Walhalla : The German Parthenon

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Walhalla , the German Parthenon
Finally, we’ve reached our destination , the Walhalla , the German Parthenon as they called it, a revival from the one in Acropolis, in Athens. After  almost an hour of pleasant cruising along the Danube, we embark from the ship and set our foot in Donaustauf, directly looking at the foot of the mountain.

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Lots of green in different shades , cloisters, and castle ruins

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View of Walhalla from the boat
It was indeed a pleasant ride, add the fact that we are rewarded with scenic views along the river. I am so thankful that the weather has been perfect, a sunny, around 30-34 degrees, toasty, but nevertheless, we are happy that we were not bothered by rain, otherwise, we would have cancelled this trip.

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Took this photo of the scenic vista of Bavarian countryside up from the massive Walhalla temple, east of Regensburg
Guys, going to Walhalla with a 3-year old toddler is no joke. I wouldn’t even called it as an ideal destination to bring a toddler. It’s not a place to play.

I mean, yes, we are adventurous, strong and able, but not stupid enough to exhaust ourselves climbing the steep mountain with a stroller in hand. Looking at our group, I didn’t see anyone with a stroller, there are lots of bikes in the foot of the mountain, but no stroller. For a minute I thought that we  made a mistake in going to this place. Looking at the 300+ steep steps, the elevation, there is no way a stroller can go up there, nope. I wanted to go back, as I am already feeling tired. I am in the brink of giving up, and in a helpless blank mode, since I don’t know where to go. Taking a deep breath, I just smiled when I looked at my daughter, my busy talkative  Little travel Buddy . She said she just want to see the orca in Walhalla!

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Tourists braving the steps

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Colonnade
But my husband is my lifesaver. Google maps aren’t working but then He managed to find the foot path that leads us to the alternate route going up the mountain. Honestly speaking, I have high respect to German sites such as these. I knew it’s not a tourist trap. I knew from experience that they make sure that the place is accessible and always give considerations for the physically challenged, disabled, with wheelchairs, let alone strollers with very young children. I’ve seen even cows and horses goes up to the Zugspitze  or in the Alps, in a comfy cable cars! Why not here?

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Fine details inside the Memorial Hall
With the gigantic view of the massive Walhalla in front of us, we decided to head to the left side road, a small foot path leading to Walhallastrasse in the village of Donaustauf, in the direction of the backside of the mountain.We took the skimpy foot path where we came across a lady with 2 little boys who told us that the foot path going up the mountain is currently closed, and the one which goes through the forest is difficult to follow for lack of directions. We chose to stick to the highway that leads up to the main parking area, and climb  uphill. This is the best possible option if we can’t make the 358 steps.

The walk uphill is not that bad actually, it’s a 20-30 minute walk depending on your pace. The moment I saw from a distance so many cyclists and horses with people climbing up, I felt hopeful, and positive. We entertained ourselves by listening to my daughter’s ramblings and singing. She was just in a happy mood. We decided to climb the remaining steps and she’s fine with it. At the ride side of the temple, finally there is a ramp.

Hooorrraayyy, we’ve made it!

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The Hall dedicated to honor the notable Germans
Something about Walhalla

The Walhalla is located in a dominant position high above the Danube in the east of Regensburg. This Neoclassical building in the form of a temple surrounded by a portico with gigantic columns that  represents one of the most important German national monuments of the 19th century. Created by order of  Bavarian King Ludwig I (reigned 1825-1848). The Walhalla was built by Ludwig’s I favourite architect, Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), one of the most important Neoclassical architects of the 19th century. The foundation stone was laid in 1830 and the building was ceremoniously opened twelve years later, on 18 October 1842. Klenze’s design was primarily inspired by the famous Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens dating from 5th century B.C.  The combination of colonnaded temple and massive substructure and the free design of the interior however prevents the architecture from being a mere copy of the ancient building. The temple building, which is clad inside and out with precious marble, rises above the massive tiered substructure. This was originally intended to house the ‘Hall of Expectation’ containing the busts of people to be honoured in the future.

