pilgrimage! Now that's what I call Bavarian ;-)
Pretending to Work in Gisela's Garden
I love to inspect plants, especially if those plants are tomatoes and I can climb up the stakes. Those bottle tomatoes are even delicious for a meat eater like me.
But to tell the truth, I did not really work in Gisela's garden in Neukirchen. I only pretended, so I could give the impression that I had really deserved the lot of food I enjoyed during our visit in the Oberpfalz region. You know, we moved between Gisela's and her parents-in-law's house, and everywhere I was offered something to eat. How could I have said no??!
BTW Neukirchen is somewhere between Nürnberg and Sulzbach-Rosenberg, and veeeery close to Neidstein where Nicolas Cage owned a castle for some few years. The locals think Nicolas Cage only pretended that he did not have enough time to really be in the castle and therefore sold it again. They think when the actor was confronted with the German conservation laws he got too much. In general, you are allowed to buy a castle but in the end you have no say in which renovation works you are allowed to do. So the tale of the Hollywood star in rural Germany ended fast.
Those sunflowers are realllly tall!!!
As you see, Gisela does not only love plants but also decoration.
At the end of the day you need a little rest - even if you have only pretended that you have worked in the garden. On a hot day walking and hopping from plant to plant is already hard work ;-)
Kirchenreinbach's Castle and how to Get there
If you did not know, you would not suspect that this red building is a castle. But it is. And I can tell you, it is quite nice inside. It is used for special occasions, and is furnished with antique furniture. For example, Gisela and Werner were married there.
BTW Kirchenreinbach has just had its 1000th anniversary. So it is a really old place.
If you need a joiner who makes you new doors or windows or furniture, just call in at Werner's business. I can only recommend him.
The business is just below the castle, beside Kirchenreinbach's best restaurant and next to the little river that runs the length of the village.
To get to Kirchenreinbach is a little tricky if you do not know anybody there. We took the train to Nürnberg, and there another train to Sulzbach-Rosenberg or Amberg or Weiden, and got off at Neukirchen. Karl picked us up and took us to Kirchenreinbach.
You can also take your bicycle on the train and then cycle to Kirchenreinbach ;-)
Sniffing out the Herb Garden in Kirchenreinbach
I think Lydia and Karl, Gisela's in-laws, work day and night although they are retired. They have also planted this community herb garden next to the castle in Kirchenreinbach.
There you find a lot of common and very rare herbs, and also beautiful flowers which are used for natural remedies.
What again was this??!!?
Kathrin says via Russell_the_Wombat it is burnet (in German: Pimpinelle), and as it sounds right I let you know this now :-) Thank you, mates!
This is sage.
That is funny stuff: onions that grow in the air. As they are that high above the ground they are called Etagenzwiebeln (storey onions - well, second-storey onions!).
You know this herb from chewing gums. It is spearmint.
Ok, dahlia are just beautiful flowers...
Löwenmäulchen und Fingerhut.
If I do not forget, I will let you know the English names at some point...
The Animalistic Bavarian Touch
Although they prefer to be called Oberpfälzer and not Bavarians they have displayed quite a lot of Bavarian symbols in Amberg. I was very pleased to meet those Bavarian bears and lions although it is clear that the bears are more for the tourists who do not really know that the lion is the Bavarian symbol you also find on their national flag.
And imagine, the lion even originates in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatine) region. The golden lion on black font was the symbol of the Pfalzgrafen (Counts) of Rhine, and when they united with the Bavarian Duke Ludwig in 1214 it was the symbol of the old Bavarian and the Palatinatal Wittelsbachers for many decades. Today the erect golden and red Palatinal lion reminds of the region of Oberpfalz.
In the Bavarian flag you also find a blue panther, representing Lower and Upper Bavaria. In another square in the flag you see three black lions on golden font. Those represent Swabia. In the top right-hand corner you see something that looks like three white houses under red sky - but they are the Franconian rake. You see, no bear anywhere. But I do not care. I quite like the Bavarian bears with their felt hats ("Seppelhut").
A clothes shop displayed two huge lions.
One was male, the other one female. However, I did not see any difference, I can assure you. They both looked female. Only the signs said that one was Leo and the other one Lea...
I could not get onto this interesting lion because he was behind bars, if I remember right it was an office of city planning or so, and the gate was closed during the weekend.
There was also this pig in leather trousers (Lederhosen) in front of a butcher's shop. I had a chat with him about meat, sausages and smallgoods.