DAY 6 – Friday, June 28 – Chodova Plana >> Regensburg >> Munich
Before heading to Germany, we had breakfast at U Sladka. More variety – including cherry filled donuts and pudding!
Germany (Deutschland) consists of 16 states and covers almost 138,000 square miles. Its capital is Berlin. With a population of about 81.5 million, Germany has the highest population in the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular migration destination in the world. The establishment of the national socialist dictatorship in 1933 led to World War II and systematic genocide. After 1945, Germany split into two states, East Germany and West Germany. In 1990, the country was reunified. Germany was a founding member of the European Union in 1993. Today, Germany has the world’s fourth largest economy.
One of the kids sleeps almost every minute we’re on the bus. When he is awake, he tells lame jokes, but for some reason he cracks Marlene up. Some of his jokes are at the expense of others in our group – they’re not always very nice. Because he thinks he’s so funny, Barbara and I secretly nicknamed him “Jimmy” in honor of latenight comedians Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon.
I only slept 2-3 hours last night, so I followed Jimmy’s lead and dozed on the drive to Regensburg – an old Bavarian city.
Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in southeast Germany on the River Donau (Danube River). More than 2,850 km long, the Danube River is the second longest river in Europe. Regensburg is known for its well-preserved, medieval architecture. The 12th century Stone Bridge, a 310 meter long icon with 16 arches, crosses the river to the old town. For more than 800 years, until the 1930s it was the city’s only bridge across the river. It is a masterwork of medieval construction and an emblem of the city.
At one point, Dicktator put the Know-It-All “kid” in charge of our group – he’s like a mini-me of Dick. This led to his secret nickname . . . Tator Tot.
While crossing the stone bridge, our new tour guide, Vladya, told us the legend of the bridge builder and the steeple builder. We stopped half way over the bridge to get a photo of the statue of the bridge builder looking out to see the progress on the steeple. The apprentice (bridge builder) and the master (steeple builder) had a bet as to who would be the first to complete their project. The bridge builder made a deal with the devil. The devil agreed to help the bridge builder in exchange for the first three souls to cross the bridge (usually, the mayor and other important people in the city are the first to cross a new bridge). The bridge was completed first. The bridge builder tricked the devil and walked across with a hen, a rooster and a dog hidden under his big coat. So, the devil got the souls of 3 animals. The devil was angry and stomped on the bridge – that’s why it’s crooked. The master steeple builder was so distraught over losing the bet to the apprentice bridge builder that he threw himself over the church balcony – later we saw the sculpture of the falling man on the side of St. Peter’s Cathedral.
St. Peter’s Cathedral, the 13th century twin-spired landmark, is an example of Gothic architecture within Regensburg and the state of Bavaria. It is also the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Regensburg and home to the Regnsburger Domspatzen choir. Nearly 100 images of St. Peter are reflected in the cathedral.
The city of Regensburg was very beautiful. Unfortunately, they were getting ready for Burgerfest – Festival of the Mayor – so there were a lot of tents and stages and delivery trucks that kind of ruined the view. It would have been so fun to stay for the festival. I bet there would have been a lot of lederhosen and polka. We had a small amount of free time. The gift shop service was very slow, but I managed to buy a couple of music boxes; Barbara and I arrived at our meeting spot just in the knick of time. We saw the tail end of our group entering the historic Wursthaus. There, we were served six sausages on a bed of sauerkraut.
After lunch, we took the bus to Kellheim (population 16,500), where we road a boat on the Danube River past the Befriedungshalle – Liberation Hall.
Liberation Hall is a neoclassical monument that was built from 1842 to 1863 by order of King Ludwig I of Bavaria to commemorate the victory over Napoleon.
Weltenburg Abbey is the oldest monastery in Bavaria. It was founded in year 620 on a peninsula on the Danube Gorge. In the early 1800s, the abbey was dissolved during the secularization of Bavaria. It re-opened in 1842 at the initiative of King Ludwig I. Today, the abbey is open to the public, except for the part reserved for the monks, and has pastoral responsibility for two parishes. It is also active in farming and adult education and hosts conferences, lectures, and concerts.
Barbara and I made it back to our group meeting spot with minutes to spare. We ran down and put our feet in the Danube River. Of course, I picked up one of the smooth skipping rocks to bring home. Back at the meeting spot, Dick told Barbara, with a big smile on his face, that it was his goal to leave her someplace one of these times. That’s not nice. What about his famous words, “our group always stays together; we never leave anyone behind”?
We walked along the river to the bus and then drove to Brauerei zum Kuchlbauer, “The Most Beautiful Brewery in the World.” Well, it’s debatable. It is unique, though! We took photos of the brewery and gift shop. No right angles to be found anywhere – except in the bathroom. Barbara and I walked through the beer garden, bought a couple of beers, and made it back to the bus ahead of a couple of people. Vladya had approved the beers beforehand, but he still tried to give me a hard time when we showed up on the bus with beer.
On the bus ride, we passed a huge field of hops (we are in beer country) and a caravan of Czech soldiers (is the Czech Republic invading Germany?)
We checked into Hotel TRYP. It was not in downtown Munich, like Barbara and I thought, but in a “suburb“ – Neufahren. Our room was sweltering hot – No air conditioning again. We opened our first floor window – that looked out the back of the hotel across a meadow to new home construction. Then we opened the door to our room and opened the windows across the hall from our room – overlooking the courtyard – to get a cross breeze. We looked around the courtyard, and called out and waved to Marlene and Dick and others in our group who all had rooms facing the courtyard. I told one lady that I should really shut the window since I had the AC on. The surprise on her face was so funny! Barbara told her we were in the new wing with a swimming pool. One guy from our group flashed us; it was not pretty.
Dinner was a buffet in the hotel. Afterwards, Barbara and I walked to a biergarten in the City Center. Beer #1 was just OK, but Beer #2 was better. Service was nicht so gut. I think this is the night that Barbara and I committed to getting back 10 minutes prior to the stated meeting times for the next few days. We walked back to the hotel around 10:30 pm.
Have you ever been to Burgerfest? Tell me what I missed.