After our time in Amsterdam, Nuremberg and Prague, it was time to get on with the focus of our trip – our AMA Waterways cruise down the Danube. We elected to do the “cruise only” portion but the majority of the passengers chose to do a pre-cruise in Prague with the cruise line. The additional cost for the pre-cruise with AMA Waterways covered transfers from the airport, three nights at the cruise hotel, the Old Town Hilton, a tour of the city and transportation to Vilshofen with a stop and tour in Regensburg where we were to embark on the AMAPrima.
We found out from our travel agent that we could pay for the transportation only with the group to Vilshofen from Prague even though we did not do the pre cruise portion. Since we do have hotel points, and perhaps even if we didn’t, we decided to make our own pre cruise arrangements. For us, it makes economic sense as well as somewhat of a travel adventure to plan our pre and post cruise. We are not afraid to research what to see and do as well as public transportation and tours with guides. However, some people are a little more timid about venturing out on their own or they don’t want to think and plan or make any decisions and have all the details arranged for them – then this is ideal. There is no right or wrong but rather what works for you and for many this works well for them.
The bus trip included a walking tour of Regensburg on our way to Vilshofen, another small city and a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its medieval city center. Off we went on our buses for a few hours bus ride which included a stop at a McDonald Cafe and before you knew it, we were in Regensburg.
We met our tour guide at the area where the buses parked, across the river from the city area. She walked us across the Old Stone Bridge, built in the 12th century and the one that the Crusaders used to get to the Holy Land. While we were there the bridge was under construction having some needed repairs made. The city’s architecture includes ancient Roman, Romanesque, and Gothic buildings. Regensburg’s 11th to 13th century architecture still defines the character of the town marked by tall buildings, dark and narrow lanes, and strong fortifications. The buildings include medieval Patrician houses and towers, a large number of churches as well as the 12th century Stone Bridge that I previously mentioned.
The cathedral in Regensburg, Dom St. Peter, is a massive cathedral with twin spires that can be seen all over the city. It was built in the 12th century in the Gothic style, though like many other historic churches and buildings, it had a Baroque “facelift” in the 16th century and then later in the 19th century reverted back to Gothic. This cathedral, like many that we saw in cities, have been undergoing a cleaning, getting rid of the black soot that is on the outside walls. The church, in 2009, finally received its organ, a massive free hanging organ. The 5,871 pipes in this organ is able to fill the space in the church with its beautiful sound. If you are in Regensburg on a Sunday, you can go to church service and listen to this mighty organ.
After we had our tour we were free to have lunch on our own and we knew exactly where we wanted to eat. The oldest continually operated sausage restaurant in the world is in Regensburg. Workers building the 12th century Old Stone Bridge needed a place to eat and thus, the Sausage Kitchen was born. The speciality of the kitchen is the thin, long fried sausages served with rolls made with caraway seeds, home-made sauerkraut and mustard. I’m not normally one that enjoys sausages or sauerkraut but I’ll ell you that I ate it all up. We sat outside on picnic benches but you also have the option of easting inside the restaurant. The restaurant is next to the Old Stone Bridge and on the Danube River. Can’t beat that scenery.
After a little more “looking” around, we boarded our buses again for Vilshofen and the AMA Prima – our home for the next week.