After a jam packed day in Munich, we were off to Regensburg. Oh, the fabled Regensburg. Just a few months prior, we had never heard of Regensburg. While traveling through Italy with my mother-in-law, Marie, back in May, she struck up a conversation with a German fellow during a cable car ride in Rapallo. She asked the man what was the place to visit in Germany. His answer was Regensburg. Not being a particularly talkative guy, I believe his reasoning was something along the lines of “It’s a nice town with good beer.” I’m pretty sure the same could be said about many a German town but we made note of the recommendation. The next morning, as we came down to breakfast in our hotel, Marie was chatting up another fellow, a young German man in town filming a movie. He too recommended Regensburg.
At that point in our travels, we knew we would be visiting our friends near Frankfurt before heading back to the states but hadn’t planned on any additional German destinations. It’s funny how once a seed is planted it often finds a way to grow. And so, three months after first hearing the name Regensburg, we found ourselves there.
Old town Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to it’s unique status as “the only authentically preserved large medieval city in Germany.” Phil and I jokingly throw around the word “magical” when describing cities to one another. This is because often the word is used to describe travel destinations that to our minds don’t quite fit. Cool, unique, beautiful, mesmerizing, one of a kind; these could be used to describe a number of places we have been lucky enough to visit but magical? When I hear magical, I think of something out of a fairy tale and well, Regensburg is in fact, magical.
After a relatively short, but absolutely packed, train ride (we were lucky to find seats), we found ourselves in Regensburg. It was lightly raining but luckily our hotel was only a short walk down a wide, pedestrian-only street. The hotel was cute and the woman at the desk gave us a welcome glass of prosecco so we were off to a good start.
We dropped our bags and left the hotel to wander about and to find hearty German food and beer, the colorful sometimes narrow streets of old town welcoming us.
We found the Brauerei Kneitinger brauhaus (or brew house), dating back to 1530. It was the perfect spot. The servers sported old-fashioned garb called dirndl (think St. Pauli girl) that one would expect from an old, German beer hall.
We shared a delicious meal of braised ox cheek with dumplings, red cabbage, and the most amazing spatzel. Spatzle is a type of egg noddle often served with gravy, butter, or cheese. Our friend Katie turned us on to cheese spatzle when we visited her and her family in Rodenbach a couple of months earlier. What’s not to like about grown up mac-n-cheese? This particular cheese spatzle we had at Brauerei Kneitinger was topped with bacon and caramelized onions. It was amazing. We had a couple of dunkles (dark beers) to accompany our meal.
After lunch, we walked on and eventually found ourselves across the Danube from old town Regensburg. We sat on a stone wall, enjoying the weather, the view, and each other’s company for an hour or more, content as could be.
The following day, we started at St. John’s church, a lovely little Baroque church.
Followed by an early lunch at a cute little spot beside the Danube called Wurst & Beer. We each ordered a beer sampler and a wurst sampler. It was all very tasty and the gal running the place was very warm and pleasant. I highly recommend starting the day with a belly full of sausage and beer if given the option.
After lunch, we happily wandered for a couple of hours; across bridges, through city and parks, and along the Danube. We came to another biergarten (they aren’t hard to find), the Spital brewery. We ordered two big beers and decided that given our lunch was early and rather small, we should split a little something. We ordered a plate of sausage and sauerkraut to share.
Afterward, we continued on with our pork and beer fueled saunter. Several times during our exploration that afternoon, we encountered [primarily] young adults in traditional garb; dirndl and lederhosen (see stock image below).
We wondered what the occasion was. Being late August, we knew Oktoberfest was still a couple of weeks away, September 17th to be exact (It’s true, Oktoberfest is in September), so we knew they weren’t dressed for the fest. As we continued on, we began seeing more people and even more folks (of all ages) in the traditional dress. We knew something was happening nearby, so on we went to investigate.
In the distance, we spied a Ferris Wheel and soon we were amidst a full blown carnival! There were carnival rides, food, biergartens (duh), game booths, and all kinds of vendors selling their wares. We wandered a bit and enjoyed another beer at the biergarten. I gazed longingly at some delicious looking fried fish and giant pretzels our fellow biergarteners were enjoying. Alas, I was too full of sausage to have a third lunch.
After our beers, we made a beeline for the Ferris wheel. We are firm believers in riding Ferris Wheel’s when presented with the opportunity.
After taking in the views atop the Ferris Wheel, we bought a bag of caramel corn and ate it sitting next to the Danube (second lunch was starting to wear off). We walked back toward the hotel, taking our time, enjoying the city. We stopped for a rest at yet another biergarten (they truly are everywhere). Though not feeling especially hungry, the currywurst caught Phil’s eye. When keeping a steady supply of German beer in your system, it is also important to keep a steady supply of German food in your system so we split the currywurst (hello, third lunch).
After all of our walking, food, and beer, we decided a little rest was in order. Back to the hotel we went for a little nap before heading back out to see a bit of Regensburg at night. During our walkabout, we had seen several posters featuring artist Andre Maier. We were not familiar with him but liked the posters very much.
After turning down a narrow street, we happened upon his studio/gallery. What’s more, he was inside working! It was super cool.
After stopping a beat to watch the artist work, we walked on, across the Danube to take in the lights of old town at night. What a lovely ending to a magical day in Regensburg.
Stay tuned for part two of Regensburg and our day trip to Walhalla!