A day trip to Regensburg
Regensburg makes for a convenient and pleasant day trip from Munich. Less than an hour and a half and thanks to the Bayern partner ticket, an affordable train journey away, the town perhaps the closest place of serious historical interest.
In its day a far more important place than Munich and seat not just of Bavarian government but of the electors and on occasion the Holy Roman Emperor himself. Core to its wealth, the island in the Danube making the river bridgeable and hence the centre of a major toll-able trading route, most importantly in salt, the major medieval commodity.
The pristine medievalness is not just a product of no major allied bombing, but also, due to the towns relative lack of importance since the medieval era. Like many a German trading town, it never quite recovered from the discovery of the Americas and became stuck fast in a development time warp.
The tour of the Regensburg Rathaus is the stand out highlight. More than just a town hall this 13th century building contains the imperial hall and Prince electors’ chambers. Our delightful guide showed us where the prince electors had sat to decide who was to be the next Emperor (always a Hapsburg) and the hall where that Emperor had on occasion held court or an imperial Diet. Most comically the scene of the never ending Diet that ran from 1663 to 1806 whence it was promptly dispatched by a Napoleon, unimpressed by this sort of feudal EU talking house.
We were truly taken with the whole experience, as we were guided through this immensely evocative building by a guide who brimmed with enthusiasm and had such an extraordinary manner of delivery that we were mimicking her for much of the rest of the week (and beyond…). The comedy reaching its climax as we were ushered into the dungeons to review, in hushed tones, instruments of torture that looked so harmless they could, in a different context have been presented to me as a medieval massage devices.
Outside, we were entertained briefly by the innovative local busking outfit, ‘The Jazz Statues’ before heading up the hill to catch some more of the towns attractions.
Principle among these is the the Regensburg Dom (Cathedral) towering over the more humble buildings crowding around it and of course the bridge itself, which is still an impressive sight stretching low over a very fast running Danube. We climbed up the Bridges’ one remaining tower for a euro and had views out over the rooftops and up the Danube to verdant rolling hills.
Once the sightseeing was over we lolled around the atmospheric streets and finding the Ratskeller closed, found another Bavarian looking eatery, had a pizza (we were mistaken) and caught the train home.