In short, Walhalla is one great site to see!!

 

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King Ludwig of Bavaria, the man who made all these things possible. Without him, we won’t have this place to explore.

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I find this door really intriguing…
 

The memorial  Hall displays some 65 plaques and 130 busts covering 2,000 years of history, beginning with Arminius, victor at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. Inside the temple is a striking hall, filled with busts of people, gigantic monuments and the ceiling is quite impressive. Notable people whom I recognized (at least  from which I am familiar with )  were Goethe, Richard Strauss, Alfred Einstein, Wilhelm von Oranje, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Albrecht Dürer , Erasmus of Rotterdam, Nikolaus Copernicus,Martin Luther,Johann Sebastian Bach, and of course, King Ludwig of Bavaria.

The rest I don’t know, or at least I haven’t heard of them. Most of them are really notable and made a great impact in German history, to be in this hall of fame, at least you need to be dead for 20 years…

I wonder whose going to be included in this list?

The columns in Walhalla are huge and gigantic. I find the whole place so majestic, like I imagine it would be, suddenly I thought about the Greek Mythology and the mighty Gods in Mt. Olympus. It’s a surreal experience to be on top. We arrived on a bright sunny day, perfect weather, and yes, as expected, packed with tourists, but the views are breathtaking. I couldn’t find a place in the front colonnade to be empty. Everyone was busy taking their photos, having a picnic, lounging in the floor of the temple, admiring the scenic vista in front of them. Acres and acres of different shades of greens, the graceful flow of the Danube and the beautiful skyline of this region. I never imagined that this place could be so beautiful.

I have a thing with vertigo and I am scared for my daughter. I can’t ever let her go, even for a second. There is  a warning and precaution for this place since fatal accidents  already happened if ever you slipped in the edges of the temple.

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Not afraid of the heights…
If you are exploring Bavaria and the neighboring cities like Regensburg, Weltenburg and Kelheim, this trip should not be  missed. Once you are at the top, you forget that you sweat out.Traveling with kids has never been easy, be it by car, plane or whatever means. Imagine the  chaos, but also imagine the joy you feel as you create memories as a family.

No matter how you choose to explore the beautiful Bavaria, it’s gonna be amazing!

What do you think about Walhalla Temple? would you consider exploring it with your child?

More information about this place can be found Here, and if you want further reading about spending 48 hours in Regensburg, then you might want to check out these links.

Exploring the Streets of Regensburg

Wurstkuchl: the 870 Historical Sausage Kitchen of the World

Cruising along the Danube

Hundertwasser and Kuchlbauer : When Beer and Art meets

 

Cruising along the Danube

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Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…

I guess everyone dreamed of  cruising along a river…I’m one of them.

The chance came and I just did! and it was a wonderful ! I remembered how I was enchanted by the beautiful Moselle river and by far, the Danube river has its own charm.This post is really special to me because this is something that I really enjoyed from our last trip. It was also the most exhausting one, but then, as the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough get going…”

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I wrote many things about the mighty river “Danube” (or Donau) in this Blog. How can’t I?, the river is just 10 minutes away from where I live, I see it everyday, it has become my daily backdrop and a favorite subject for photos. Seeing its different faces through all seasons becomes so normal for me. But  then we discovered something else about its charm. We’ve seen another phase of this mighty river in Regensburg. Cruising through its magical waters is different, especially if you are traveling with a hyperactive toddler. Yes, she loved the boat idea, but to keep her calm through the whole boat ride is another innuendo!

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The boat is turning around…
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And off we go…! Germans adore the sun , lots and lots of sunshine, so they prefer to sit in the open deck for better views and winds, but my daughter wants to jump off the water!

So anyway, last Tuesday, while we are in Regensburg, we decided to take a cruising along the Danube trip to visit one of the most notable off -the-beaten path destination——- the German Parthenon, a replica of the one in Athens, Greece, the Walhalla Temple. Another hidden gem in Bavaria and I think it deserves more recognition because this place is both educational and not for the faint-hearted. It takes guts to be up there, but the views are totally worth it.  Bavarian King Ludwig I (reigned 1825-1848) ordered his great Architect Leo von Klenze to build this place to dedicate to all great German speakers and notable persons. Quite extraordinary tribute, right? Aren’t you curious whose on the list?

