Thursday, 1 August 2013

Franconia 2013

We arrived back home last Monday evening, after a most enjoyable week in the northern area of Bavaria known as Franconia. We based ourselves in the small, picturesque town of Forchheim; a town of just 20,000 inhabitants, but with four breweries, which lies roughly halfway between Nuremberg and Bamberg. The prime, but not sole, reason for our stay here was to visit Annafest, an event which began life as a religious festival, but which is now one of the largest folk festivals in Franconia. I ought to add that by “folk” I don’t mean lots of bearded men in chunky jumpers wailing out sea-shanties or traditional rural ballads with a finger stuck in one ear, but rather folk as in “something for the people”, something which everyone can join in with and have a good time.

Naturally, as in much of Bavaria, beer plays an important role in such events, and Annafest was definitely no exception to this. I will be writing a much more detailed post about Annafest a bit later, but for now I just want to say that we visited the event on three separate days, which were interspersed with days out exploring some of the surrounding Franconian towns and villages; towns such as Bamberg with its eight breweries and villages full of rural charm and, as like as not, a brewery to match. In the countryside we came across Bierkellers tucked away in the unlikeliest of places, serving cool refreshing Kellerbier – beer which smacked of locally grown hops and sold at unbelievably low prices (€1.90 per half litre). Whilst in towns such as Bamberg, Coburg and of course Forchheim, there were unspoilt basic boozers, tucked away down side streets mixed in with internationally renowned establishments such as Schlenkerla and Spezial in Bamberg.

All in all it was like visiting a beer lover’s paradise; somewhere which at times just seems too good to be true. I will be recalling some of our discoveries over the next couple of weeks or so, depending on time and other commitments (I’m acting as beer buyer for this year’s Spa ValleyRailway Beer Festival, and I’ve got quite a bit of ringing around and chasing to catch up on). In the meantime attached are a few photo’s to wet your appetites.

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