Sunday, July 22, 2012

Roll Out the Barrel

I was just sitting on our little balcony looking at the Danube and listening to the rolling thunder and wondering if one could get hit by lightning from where I was sitting.  There has been no actual lightning, but just to be safe, I decided to come in.

We had a kind of mini duck incident this morning.  A family of ducks seemed to be trapped between the boat and the wall against which we were docking.

They seemed to be swimming back and forth looking for a way out.  I was afraid the boat would smush them, but Char assured me that there was a shelf there and that the boat couldn't get close enough to hurt them.  Nevertheless, I was relieved to see that "pressed duck" was not on the menu today!

Today's itinerary included a walking tour of another little medieval town, Regensberg.  It sounded a lot like yesterday, with more hills, cobblestones, narrow lanes, and steps.  I knew there would be different hills, cobblestones, narrow lanes, and steps, and a different cathedral (this one is not named for St. Stephan, for example) but I decided to skip the tour.  Hearing Char's report later of how things had been, and how much her legs were hurting, I think I'm glad to have remained on the ship.

I took a nap, took a long shower, and spent a lot of time up in the lounge reading until the others came back.

I was so rested and refreshed that I decided to go with Mike and Walt and a small group of other passengers to a local beer garden, with a Viking guide.  I was glad to have made the walk (my legs felt fine by then) because I got to see some of the town, including this historic food stand.

Apparently there has been a restaurant at this site, serving people traveling through Regensberg since the time of the crusades in the 11th century which would make this one of, if not THE first fast food joint.  I've been calling it McBratwurst.

McBrat sits alongside the stone bridge that crosses the Danube.

The bridge was completed in 1146 and opened major international trade routes between Northern Europe and Venice.  This started Regensburg's golden age as a city of wealthy trading families. Regensburg became the cultural centre of southern Germany and was celebrated for its gold work and fabrics.
We crossed the bridge and went to a little beer garden on the other side.  

Unfortunately it had started to rain, so by the time Walt and I arrived, most of the group was inside. I was hoping we could sit outside under umbrellas, as some others were doing, but we stayed inside and had our beer.  Lovely view of the bridge and the cathedral from inside, though.

 In the afternoon there was a talk about this waterway system we are traveling through.  It's fascinating. We are right now in The Bavarian Canal, an idea which was conceived and actually built in its original format by Charlemagne, who understood that the lack of a way to move things across this stretch land was holding everything back.  He began work on his canal in 793. It was then called the "Fossa Carolina."   

Bavarian King Ludwig built on it and completed the first navigable canal between the Main and the Danube in 1845.  It ran 111 miles from Bamberg to Kelheim and contained 101 sets of locks, each of which was 98 ft. long and 53 ft. wide.  It was only 5 ft. deep. Though it took forever to navigate, ships used it up until 1949.

The current canal was started in 1960 and completed in 1992.  It is 106 miles long, 180 feet wide and 13-14 feet deep. There are only 67 locks.

Today we went under a few of those very, very low bridges and not only have they lowered things, they have actually removed everything on the deck, including the guard rails (so passengers not allowed on the upper deck).  We went under one bridge so low I thought it was going to scrape the top of the restaurant...and we are on the MIDDLE floor!

Dinner, as always, was delicious:

Started with bruscetta, then yellow bell pepper potage with chicken dumpling and crayfish tails (2.  tiny). The Osso Bocco was the tender you could cut it with a fork, and I even ate the marrow.  Dessert was Marscapone Creme and Sweet Crumble with rhubarb stew.

Tomorrow is Nuremberg.  Mike, Char and Walt have signed up to go on the optional World War II tour.  I'm taking the regular town tour and hoping I can keep up, without Walt standing back and waiting for me!

This is the first time I have not been able to connect to the internet.  I wonder how long it's going to take before I get a connection...

Oh.  We were in a lock, that's why!

This is a narrow lock--you can touch it from our balcony.


Harriet said...

Fast food: did you know the Russian word for fast is bistro?

Mary Z said...

I'm loving your skipping the tours of yet another similar town/cathedral, but getting out and wandering around on your own. That's what we love to do. I wish we had had more of an opportunity to do that on our recent trip. Or maybe it was that we just didn't think of it soon enough.