Walhalla is a temple built high above the mountains, I thought, how are we going to make it there with a 3-year old plus a bulky stroller? Can we climb the hilly terrain plus  the 358 steps ?

From the cruising to hiking? Possible? YES!

But first, we relaxed and enjoyed the comfortable cruise ride to go to our main destination.

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We have some company in the river, so many ships and barges crossing over.

The Charm of the Danube

The river Danube seen from the Old Stone Bridge (Steinerne Brücke) in Regensburg looks so calm, graceful and deep. I spent quite sometime just admiring the view in front of me, with all the boats,  ships, museum, and cruise ships passing by me, and of course, a mass of people. Everyone just love to lounge in the banks of the river.

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Took this photo from above the Walhalla, the route where the ships go crossing the Danube.

Napoleon once referred to the Danube River as the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers,” a fitting title for Europe’s second-longest river. It measures 1,775 miles long and up to nearly 1 mile wide and touches 10 countries — Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, GermanyHungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine — and four capitals. That alone has made the Danube a vital transportation route for more than 2,000 years. The Danube cycling path is also well-known for cycling enthusiasts and wanderers. It is my dream also to cycle on one of its paths, maybe someday when  my toddler can also join this type of adventure.

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Today, ships can navigate 87 percent of the waterway’s length, meaning Danube River cruises can sail from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The Main-Danube Canal, which got its major start in the 18th century, was completed in 2002 when the final piece was put in place for the 106 mile, 16-lock waterway.

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The cruise experience from Regensburg to Walhalla

We got our ticket from the Regensburger Schifffahrt ( Klinger) and by 10:30 a.m, the boat docked in front of us and off we go.There was quite a crowd already but I am impressed that even strollers, pets, and persons with wheelchair can join this trip. The staffs are both helpful and mindful.

We found a place near the window but we often go to the open deck to have better views and took photos. There is an audio tour both in German and English so that was very handy for me. At the beginning, my daughter was so excited but then after 10 minutes or so, she started to get whiny and cranky. It was time for her midday nap.She crashed into her nap and woke up when we are already in the foot of the temple.

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Beautiful nature sights during the trip.

Cruising along the Danube is wonderful , especially for families. If you want to explore from what is beyond the norm then it’s a great break from the claustrophobic and touristy streets in Regensburg . The views along the river is very scenic, enough to put you in a trance. We passed by  some notable arches, bridges, and castle ruins in the hills surrounding the Danube. The atmosphere inside the boat is very cozy, the bathrooms are clean and you can order food & drinks as you like.

The trip lasts for more than 45 mins, from which my daughter just sleep through out the whole time. The drop off was easy and the guests are allowed to wander &  explore Walhalla for 75 minutes, after this, the boat comes back for the trip going back to Regensburg.

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The striking Walhalla Temple

Finally, we’ve reached our destination.We stood on this spot for quite sometime trying to figure out how to navigate this place, pushing the stroller, I thought, how are we going to be on top?

I’ll tell you more about the rest of our adventure in my post about this mighty Walhalla temple.Until then, thank you for reading my friends.

If you are visiting Regensburg, make sure not to miss this. The information about this trip is available in the Tourist Information in the Old Town of Regensburg and the ticket booth is just beside the Old Stone Bridge and the Wurstkuchl. It’s a hotspot location and you won’t miss it!

 

 

 

 

 

Discovering the streets of Regensburg

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The view of the Old town of Regensburg from the other side of the Old Stone Bridge.
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The city of Regensburg was added to UNESCO World Heritage Site from July 13,2006.

Bavaria, my second home here in Europe,  is a region in Germany where holidays from work is plentiful. I mean, here, I have heard of holidays which I’ve never heard before , like for example yesterday was Maria himmelfahrt ( or the Feast of the Assumption Day of Mary ) . So we decided to take another  trip and extend our nomadic bearings in exploring the Romantic roads and historical cities of Bavaria. This time, we chose Germany’s (another) UNESCO World Heritage site, the fascinating city of Regensburg, the medieval city of northernmost town in Italy.

