Diaries - Travel - Photos

Previous Diary - Next Diary



December 21 & 22, 2008

Written December 26

Dear Friends and Families,


First time visits to a town are generally harder than subsequent visits and, since we'd been to Regensburg before, we counted on an easy approach. Not true. Nothing seemed familiar. I don't know if it was the weather, the fact that we were aiming for a different hotel, or the complications of driving through a Christmas market, but our start was stressful.

This is the street that the Hotel Münchner Hof is on. To get to this narrow street, we first had to drive through the Christmas market.
The good part was that, since cars were not allowed where we were, we could simply leave the car, check-in, and bring our bags up to the room. Later, we drove back through the crowds and found the parking garage, several blocks away.



Over the next day and a half, we re-familiarized ourselves with Regensburg but, honestly, it took a full day before we could remember where we had been three years earlier. Senior moment, I suppose. Gradually, we got used to using the spires of St. Peter's cathedral as our landmark, since they dominate the skyline from every direction.

Mostly, we just window-shopped. Near the hotel were a pair of antique stores that had wonderful selections of Biedermeier and Art Deco furniture, our two favorite styles. However, our house is full and the bank account is empty.

We also window-shopped restaurants, including this one that is part of the "Thurm & Taxis" brewery. Regensburg is home to this famous royal family with the unusual three-part last name. They made their original fortune in the 1800's by developing the German postal system. Later, we would visit the Christmas Market on the Thurm & Taxis palace grounds.

Solely for the historical significance, we also had coffee and cakes at the Prinzess coffee house, opened in 1686 as the first coffee house in Germany. We struggled with a choice of goodies and then relaxed upstairs in a room that could have been unchanged for hundreds of years.



But our goal was Christmas markets and in Regensburg we had two to cover. The first was near our hotel (the picture on the left shows the aisle we drove down to find the hotel.)

This Christmas Market was nice but "ordinary", having all the required kiosks for spiced wine, sweets, sausage, and Christmas gifts and decorations. At night, the cathedral spires towered overhead.


But Regensburg is famous for another Christmas Market, this one set on the grounds of the palace of St. Emmeram, the Thurm & Taxis family residence when they are in town. Even though the weather, cold and wet, wasn't cooperating, it was a thoroughly enjoyable market and we ended up going twice, first during the day and then, later, to enjoy the evening fires. Our purchases were limited to a little Glühwein, a pair of hand-made brushes from a very friendly craftsman, and a hand-made notebook for Marianne to record her stories. These pictures are my story.


Just a couple more days to Christmas and a couple more markets to go! They may not match Regensburg, but every market has it's sense and feel. We may not be looking forward to any more sweet, spiced wine, and I doubt we'll find more trinkets worth adding to our Santa bags, but our last stop will have family significance. Stay tuned.


John and Marianne


Footnote on hotels
In our 2005 visit, we stayed at the Bischofshof am Dom, a very nice hotel which was particularly pretty in the snow. In 2008, it was full, so we tried the Münchner Hof, less expensive, a bit less deluxe, and tricky to get to by car. But still, another hotel worth recommending. We always figure we may come back to a city, so we tend to keep an eye out for other small and interesting places to spend the night. In Regensburg, across the Danube from the old town, we ran into the Künstlerhaus Andreasstadel hotel. We went to the reception to get a brochure and were shown a charming and spacious river-side room with massive wooden beams, some dating back hundreds of years. (The building was originally a salt warehouse, when salt was as valuable as gold.) The Künstlerhaus is actually part of the Orphee organization, three small Regensburg hotels and one restaurant. We managed to have one dinner at the French Bistro-style eatery and it was a great combination of good food and lively atmosphere. Next time, we'll try the Orphee chain.


Other websites:

Coloneum, Biedermeir and Art Deco furniture: http://www.biedermeier-antik.de

Thurm & Taxis Museum: http://www.thurnundtaxis.de (Great intro, read by Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis)

Regensburg Wiki (has many more indexes) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regensburg



Diaries - Travel - Photos

Previous Diary - Next Diary