Oh, Regensburg!

I am beginning to understand why the Bavarians are so smug about their state (or separate country, depending on who you ask). At reasonable intervals, as one drives through the rolling, lush green hills of Bayern, dotted as they are with villages clustered around a lone church spire, Medieval towns seem to appear, welcoming you with ancient, stony arms. I live in one, for example, although the part of town bearing the vestiges of its Medieval past is very small and the surrounding area is less … historical. If my state was home to a crop of old, romantic, picture-book towns like, you know, Munich, Nürnberg, Rothenburg and Bamberg all set against the backdrop of green, green forest – all non-Bayerisch Germans, cover your ears –  I’d be pretty smug too.

UNESCO World Heritage listed Regensburg ups the ante a bit. It takes Rothenburg’s 950AD and raises the stakes by coolly playing the Stone Age card. Yes, the first settlements in what is today known as Regensburg date back to the flipping Stone Age when it went by the  Celtic name of Radasbona. In AD90, a fortress popped up, courtesy of the Romans, and the Regensburg AD ball really began rolling … all the way through a good 2000 years of empires, invasions, battles, religious struggles and the building of a big stone bridge (1135 -1146) which opened trade routes between Northern Europe and Venice, ushering in Regensburg’s golden age.

Yesterday we drove down to meet SG’s family for a walking history tour of Regensburg. The weather did its classic trick of appearing to be cold before we left the house, then busting through the late teens to hit 23, leaving my booted self furious I had missed the opportunity to wear normal shoes and SG vehemently complaining about his choice of apparel, every step of the way. So about five minutes into the tour, led by a very enthusiastic woman with a cap of dark hair, a Radler-thirst made itself known and lingered for the duration. I was also able to follow about 50% of what was said, the tour being in German and drowned out by church bells every fifteen minutes. But, it was a great way to see the city and my bat-ears were tuned in when we stopped by the 2000 year old stone archway (imagine!) and historical wurst kitchen, the oldest take away place in Germany. It dates back to the 13th century. A 13th century wurst imbiss, still alive and well today.

Here are some other things you may want to know about Regensburg:

– It has 150,000 inhabitants.

– Pope Benedict XVI was a Professor of Theology at the University of Regensburg in 70s and has been an honoury citizen of the city since 2006.

– Regensburg was the first capital of Bavaria.

– Now it is the capital of the Upper Palitinate region (the Oberpfalz).

– Regensburg largely escaped allied bombing, which helped the preservation of its medieval centre.

– Regensburg has ‘Europe’s most important golf museum.’

– It is absolutely beautiful and I did get my Radler.

Just hopping on a vespa in some lederhosen.
A piece of 2000 year old wall.

14 Replies to “Oh, Regensburg!”

  1. I can’t imagine any structure that is 2000+ years old. I think the oldest buildings we have in Canada are in Vieux Montreal, The Molson building was built in the 1600’s. Perhaps Newfoundland has some old Norse structures though, now that I think of it. 🙂

    1. Absolutely the same in Aus. The oldest buildings can only really date back to the late 1700s. But while we may not have old buildings, we have ancient land – I remind myself of Uluru every time I marvel over old man made structures!

  2. Had we known, we would have invited you and yours across the bridge to our island for a snack. We had about three hours of constant grilling at the park Am Grieser Spitz — sausages, authentic American hamburgers, chicken, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, etc. It was a swell day for it.

    Our pals from Texas and Weiden were down visiting (they used to live in Regensburg but moved to Weiden a couple years ago), plus a smattering of English, Irish and Australian friends showed up, together with some local natives from my office.

    Give me a heads-up next time and perhaps we can snag a bier or something.

  3. It is a lovely city, isn’t it? Your last photo… that is the place I would always go to when I was home sick. I would cross the bridge, turn around and look in awe of this fantastic city. It made me realize, I could muster through and the home sick feelings would start to dissipate.

  4. You have done a marvelous job on this entry, and on your blog in general. It is no wonder,that you have begun to receive some recognition for what you have been working on so diligently and brilliantly for so long.

    Good Luck, and Thank You for the excellent perspectives, and photography.

    I can relate quite well, as I am an American who lived in a town Southwest of Munich, called Herrsching am Ammer See. It was the best time, during which I learned so much about myself, and Bavaria, and Bavarians. Such powerful experiences, at a young age, I was 20, never leaves you.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Michael P. Whelan

    Las Vegas, Nevada

  5. Regensburg is my adopted hometown here in Germany, and I’m glad you enjoyed your visit.

    It’s an amazing place. It’s brilliant to find tiny piece of ancient Roman fortress walls behind more modern structures like the McDonald’s, but that’s just life here.

Comments are closed.