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Houses along the Danube
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Walking through the Old Town of Regensburg

A little something about Regensburg

Before I don’t know anything about Regensburg, nothing at all. So when we tour this city, I was really surprised at how fascinating it is. My personal impression : Regensburg is beautiful, and has its own charm to be proud of.

But let yourself be warned, it is also very touristy and expensive. Most of the attractions can only be accessed with tours and entrance fees are high compared to other places we’ve been to.

For the record, Regensburg is the largest Medieval city in Germany. With two thousand years of thrilling history meets lifestyle on the Danube. It is one of the few cities in Germany which were spared from heavy bombings from WWII. Regensburg has 1,500 listed buildings; 984 of them make up the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Old Town with Stadtamhof’ ensemble.

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Quaint, narrow streets

Regensburg , a city that lies along the beautiful Danube ( or Donau) river was an important reloading point on the continental trade routes to Italy, Bohemia, Czech Republic and Russia.

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Not all those who wanders are lost…
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Tuscan inspired Patrician’s Houses

Impressions about Regensburg

Regensburg is a colorful city. I love colors and art so this city is really gives me a very charming atmosphere. Almost all of the important landmarks of the city are within walking distance so its easy to navigate. Although I don’t consider myself as a tourist here, I was intimidated with the massive amount of tourist that I saw. Compared to Nuremberg, the tourists flocked like birds, they are everywhere. There are plenty of ‘Tuscan style’ of the pastel coloured patrician’s houses which makes it really unique from other cities we’ve visited. The small, narrow streets contains so much detail which you can see from the windows, railings, and doors.

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Colorful details

 

Regensburg’s Old Town is an exceptional testament to the cultural traditions in the Holy Roman Empire and Christianity. In the inner city  alone, it has 46 churches.There are churches of different denomination in almost every corner we go. It has small, narrow alleys which leads one to the other and I find the traffic build-up rather annoying . We were exploring the city with a stroller so I find it hard to push the stroller on almost gut-end of the curb of the streets, add the hassle of the cobbled-stone pavements. Nevertheless, as same as in most parts of Germany, drivers are polite and always giving way to pedestrians.

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Is it Fall already in Regensburg?
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Flowers in the windows

What to see in Regensburg

Oh Regensburg has a lot to offer for all ages, especially for families! Be it for leisure, fun, adventure or a simple getaway from another city, this city is never a dull one.

Your eyes will feast on so many different kinds of beautiful architecture, monumental buildings, museums, churches, and the views that surrounds the city. If you are a lover of art, there are plenty of museums to visit. We skipped this part because my daughter can’t stand the long hours contained indoors in Museums and tours. Here are some of the highlights of our trip which I think you shouldn’t miss if you are planning to visit this city.

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Fancy finds

The Old Stone  Bridge ( Steinerne Brücke )

The panoramic view of the city with the large stone bridge dating from post-Roman times is completely a postcard-worth for photography! It is an impressive bridge , which were once considered as “The Eighth Wonder of the World”.This medieval monument has served as a model for many other bridges, including Charles Bridge in Prague.

Built between  1135 to 1146,with its original length of 350 meters, and 7 meters wide, with its fortifications with three towers.For more than 800 years, it was the only stone bridge over the Danube from Ulm to Vienna. Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa launched the Third Crusade from here in May 1189.

The views from the bridge and from its foot are really great. The view of the Danube over the Stone Bridge is a magical one and the view of the city’s skyline with its orange and rust colored-roofs is so impressive. I think this is the best landmark of this city. The only thing that bothers me is that a large part of the bridge was undergoing a restoration so half of it was covered in scaffolding so yes, the perfect shot that I wanted to make was unfortunately not possible.Nevertheless, I find it really impressive.

