Friday, July 2, 2010

Regensburg

April 14, 2010Resized_P150510_13.57 (photo above thanks to wiki)

We had cut Regensburg from our last visit to Germany due to time constraints. Since our trip back from Austria cut right past it, and we needed to eat and stretch our legs, we stopped.

We had three sites to hit – the Cathedral, the Stone BResized_P150510_14.04ridge and the Historische Wurstkuchl (also known as the sausage shop).  Regensburg, located along the banks of the Danube, has an amazingly well preserved medieval center city area and has been inhabited from at least the Stone Age onward.  It is not a large city, and we had no trouble finding the Dom – as the Regensburg Cathedral is known.  You could see that it was an Resized_P150510_14.07ancient place by the Celtic knotwork found in the crypt below… When the Celts lived here, they gave the city its first name, Radasbana.Resized_P150510_14.17

The interior of the church was lovely and understated, it is the best example of German Gothic architecture in southern Germany.  The structure was built over time, between the 12th and 16th centuries, and some of the stained glass dates back to the 13th century.  I was particularly fascinated by the wall art featured at right. (OK, I know that wall art is not right. There is some official name for it, that I do not know) As you can see, it is a female saint wielding a sword – and it is not Joan of Arc! (She is always in armor or on a horse)  Her face looks remarkably serene, and her other arm seems busy just gathering up her robes.  I assume she needs to get them out of her way so she can chop your head off without tripping….  I looked at the wiki site for the Dom and do not find her mentioned, and she had no plaque or information next to her on the wall.  I’ve been to a lot of cathedrals, and she is unique, wish I could find out more… Who is this meditative warrior woman?

Typically, the cathedral also features a Judensau (pic thanks to Wiki) on the sideResized_P150510_14.38 of the wall that faces the old Jewish quartier.  Of course, there are no Jews living there now, or at least very few.  They have been persecuted throughout the history of the city.  “In 1096, on the way to the First Crusade, Peter the Hermit led a mob of Crusaders who attempted to force the mass conversion of the Jews of Regensburg and killed all those who resisted.”   I am guessing there must have been new settlements, or those who said they converted went back to the old ways since the Judensau was deemed a necessary addition to the Cathedral walls.  I read here they were completely driven out in 1519 due to being blamed for a bad economy.  Now we blame banks, Wall Street greed, Democrats, Republicans, gays – but back then it was the Jews!  Not trying to say the Jews aren’t still persecuted here – but maybe now there are more targets that the veniality gets spread around on.

Not since Belgium have I given a shout out for a local store – but there was a place in Regensburg I totallResized_P150510_15.19y fell in love with.  We only found it because it was right next to the bathroom and ended up staying in there for almost an hour.  It was a mineral/fossil shop (I love these) but what made it unique was 3 things.  The prices (unbelievably cheap) was the first – he was selling strings of amber beads for 20 Euros!  The second was the unbelievably friendly proprietor, Dr of geology Reinhardt Aepler, who invited us and the children to touch and experience the stones and fossils for as long as we wanted – no pressure to buy.  The last thing was his collection. This man had an amazing collection of all sorts of fossils, polished rocks and stones and (most attractive to me) had many many turned into unique beads at amazing prices.  A large bead was 4 or 5 Euros.  I bought two pendants and Andre got me an amethyst chain with pendant for Mother’s Day.   The place was called Mineralienladen and it is at Waaggaesschen 5 93047 Regensburg. It is open Mon-Friday 10 to 6 and Saturdays from 11 to 2.  If you want to give them a call it is 094167863.  Tell them we sent you…..

We went onward, passing beautiful architecture and looking foResized_P150510_15.33r the Steinerne Brücke (Old Stone Bridge).  This is a very famous bridge, according to  wiki: “The Stone Bridge, built 1135–1146, is a highlight of medieval bridge building. The knights of the 2nd and 3rd crusade used it to cross the Danube on their way to the Holy Land.”  That is pretty awesome, especially when you realize it is still standing today and in heavy use!  The thing has 16 arches and is over Resized_P150510_15.581000 meters long.

But the best feature of the Bridge is the oldest fast-food restaurant in the world, and the first sausage house in all of Germany - Historische Wurstkuchl.  It can trace its history at least back to the 12th century – that would be the 1100’s, when Resized_P150510_15.36the bridge was built.  Kind of blew my mind to eat in a place where knights used to snack nearly 1000 years ago. I guess it was ‘location, location, location’ even back then.  But, I also must say the bratwurst and sauerkraut with spicy sweet  mustard on hard rye rolls was one of the best things I’ve ever been lucky enough to eat.  Must return someday…. 

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