Fortunately, the rain has subsided this morning in Regensburg, Germany, leaving us only to deal with the cold.
While most Avalon Vista guests participate in one of the included walking tours of Regensburg, Rickee and I decide to explore on our own. We have been here many times, and it is one of our favorite destinations in Germany. Avalon has generously provided guests with vouchers good for a meal at the famous Wurstkuchl (sausage kitchen) located next to the Old Stone Bridge.
This 900-year old sausage kitchen originally fed the workers building the bridge and is one of the most famous culinary landmarks in Germany. If you walk toward the Old Stone Bridge, you can't miss Wurstkuchl.
Even though some are braving the cold by dining on the patio, we decide to enjoy our sausages in the tiny, warm dining room located in the original building that only holds 28 guests. We were surprised that we had no problem finding a place to sit. Soon, our waiter arrived, took our vouchers and asked us what we wanted to drink. The voucher included a plate with six sausages, sauerkraut, a roll and a beer or Coke.
Now, the way you eat these little sausages is important. You take one of the crusty rolls and open it up lengthwise. Slather on a generous amount of the sweet honey mustard, place at least three sausages inside, along with some sauerkraut, and commence consumption. In our opinion, these are the best sausages in the world, and you can only get them here!
After our delicious meal, we took a stroll into town, looking for the Christmas Market. There are a few booths scattered here and there, wherever the city squares have space, but the main market is next to the Parish Church.
After some shopping and browsing, we returned to Avalon Vista in plenty of time to catch the 2:30pm shuttle to the Thurn and Taxis castle which hosts its own private, and more "upscale," Christmas Market. Avalon has provided admission vouchers for its guests for this market (admission is normally 7.50€). This is the first time a river cruise has offered us these vouchers, so we wanted to check it out. We were shocked at how large this Christmas market was, with booths surrounding the castle grounds and extending inside the courtyard.
We decided to invest the 7.50€ for a mug of hot Glühwein (hot, muddled wine with spices) which tasted quite good in the cold weather. For that price, we get to keep the mug as a souvenir!
We really enjoyed the Thurn and Taxis Christmas market and highly recommend it to anyone visiting Regensburg at this time of year. It was very generous of Avalon Waterways to include it in our cruise. The sun was setting as we left the market so we decided to walk back to the ship instead of taking the shuttle. It is about a 15-20 minute walk. Of course, we had no idea of how to get back, but as long as you keep walking down, you will eventually get to the river. We stopped a local resident to ask for directions to "the Danube" and they pointed in the direction we were heading. Soon, we arrived at a square we recognized and getting back to the Avalon Vista was easy after that.
This evening, we are treated to a Bavarian Beer Tasting before dinner. Two local beer experts are on board to explain the four beers we are tasting. It was a lot of fun and we actually learned a lot about beer.
We were so full from the sausage kitchen that we decided to skip dinner. We relaxed in the Club Lounge (located aft on Deck 3) to give Anna time to tidy up our stateroom. At 9:00pm, we were back in the main lounge for a performance by the "Spizweg" Acapella quartet.
Everyone enjoyed the excellent vocals. Tomorrow, Avalon Vista will dock briefly in Passau, Germany, where many guests will depart for an excursion to Salzburg. The ship will then proceed to Linz, Germany.