regensburg

People asked me a lot before I came to Germany where all I wanted to travel – kind of with the assumption that this year would be like one big Euro Trip. But as great as it is to live in Europe and to have access to discount airlines and so many other countries – I really wanted to spend time this year seeing a lot of Germany. Since I’ve been here though, I haven’t taken many opportunities to travel outside of Munich. I have been to the Alps, to Frankfurt for a meeting (though I didn’t see the city), and to Fürth and Nuremberg for a couple of days.

Several weeks back, a friend here said that he too had seen relatively little of Germany and would like to do some traveling in his homeland. We each made a list of towns in Bavaria and the whole of Germany, and we’re beginning to work our way through the list.

Last weekend was our first trip to Regensburg. The city of Regensburg is a little more than an hour from Munich via train where it lies on the Danube River. There was a Roman fort there in the first century and it was one of the largest German cities in the Middle Ages. Still today, parts of the Roman city are intact – in part because Regensburg was little damaged in the war.
 
We actually traveled first a bit farther outside of Regensburg to the small village of Donaustauf where Walhalla is located. Walhalla is a giant marble hall-of-fame of sorts from the 19th century, filled with the busts of famous Germans and other Europeans – from Goethe to Einstein to Beethoven. They are still adding busts to the collection today.
 
The temple sits high on a hill above the Danube River, and it takes a nice hike to get there.
The climb through the snow to Walhalla
View of the columns outside Walhalla
 
The door into the hall
Inside: marble and light

We kind of experienced the tourist’s dream for a location like Walhalla – there were only two other people there while we were inside the hall, which is great for pictures and for moving at our own pace. Braving the snow has its perks.

We made our way back down to Regensburg and walked through some gates into the old city – which was quite lively for such a cold day. (The location on the river makes Regensburg very chilly!) Something we continued to remark about, is that almost every single building in the inner city is beautiful. The tall colorful buildings that line the narrow dark alleyways give the town a nice feel. Because it is such an old city, there is an interesting mix of architecture and sights – but it isn’t really “old meets new.” That is, nothing really seems to be new in Regensburg, which also makes it charming.

Here you see the mix of architecture – the Gothic-style Regensburger Dom in the background, the more modern construction in the middle, then a part of the Porta Praetoria – an ancient stone gateway dating back to 179 A.D. 
Inside the cathedral – begun in 1275
One of the many alleyways
Photo of the Old City and the Danube, taken from the medieval Stone Bridge
Inside the Scottish St. Jacob’s Church – once a Benedictine monastery, dating back to the 12th C. 

We also visited “document Neupfarrplatz” – located under a protestant church in the city center – where in the 1990s, archaeologists unearthed the Jewish quarter of the city from the Middle Ages – perhaps the oldest Jewish settlement in Germany. It wasn’t really a museum, just a tour through the site, where our guide pointed out the stones from different eras and described a bit of the Jewish history of the town.

 

Inside document Neupfarrplatz

After some hot tea to warm us up after we’d been underground, we headed back toward the train station, seeing a few more sights on the walk there. You can’t see everything in a day, no matter where you go, but Regensburg was manageable, and I feel like I got a good feel for the town.

Another weekend trip is to come – so this blog post is just the beginning of more photos and travel stories to come.

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