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Intricate detail found in the facade of the Altes Rathaus in the Old Town’s square
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Bikes everywhere…

The Old Town

The Old town of Regensburg is a maze of wonder, every alley has its own twists and turns, own charm and yes, it is quite a challenge to discover them one by one. Best way to explore them is by foot since streets are narrow and there are plenty of attractions for sightseeing. There are numerous squares and cafes for a pit stop and place to rest. I saw a lot of details in the rows of buildings, houses and shops. The best way to describe the  charm of Regensburg’s Old Town is through photos. You need to experience it for yourself.

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St. Peter’s Cathedral

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St. Peter’s Cathedral ( Dom St. Peter )

Since I moved to Germany, I have seen beautiful Cathedrals, and this one is no exception. At the heart of Krautermarkt square, you can’t miss St, Peter’s Cathedral.The exterior itself is already impressive and the twin towers are the best landmark of the city. Wherever you go, you always see the towers dominating the skyline.  This cathedral is famous for its ‘Sailer Chapel”, “St. Peter’s Window”, the “Smiling  Angel ” and its complicated , striking and yet  legendary Gothic vaulting. Big part of the Dom is undergoing restoration and during our visit, the front grounds is being prepared for the finishing program for a Triathlon race event (Challenge Regensburg) , so I find it rather in chaotic mode with so many boulders in front. Visitors with kids in stroller and wheelchairs can access the cathedral by way of the close ( Domgarten) to the north side of the Cathedral.There are guided tours ( 6 Euros) to access the cloisters, chapel of all Saints and St. Stephen but only in German.

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Musicians playing music in the public square
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Extraordinary find: The mural of David and Goliath right in the heart of a busy shopping area in the Old Town

The Old Town Hall ( Altes Rathaus)

I love the intricate detail of this 13th century old Town Hall ( or Altes Rathaus) which consists of the Town Hall tower, the Gothic Imperial Chamber building and the baroque Town Hall. From 1663 to 1806 the Reichstag Imperial Assembly met in the Imperial Chamber. It was there that the well-known expressions “to put something on the long bench” (to postpone something) and “to sit at the green table” (to take important decisions) originated.

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The doors symbolizes as openings and gateway for knowledge

Notable in this place is the imperial assembly hall and the torture chamber in the cellar where persons charged with an offense were “questioned”.This place can be accessed only with guided tour.Down the town hall is the Tourist Information Center where you can get any information you need to explore Regensburg.

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Fürstliches Schloss Thurn and Taxis ( Thurn & Taxis Palace)

We discovered this Palace by chance when we are looking for a playground. It is very huge. More like a version of the Buckingham Palace. The palace gardens are of private property , including the Prince of Thurn und Taxis Museums, their own Brewery– the Brauhaus am Schloss, the Cloister of St. Emmeram. I admit that when I saw the explicit and grand Carriage Museum and Princely Treasury, I was totally in awe how rich this family is. The name of the noble house of Thurn und Taxis is closely bound to the postal history of Europe.The family, which originally came from Cornello,near Bergamo in Northern Italy built up a postal system in the 15th century.For over 350 years, Thurn und Taxis managed the postal affairs in Central Europe.

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Porta Praetoria

Porta Praetoria

Not as impressive as the Porta Nigra in Trier, but if you love Roman architecture, then you are in luck. This hidden gem which shows the ruins and old Roman gate built without using a mortar. The twin arches served as a city gate until the 17th century. The parts that remain are the western arch, a section of the wall connected to the western tower, and the two-story eastern tower. The shaped stones were built-in layers without using mortar. The Porta Nigra, Trier’s northern city gate, was built at the same time, and the two are the only remaining Roman gates north of the Alps. For the record, Porta Praetoria gains significance as the only remaining gate of a Roman military camp in northern Europe.

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The ruins of the Roman Porta Praetoria

There’s so much more to see and to write about Regensburg, even my photos won’t do justice. All I know is that I can sit there in the dock of the Danube for hours, watching the ship, cruise, and boats take the toll of time. Feeling the wind in my face, smelling history as I looked at the skyline and watch the hustle and bustle of people, roaming around, paddling the waves of curiosity.

