Less than a half hour’s drive from Bayreuth, it would’ve been a real shame if I left Germany without having popped over to Kulmbach. Wonderfully, my school mentor’s lovely wife, Nicola, super kindly offered to take me and Emma (you know fellow language assistant, Emma, she’s been popping up all over the blog for the past few months!) and show us round of an afternoon. As I’ve tweeted many-a-time, Germans are such friendly, welcoming, generous souls. So, after school on Monday, off to Kulmbach we went!
Kulmbach is a little smaller than Bayreuth but is still super charming. The town is best known for its impressive fortress-slash-castle called Plassenburg. And y’all know I love me a good fortress-slash-castle.
Plassenburg is both a princely residence (ooh err) and one of the biggest fortresses I’ve visited (there have been many, I’m a bit of a fortress slut like that) – it’s one of Bavaria’s most impressive historical buildings, and given the array of historical buildings here in beautiful Bavaria, that’s saying something!
On a disappointingly cloudy day (seriously, winter, jog on now), we arrived in Kulmbach and decided to climb up to Plassenburg first-things-first. And it was a bit of a climb, I must say. I may or may not have stopped to take pictures mid-way up the hill purely as an excuse for a breather.
But hey, at least we were earning our post-fortress cake stop, and the climb was definitely worth it. Not only were we granted a wonderful view over Kulmbach – and I imagine on clearer days, a fair amount of Upper Franconia – but we were also able to wander through the huge, grand courtyards.
I shan’t go into all the history of Plassenburg, but it is very interesting (Hitler was a fan, and to be fair I can understand why) and Emma and I were lucky to have Nicola there explaining it all to us. There are now various different museums and galleries inside, but we weren’t overly fussed about going in. The impending cake was more appealing. Priorities.
After a cheeky peruse of the gift shop allowing us to warm ourselves up briefly, we started the much easier stroll back down the hill into Kulmbach.
The town is beyond cute: I’m talking cobbled streets and exposed beams galore. Such a fan, I am. Nicola showed us all Kulmbach’s beautiful towers and churches before taking us to one of the best cafés in town: Roberts Café. It was cosy, cute and in a fab location just off the market square. More importantly, however, it had wonderful CAKES!
It was simply delightful to come in from the cold to a long, traditionally German Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake, that is. Except in my case it was tea rather than coffee, obvs.) Over hot drinks and sweet treats, Emma and I chatted to Nicola about all sorts of interesting aspects of German life and history. I went for a pretty fantastic apple cake myself. Surely one of my five-a-day? Ahem.
By the time we were finished munching, sipping and chatting, the sun was setting and we left the café to see the rest of Kulmbach in the gorgeous twilight.
Before we knew it, it was dark and time to head home. However, we couldn’t leave without having a leeettle cheeky stop-off at the AMAZING shoe shop on the edge of Kulmbach. Schuh Mücke is basically just a blimmin’ ginormous shoe shop. What’s not to love? They also have a really good selection of shoes for ladies with bigger feet, which I was loving.
I really wasn’t planning on buying anything when we went in, but then there was an EPIC sale on, and then I found these babies…
One thing led to another, and, well… You know how these things go. I ended up taking them home with me. Don’t you judge me, now! But this isn’t going to be a short-lived affair, oh no. I’m properly in love with my new shoesies. So in love, in fact, that I wrote an awful lot more about them in this here postabout various pretty things.
An unexpected new shoe purchase was a wonderful way to end the afternoon. Kulmbach, I liked you.