This morning we bade a fond farewell to Prague, and then set out by car toward our next destination, the Bavarian city of Munich. When planning this year's odyssey months ago, the use of a hired car and driver proved to be more economical than flying the relatively short distance (230 miles) between the two cities. It's about a 4-hour drive, but we decided to make a stop along the way in the city of Regensburg, roughly the halfway point, for some brief sightseeing and lunch.
The car and driver arrived at our apartment by 9:00 AM, and we soon left Prague's traffic behind in favor of the open highways through green, rolling countryside. We encountered light-to-moderate rainfall as we drove through the Czech city of Pilsen, home of the famous beer brewery, and the rainy conditions continued until we crossed the Czech-German border.
Our driver, Marek, turned out to be much more than just a driver. A tall, lanky Czech who speaks excellent English, he is married with two teenage daughters, and for some years in the past played and taught tennis in Germany. He explained that 5-years-ago he met, quite by chance, the Czech entrepreneurs who conceived
The remains of the East Tower of the Porta Praetoria from Roman times
an Uber-type service that would deliver tourists between major cities and towns throughout Europe. Apparently the idea proved to be a winner, because the company now arranges over 3,000 rides (or day trips) per month.
When we arrived in Regensburg (pop. 150,000+), Marek parked the car and proceeded to lead us on a 30-minute tour of the Old Town area. Regensburg sits at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers, and is the fourth-largest city in the State of Bavaria after Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg. It has a rich history which dates back to 179 AD, when a Roman fort was built here during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Among the highlights of the Old Town we passed were the Stone Bridge, built 1135–1146, which the knights of the 2nd and 3rd crusade used to cross the Danube on their way to the Holy Land; the remains of the Roman fortress' walls, including the Porta Praetoria; the Old Town Hall, dating in part from the 14th-century; the so-called Golden Tower, one of the towers built by wealthy patrician families in the Middle Ages as status symbols (at 50-meters-high, it is the tallest residential tower north
of the Alps and has become one of the landmarks of Regensburg); and St. Peter's Cathedral, an outstanding example of pure German Gothic architecture in Bavaria. It was founded in 1275 and completed in 1634, with the exception of the towers, which were finished in 1869.
Following our interior visit of the cathedral, Marek recommended we have lunch at the nearby Hofbräuhaus Regensburg, which has some of the atmosphere of its more famous relative in Munich. The service was pretty slow, but we all enjoyed the typical beer garden fare, including schnitzel, sausages, pork, potatoes, salads and German beer. We lingered for almost an hour-and-a-half over lunch, until we departed for the final push to Munich at around 3 o'clock. After encountering traffic jams once we entered Munich, we finally arrived at our apartment at 5 o'clock, where the owner's agent had been waiting for us. Dee's Comments:
Another blessed day :-)! We got an outstanding driver, with a personality as impressive as his height (6'5"); we looked like midgets next to him! He was more like a tour guide, which we did not expect, and shared many interesting facts with us throughout the day. When we arrived
in Regensburg he showed us some sights in this quaint little town, then suggested a lunch spot where he helped us order our lunches.
By the time we arrived in Munich, it turned out to be a long day (9 AM to 5 PM), with the last 30 minutes inching along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. After we finally arrived at our apartment, we made a trip to a nice little grocery store that is just a 2-minute walk down the street from us. The apartment is very spacious, and most importantly has the first decent shower (without a tub to climb into and out of) we've had on the trip so far--what a relief!
The weather was chilly and damp when we arrived, but the forecasts look promising, with 80-degrees predicted in a few days (we won't know how to handle the heat). Tomorrow we hope to connect with our German friends, Peter and Rosita!
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