July in Northern Bavaria

Another trip to the Heimat  had me take a few shots of the area of Franconia (northern Bavaria) a.k.a. as Beer Country.

sunflower fields lining the roadside

grapes and geraniums on German homes

vegetable patches around Sennfeld

vegetable patches around the village of Sennfeld

 This isn’t the Autobahn…

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
– Robert Frost –

Beer Tours in Northern Bavaria

Upper Franconia, in northern Bavaria, is host to the highest number of breweries worldwide.

In the early 19th century, there were close to 30.000 Bavarian breweries, among which many would be classified as home breweries by today’s standard. Some were village breweries and delivered only to the local inns. Almost every monastery had its own brewery as well.

In 2008, the number of breweries in Bavaria was 627, of which 300 alone are in the region of Franconia.

The region of Franconia is divided into Upper, Middle, and Lower Franconia – see map.

Upper Franconia, also sometimes referred to as Bierfranken (Beer Franconia) has close to 200 breweries.

Bierland Oberfranken in Upper Franconia offers 54 beer tours throughout the area. For more information, visit Bierland Oberfranken.

Another site, Bierland Franken, offers tips on self-guided tours such as hiking and biking trails, information about beer seminars, etc.

Beer served in Franconia/Germany


Graveyards in German Franconia

On our most recent trip to my hometown in Franconia (Northern Bavaria), we had to tend to my parents’  and aunt’s grave.

As dusk was rolling in, we were putting on the finishing touches and I noticed how well-kept every single grave looked. The flowers looked splendid, the path was clean, and then I realized it had always been this way.

Graveyard in Germany

Many graves had Stiefmütterchen (pansies), which literally translates to little step mothers.

Pansies, a.k.a. Stiefmütterchen in Germany

Additionally, it is difficult to get much work done as the graveyard, out of all places, is such a social place. Feel lonely on a Saturday evening? Go to your local cemetery, that is where you find a lot of your old friends and acquaintances. Mostly senior ones who have not connected with you on facebook yet.

I was approached by locals who would not have talked to me during my teenage years. I don’t blame them either… people come together for a common cause at the graveyard, and the connecting factor of sharing a family member’s loss overrules any other preconceived notions, at least in regards to my teenage years.

My aunt, who happened to be at the graveyard, told of her most recent visit to Norway, where most graves are covered by a slab of stone (at least the one she had been to). In the U.S.A, I saw many grave stones surrounded by grass only.

Weekly visits to care for the grave are a must-do in these villages, just like sweeping the sidewalk on Saturdays.

Autobahn Traffic Rating

The Autobahn A3 between Frankfurt and Würzburg, the one we take going back for visits to Lower Franconia, has been rated one of the Top 30 in regards to Stau (traffic jam).

Just this past Friday we experienced a Vollsperrung (complete closure) and had to take the scenic route towards Schweinfurt. It was worth it, though.

The ADAC published the following results for the A3 (Frankfurt – Würzburg) for 2010:

3000 traffic jams, 3500 hours of waiting, with 6600 km in total.

Driving through Franconia

As the Autobahn A3 was fully blocked on Good Friday, our long Easter weekend, we had to get off and take the scenic route once more.

We passed through villages we had never seen before, some with unusual names such as the one below – Opferbaum (victim tree of sacrifice tree).

Village of Opferbaum (Victim Tree) in Franconia

Rolling hills, plenty of bikers and bicyclists, and tons of sunshine were our companions on this trip.

Springtime in Germany

We even got to take the ferry across the Mainschleife as we had to make a book drop-off to Schloss Zeilitzheim and there was no other way to get there, but to cross the river by ferry.

Mainschleife ferry

It was a good 3:15 hour scenic drive instead of the usual 2:15 hours on the Autobahn.

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