Every cobble stone is patched to create a mosaic of  rough patterns, transforming the movements of the locals and visitors into a myriad of tales, photographs, stories, and memories.Every photographs depicts a memorable time spent in new found land, a new taste of culture and wisdom gained from what the eyes conceived.

As the saying goes, “Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller “.

What’s your story about Regensburg?

What do you think of this city?

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Someday I have a story to tell to my daughter…

 

Until then,  let the turning of pages continues. I’ll see you in my next travel story about Regensburg!

 

 

 

Wurstkuchl : 870-Year Old Historic Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg

 

I know, I know, I have written it before,  Germany is the land of Beer, Pretzel (or Brezen here in Bavaria) and these two won’t be complete without the Wurst, the king of every German’s table, or as the world commonly known as “Sausages“.  But let me tell you, among the ” highly acclaimed 1,500 types of sausages“, there is this distinctive sausage that we found right in the oldest Sausage Kitchen in the whole world —- the Wurstkuchl, or the “Historic Sausage Kitchen “.

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Wurstkuchl : The busiest “fastfood”along the Danube.

So does it mean that anything “old” is really good? Just like wine, it gets better with age, but does it goes with sausages too?

On the foot of the famous 12th Century  Old Stone Bridge ( Steinerne Brücke) along the river Danube, you can find this talk-of-the-town, small, tourist magnet,especially for food lovers, the contemporary and aptly titled “Historic Sausage Kitchen” that has been serving fine fried sausages to patrons for nearly 900 years.

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Original Regenburg’s home made sausages with Sauerkraut and mustard
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An Oldie but Goodie

It is perhaps the oldest continuously open public restaurant in the world. It is so easy to find, once you see a flock of tourists, mostly cyclists, in line, patiently waiting. It’s a perfect place to rest the tired feet , and of course with the Beer garten next to the river, it is a cozy place.

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The home-made sausages grilled in an old-fashioned coal grill

 

Historische Wurstküche zu Regensburg  became a restaurant named “Garkueche auf dem Kranchen” (‘cookshop near the crane’) as it was situated near the then river port. Dockers, sailors and the staff of the nearby St. Peter cathedral workshop were the regulars for the centuries to come. Almost all tourists flocked in this area to sample the famous sausages and probably because just like me, they are there out of curiosity.

When everyone is talking about it, there must be something about it and the only way to find out is to try it. 

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The busy kitchen of Wusrtkuchl

Just like the famous “Nürmberger” sausage boasted by the locals of Nuremberg, Wurstkuchl take their pride in their Bratwurst sausages with their exclusive secret recipe , only few staff knows the recipe and slow-cooked in its old-fashioned charcoal grill. These homemade sausages made of  purest ham of pork, served with Sauerkraut (Germany’s favorite side dish) fermented in their own cellar and of course, their original Wurstkuchl mustard following the historical recipe of Elsa Schricker.

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The bestseller through centuries; Regensburg sausages with Sauerkraut and sweet mustard
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A Taste of History

They have a take away counter where you can have a glimpse of how the sausages are being grilled. It’s a quaint, small kitchen and as expected, if you visit on busy Summer months, the crowds can be intimidating. There are seats and tables outside but you need to wait to be seated since almost all tables are taken. I think, all tourists in Regensburg are dying to try what’s in their famed sausages, and of course, a sausage won’t be complete without a mug of Beer!

As many as 6,000 sausages are served by the kitchen to guests every day. During the high tourist season in summer, additional wooden benches and tables are laid out in front of the tiny building.If you want to have an authentic taste of Regensburg, then you need to head on to this place. I think apart from the taste of the sausages, it’s the taste of the legacy, culture, and the atmosphere itself that this restaurant have that ‘s why it withstand up to this time.

A quick, delicious, filling  typical  German sausage combo meals is always a great reason to have a pit stop in this place. What more you can ask, you have a lovely location with a view of the Danube river plus the passing boats!

 

Have you’ve been to Regensburg?

Do you like sausages?

For more sightseeing fun to do in Regensburg, make sure you check out this;

Discovering the Streets of Regensburg