We have probably been to Regensburg more than any other city on the Danube. It is a very popular destination for Danube river cruises, and for good reason. Regensburg is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Germany as it was untouched by Allied bombing during WWII.
We rarely join a walking tour of Regensburg since we are so familiar with the city. But, Tauck is including a tour of the Thurn and Taxis Palace in their walking tour, which we have never seen. So, it made sense to join the tour. We met our local tour guide as soon as we disembarked Savor in Regensburg.
It is another cold and cloudy day in Germany, something we are beginning to get used to. After all, it IS December! Rain is in the forecast, so we brought the umbrella from our stateroom just in case. It would prove to be a wise decision. The tour begins with a fairly long walk toward the Old Stone Bridge, an historic landmark in Regensburg.
The Old Stone Bridge has been standing for more than 900 years and is currently undergoing some repairs. It is the oldest working bridge in Germany and has survived floods, icebergs, and wars. On the south bank of the Danube, at the base of the bridge, is one of the oldest sausage kitchens in the world: Wurstkutchl (sausage kitchen). This place has the best sausages in the world so we usually don't pass up the opportunity to have lunch there.
As our tour guide leads us further south and into the city center, the cold rain begins to fall and the umbrella is deployed. We walk by many historic buildings, some constructed in the 10th century! At one point in the tour, we stop to examine five brass markers just outside an apartment building. Each brass "stone" bears the name of a Jewish resident arrested in 1942 and sent to the Janowski concentration camp in Poland where they were murdered (shot), along with thousands of other Jews, in the Pianski ravine. The "stumble stones" as they are called, are meant to be a sobering reminder to the German people of what took place under Nazi rule so that history never repeats itself.
The walking tour ends at the entrance to the Thurn and Taxis Palace (St. Emmeram) where one of the palace tour guides takes over and leads us inside.
As we enter the palace, we are informed that photos of the interior are not allowed. So, my words will have to paint the picture. The palace was originally built as a monastery and was given to the Thurn and Taxis family by the Bavarian government as compensation for nationalizing the postal system that the family founded. It is a rather long, but interesting, story. When you visit Regensburg, it would be worth a visit and a tour of the palace.
After the tour, we are given tickets to visit the Christmas Market that is on the grounds of the palace. Unlike other Christmas Markets, this one is "private" and charges an admission fee. However, it is more "upscale" than other Christmas Markets we have visited. You see more craftsmen who actually create the products they are selling.
After walking through the Christmas market, Rickee and I were starting to get cold and decided to return to Savor. We have already walked back to the river from the palace before, so we knew the way. By the time we got back to Savor, the sun was starting to come out.
This afternoon, Savor guests were treated to a holiday vocal performance by "Spitzweg" quartet, a local men's acapella group. We have heard them before, and they are very good. After the "concert", the galley crew showed us how to make German Stollen (Christmas cake), a treat that we refer to as fruitcake.
The highlight of the evening was the Christmas Dance Party and Secret Santa gift exchange held in the Panorama Lounge after dinner. It was another fun and exciting day on Tauck Savor.
Tomorrow will be our last full day on Savor and we will be in Nuremberg, Germany.