Our adventure in the Czech Republic moved on to Germany. We joined the rest of our river boat cruise group and boarded luxury buses to Nuremberg where we embarked the new MS Avalon Expression. It would be our home base for the next ten days as we traveled down the Danube.
In the morning, we saw the site of the Nuremberg Trials and visited the Nazi rally grounds where Hitler gave some of his most infamous speeches. My traveling companions and I then moved on to the Documentation Centre Museum where we saw news footage of Hitler delivering propaganda speeches from the rally grounds we had just visited.
Along with news clips of the misleading Nazi publicity campaign, there were heartbreaking photos of the concentration camps and the notorious Auschwitz. It was difficult to process the immense tragedy of what we saw. It was an overcast, rainy day which added to the gloom of revisiting the horrors the holocaust. The German guides were apologetic about their country’s past, and many Germans feel stigmatized by it. One of our German tour guides said she was glad she spoke Austrian so she could pass herself off as an Austrian. It’s paradoxical that the tactics used by the Gestapo to build up their people into a ‘super race’, in fact, became their shame.
On the way back to the MS Expression we drove through the “old city” of Nuremberg. It is surrounded by fairly intact, thick city walls. Built like a fortress, a moat surrounds a good portion of it.
Overnight we had cruised to the German town of Regensburg. While the rest of the group relaxed on the ship, my sister-in-law, Alison and I took an early morning excursion boat trip through the Danube Gorge and the Weltenburg Abbey. The weather that day was perfect and the ride through the small gorge was picturesque and peaceful.
Our short trip ended at the Benedictine abbey of Weltenburg nestled in the northern slopes of the Arzberg mountain. The oldest monastery in Bavaria, it was founded around 600 AD. by the monks of St. Columbanus, Weltenburg.
The Abbey is known for brewing excellent world-class beer and it is said to be the oldest monastery brewery in the world, having been in operation since 1050.
As part of the tour, we were provided with a sample the Abbey’s beer and pretzels in the courtyard beer garden; it was dark and good.
We were then led to the abbey church. I was never given a beer and then sent to church before but that’s the way they do it in Germany.
The Weltenburg abbey church is a spectacular Baroque church dedicated to St. George. Gilded angels adorn the dome above the sanctuary.
Regensburg is absolutely beautiful and boasts of having approximately 1,300 listed building of historical interest. In 2nd century AD, this town was part of the Roman Empire. Some of the walls from those days remain partially intact within the city.
I loved walking the many interesting passageways and cobblestone alleys.
The architecture, cafes, shops, and flowers, window boxes filled with flowers, were astonishing!
The streets meandered in many different directions. It would have been easy to get lost.
In the distance I could see the top of the Regensburg Cathedral. I headed in that direction to get a better look of the Gothic, Dom St.Peter built in the 1300’s. Fantastic!
The following day we woke up in Passau, Germany. The City of Three Rivers was very quaint. I would have liked to have spent more time in the city but we had booked another tour for that morning. Most of the land tours were at an extra charge. There were three great tours to choose from that day. My husband and I, along with the two couples we were traveling with, chose to see the enchanting town of Cesky Krumlov. On the way there, we drove through Passau and stopped to see the view of the city in the early morning mist.
We passed smoothly through the German boarder without having to stop for a border check and made our way to the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic near the Austria border. This land tour to Cesky Krumlov was one of the best. When it was founded in the early-mid 13th Century, this mostly Renaissance town was primarily Gothic. In the second half of the 16th century the castle acquired the form of a splendid Renaissance residence. Throughout out the years the finest Italian architects and painters added their talents to create the beauty and charm of Cesky Krumlov, today.
Overlooking the town, the tower of Krumlov Castle punctuates the background. I was enamored with the Little Castle tower and the bright pastel colors of it’s painted facade.
Despite a short deluge, we dried off and had a wonderful afternoon in Cesky Krumlov. There were some nice boutiques, restaurants, chocolate and gingerbread shops.
A lovely river flowed through the town and we were surprised to see that quite a few people were swimming and river rafting.
While we were enjoying our tour, the boat cruised to Linz, Austria. Our tour bus would meet the boat there.
What an amazing few days. So grateful! But still to come, the wonders of Austria! I hope to share some of them with you on a future blog!
Be sure to check out – European Adventure Part 1 – Czech Republic
Enjoy the journey! ~ Linda Eichberg
“For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.” – Psalm 47:7
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