After the foodie fest we enjoyed on Day 2, we travelled overnight and it was smooth sailing all the way. We enjoyed peaceful sleep that even if there were locks along the way, we were not disturbed at all!
We woke up early that chilly, Tuesday morning at around 7 a.m. As soon as I opened the curtains and stepped out on the veranda, I thought that we had gone back in time, literally. Our long ship, Viking Atla, had docked and it was finally time to disembark and explore our destination of the day on the itinerary: Regensburg, Germany.
Map credit: http://regensburg.us.com
Located in southeastern Bavaria, Regensburg is one of the best preserved medieval towns in the country and dates back to the 9th century.
Can you believe it survived the bombings during World War II? In fact, much of its Altstadt or Old Town has been so well-preserved and restored that it was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 2006.
Since there was a lot of ground to cover, we decided to get some much-needed fuel for the morning (a.k.a breakfast) then we set out to explore on our own.
Now it is important to mention that land excursions are included in all river cruise programs and you can join the groups that are led by experienced guides.
However, knowing that we are restless and adventurous spirits, we decided to go on our own but we went to the reception desk to grab a map (I’m still old school and carry a traditional map while Marian is tech savvy) and Olivia handed us a bus card, just in case we needed transportation back to the ship. It is a way of letting her know that we’d be out and about and would return in time :)
As we stepped off the ship, we saw the remains of a fortress wall.
We learned that Romans had taken hold of the city, known as Ratisbon in those days. Emperor Marcus Aurelius had asked to have Castra Regina (Fortress by the River Regen) built in 179 AD which protected the city from invaders.
It was incredible that the land I was walking on had once been one of the centers chosen by the Holy Roman Empire. How fortunate we were to walk freely and only imagine what it must have been like back then!
We left the wall behind, simply walked forward and admire everything that was around us.
As we turned a corner, I decided to take a look at the map and decide which direction to go, left or right.
All of the sudden I felt like someone was looking at us and immediately looked up and saw a blonde man with the clearest, bluest eyes I had ever seen (I promise I’m not making this up, ask Marian who was a witness).
He approached us and asked me in German if he could help us (obviously he knew we were lost tourists) and I replied to him that we were trying to go to the city center so that we could see the most popular sightseeing spots.
He actually replied back in excellent English and told us that his name was Mr. Schmidt. He once had an American guest who could not pronounce his surname, that’s why he made it simpler :)
Who knows if we took him away from his original destination but he was kind enough to take us to St Peter’s Cathedral but before we reached it, he mentioned that there was a place in particular he personally recommended and that was an unassuming church across Dom Platz. He said that we would be blown away by the interior of the building but at first sight it didn’t look like it but we kept it in mind.
We walked for about 10-15 minutes from where we started and before long we were standing before this stunning landmark.
I thanked Mr. Schmidt who was happy to meet us but probably happy to leave since I was chewing his ears with my questions (yes, I am a writer and journalist at heart, can’t help but ask way too many questions. They say that curiosity is a sign of intelligence right? :) ) After we parted ways, we decided to enter this sacred temple that was completed in the 1634.
After our tour, we followed the exit sign which lead us to a beautiful and peaceful yard right next to the cathedral. It’s as if we had entered a quiet residential area and it sure was. I could not stop taking photo after photo. This is the real essence of a quaint village within a city.
That was an unexpected yet very pleasant discovery but we had to keep going as we had so much more to see and do.
We both agreed to go to where our “Angel” guide, Mr. Schmidt had cheerfully recommended and that’s where we went next.
Do you remember I once mentioned that I did learn my lesson very well and never judge a building by its exterior?
You cannot imagine what is inside Alte Kapelle (Old Chapel) after you go past these doors…
Well let me be completely honest with you. I have been and seen lots and lots of churches around the world but believe me when I tell you that this is by far one of the most incredible, ornate, opulent and spectacular religious buildings my eyes have ever seen! It’s true. I mean what other words can you utter when you stand before this?
To give you an idea of how stunned and speechless I was, let me show you through this short video a 360 degree view of the ceiling. Then let me know what you think!
Breathtaking right? I am still in awe every time I see the photos and can’t believe how they built it and take great care of it until this day!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our tour of Regensburg which involves more walking and a visit to one of the best & oldest breweries in town :)
Now over to you!
We want to know…
Have you visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site?
If you have where was it and what did you like most about it?
Do share your stories with us!
Until next time, bis nächsten mal.