Regensburg is a medium sized town in central Bavaria. It exists as a town primarily because of this particular river, the Danube, and this particular 12th century bridge that crosses it. It's not a terribly exciting bridge but it was the only one across the Danube so all the commercial traffic had to come through here.
Somehow, Regensburg has avoided serious damage in the one or two or twelve wars since then and most of the city has that pleasant Bavarian sort of look about it. Okay, so maybe they're displaying a few more pastel colors than is typically Bavarian. Just off to the right of the frame in this picture is a little wurst stand that opened about a decade after the bridge did and has been there ever since. There's some sort of complex debate about whether or not this makes it the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world. It doesn't really matter, but it is very old.
The kitchen of it looks like this. There's a tiny indoor dining area and a few picnic tables along the danube. Or you can just walk in and tell them how many you want. That's because they only really serve the local Regensburg wurst. You have the options of having them on bread or on a plate and with or without kraut. If you're getting them on a plate they come in sixes, eights and tens.
We had two, because we were also planning on having lunch nearby. These are two more Bavarian specialty items. The top plate is wurstsalat which really isn't specific to Bavaria but it varies around Germany. The important things are some form of sliced cold wurst, pickles, onions, pickled onions (that's all three German vegetables right there) and vinegar.
The lower plate is Saurezipfel. That would be practically the same ingredients as a wurstsalat except the entire thing is boiled in vinegar and then served in a bowl of vinegar. It's guaranteed to lower your pH two full points or your money back.
This is the lovely view of central Regensburg from the island in the middle of the Danube. The Dom (cathedral) monopolizes the skyline and can be seen from miles away.
The bridge is not on fire, that's a reflection of the candle on our table in the beerhall this picture was taken from.
At any given time about half the tourists in Regensburg are on this bridge. There isn't always a German military presence though, that was just serendipity. Okay, enough pictures of the bridge for now.
Regensburg started out as Castra Regina, named by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The city layout has been affected by the original fortified Roman town, but this gate (now encompassed by a building) is the most obvious actual remnant. It is called the Porta Pretoria and every time we wandered by there was a school group in front of it getting a lecture.
Johannes Kepler lived here. He probably wandered around on that bridge, ate wurst at the little hut at the end of it and maybe even drank beer on the island in the Danube as well.
It's not exactly stressed in the Regensburg promotional literature but Kepler only lived here for a short time at the end of his life.
The Dom St. Peters occupies the center of Regensburg. It's certainly not the most decorated cathedral in Europe but it's impressive nonetheless.
Away from the bridge, there is quite a lot of Regensburg to see. Most of the fairly large city center is car-free so it's a great place to walk around and get lost and end up suprisingly far from your hotel. It's also a great base to explore up and down this part of the Danube valley but we're leaving the specifics of that to another page.
Here are Josef and Gunther. We met them at the Kneitinger Brewery which is located in Regensburg. If you're not familiar with German beer halls, there's a basic policy of enforced socialness through the use of long communal benches. We spent three hours communicating with Josef and Gunther and unfortunately know precious little about them because: (1) - they're both deaf. (2) - German sign language has shockingly little in common with American sign language. (3) - Gunther didn't bring his glasses so he couldn't read our German scribbled onto coasters very well and of course (4) - our German is really quite horrible, especially written. Anyway we had a good time and 4 beers later (for us anyway) we emerged after midnight back into the alleys of Regensburg.
Regensburg is really quite lively at night thanks in part to a large student population. Many streets were full of people until at least 2 AM and if nothing else you can always get Doner Kebabs until then (maybe later). Some of the bars are open until around 4 AM, possibly later. This is the last picture we took though, shortly before the lights illuminating the cathedral were turned off.