Viking Danube cruise, Regensburg

Weltenberg Abbey

At breakfast we got the announcement that the river was so high that the boat couldn’t go under the bridges. Those of us who had flights from Nuremburg the following Sunday before 10 am would have to pack up after dinner tonight and be bussed to Nuremburg for the tour. We wouldn’t be coming back to the ship after that tour; they’d put us up in a hotel so we could catch our early flights the next day. Well! Gordon and I had a 10:20 flight but they included us in the hotel group. We finished breakfast and got our gizmos and water bottles for the tour of Regensburg. When I got on the bus I didn’t feel too bad about not staying with the boat. They’d parked us in an industrial section with about four other Viking boats (they were all stuck due to high water). Our view was of a beer bottling plant and railroad cars. At least our room still overlooked the water. The boat next to us looked into cabins. Ish. The guide at Regensburg took us over the 12th century stone bridge (cars are now forbidden) into the medieval town. The only reason the town survived WWII was due to its decline. It had no industry and there was no reason to bomb it. It’s turned into a tourist goldmine and BMW has a plant nearby. The guide walked us through the city, describing life in the 1400’s–people throwing waste into streets from 4 stories up and waiting for the river to wash it away. They had a lot of disease (duh!). She told us about the statuary of local heroes. The one I thought was Don Quixote was the bastard son of the Holy Roman Emperor and a hotel maid. Apparently, he took a fancy to her (she didn’t have a choice in the matter) and took her as his mistress. It didn’t end too well for her. She was considered a slut, was married off to an army office when the emperor tired of her, the officer died and left her destitute, and she sold her ‘favors’ to make ends meet. At least the emperor had her son educated and he became a hero in the Spanish court–I forget how. Anyway, that explained his costume. I got lots of facts and figures and I’m forgetting how everything fits together. Anyway, they couldn’t get us back to the boat for lunch so we were fed at a local restaurant. It was boiled pork loin and potatoes; I didn’t care for it much but the beer was good. Gordon and I took advantage of our free time to run back to see St. Peter’s, the local gothic church–we’d seen plenty of baroque ones. St.Peter’s had the flying buttresses, the tall ceiling, and the great stained glass–and it was dark and depressing. At least baroque churches are cheerful. That afternoon we took a boat trip down the Danube Narrows to Weltenburg Abbey. This Abbey was founded in the 7th century by Scots monks and supported itself by making beer. We got to sample the beer on the boat along with a pretzel and some local mustard. Both were very good. We got an infomercial about beer making at the Abbey, then got a tour of the nave–another spectacular Baroque church. One new thing was a statue of St. George fighting a dragon to save a damsel as an altar piece. I was used to crucifixes but that’s the Scots for you. There was a beer garden with the local beer being sold by buxom waitresses dressed in those dirndl dresses. They looked like they could have lifted a keg in each brawny arm. I suppose I should have had a beer but I’d run out of .50 euros for the ‘toilet frau’ (that’s what was written on her change box; it’s a pay to pee situation). We bussed back to the boat for dinner which was a Bavarian feast. We had sausages and sauerkraut and were serenaded by two men in lederhosen playing accordians. They played a familiar polka so I started doing the Chicken Dance in my chair. The accordian players really liked that. I finally stood and did the Chicken Dance by myself–at least the part without the polka, there wasn’t enough room to polka. That must be a Midwestern thing because the Texans tried to pick it up–it’s not like it’s that hard. Anyway, that was my contribution to dinner entertainment. I found out how lucky Gordon and I were to be able to stay in Nuremburg overnight. The Texas couple at our table didn’t fly out until 11 so they had to bus to Nuremburg for the tour, bus back to the boat for overnight, then bus back to Nuremburg early the final morning. That’s a lot of bus riding. But what can you do? Viking plans and God laughs. Gordon and I packed after dinner and got ready to leave the next morning. I wonder if they got the boats to Nuremburg in time to pick up the next load of vacationers…


About Barbara Schnell

I've dedicated my life to full-time employment avoidance. I've been an actress, renovated a 1921 California Bungalow, set a cash-winning record on $25,000 Pyramid, and came in last on Jeopardy. I live in Los Angeles with my patient husband and two cats.
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