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Published: December 8th 2016
Regensburg is the best preserved medieval city in Germany, and the old town is a UNESCO World heritage site.
We bundled up and had a 2 hour walking tour of old town. The names and history of all the wonderful old buildings were pointed out to us, and I promptly forgot them all. But they are impressive examples of Gothic architecture, so were still interesting to see. Plus the streets are so narrow that pedestrians have to glue themselves to the side of a building to not get squashed when a car drove by. That was amusing for the first one or two times. After that, not so much.
All of the streets and sidewalks are cobblestone, which is harder to walk on for extended periods of time than you would think. Especially when the streets are hilly, which these were. Both of us are making good use of our canes walking around on these cobblestones. The uneven texture of the stones puts a lot of strain on ankles, knees and hips, and after a short time, those joints start to hurt like crazy! (I say "we", but Steve has only mentioned a painful knee once, so I really
mean "me"...). And since we can look forward to several more days of cobblestones, we are taking extra painkillers and laying down several times during the day as time allows. But still, we are having a good time!
One of the historical landmarks is the old Stone Bridge, which is the oldest preserved bridge of it's kind in Germany. It used to be made of wood, but because of the action of water on wood, the bridge was constantly needing replacement every few years. So, somebody got the bright idea to use stone, and that was that.
St. Peter's Cathedral can be seen from almost any point in the old town. The inside is even more impressive, with stained glass windows, high painted ceilings and intricately carved and gilded frescoes throughout. The Roman Catholics sure had all of they money they needed in those days, to be able to build all of these fancy churches. Just sayin'...!
We tromped back to our ship for a quick lunch, then back out to a bus to take us to the Thurn and Taxis Palace. In the 15th century, the Princes of Thurn and Taxis co-founded the first large-scale postal
service in Europe. By the mid 18th century, these two families had amassed enough of a fortune to have this castle/palace built, which is said to have more rooms than Buckingham Palace in London. These people were, and still are, shrewd business people. They no longer live in the castle, but they did figure out how to keep it, and even to make money on it. First, they charge a fee for anyone who wants to go and have a look at it. OK, makes sense. But then, you can't just go and look around on your own. No, you must be taken 'round as part of an organized tour group. So, of course, you have to pay your guide to show you around the palace. Even that I can sort-of understand. But this next rule is just a money-grab, pure and simple. They don't want you to take pictures of the inside of the palace. What? Of course, their tourist information doesn't mention that at all (at least ours didn't), we had to be told just as the tour was starting. While everyone else was grumbling and putting their cameras away, I wanted to know where does it say
that we can't take pictures?. Well, sure enough, on a pedestal style sign in the front foyer, at the very bottom, and in very small print, it did say "no pictures please." And guess why? I had to ask our tour guide, since I was seriously miffed. The families who still own the palace sell books with their own pictures in them, so they don't want you taking your own pictures - they want you to buy their book to see the pictures instead. I have to tell you, that really ruffled my feathers!! Anyways, I won't dwell on it, but I was darned if that stupid rule was going to stop me. I was in a lot of pain that day, so I had my cane and was walking quite slowly. Between Steve and I, we were always the last of the group to catch up with the rest once they stopped to look at something and have it explained. So, I would very quietly turn around to see where Steve was at, and I would click off a couple of pictures at the same time. Flash was off, so nothing to harm the precious art and whatnot. But
I got my pictures, and didn't have to buy a book to get them either. So there!
Of course, there was a Christmas market in the square just outside of the palace, so we got about an hour or so to walk around the market. Luckily, there were several spots where they had started little bonfires where we could crowd around and warm up. After we bought our hot drinks, we spend most of the hour standing by the fire trying to warm up. I know it's only a couple of degrees either above or below freezing.
Regensburg is also the place to go to buy authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks. There is a whole story behind these clocks, but suffice it to say that there is a Black Forest Clock Association whose job it is to regulate clockmaking, and to ensure that only the locally trained clockmakers can call their clocks the original Black Forest cuckoo clocks. I was hoping that they might by a little cheaper, seeing as how we are buying directly from the manufacturer......but sadly, that wasn't the case. I did see some extremely over-the-top carved wood scenes on some of these clocks, but
it was one of those things where "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it". Oh well, I'd probably get tired of that stupid noisy bird after a while anyway.
Pictures will mostly be below, or on the next page. Hope you enjoy them. Internet is really spotty, so again, it might be a couple of days or so before I can post again. Enjoy!
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