December 7, 2007:
Today was earmarked for a trip to the city of Regensburg - to the northeast of Freising in Bavaria. It is considered one of the most well preserved medieval cities in Germany, and the Old Town district of Regensburg was recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site (in 2006).
The city lies at the confluence of the Danube and Regen Rivers in Northern Bavaria and is the capital of the upper Palatinate region of the state.
Of all the Christkindlmarkt happening at this time of year throughout Germany, Regensburg has some of the finest and we were looking forward to being apart of the action and in the atmosphere. We had the company of Rolf's mum and brother today.
Once we arrived in Regensburg we headed straight for the historic Old Town district where a short walk brought us almost immediately to the first set of markets in Neupfarrplatz. The smells of grilled wurst, roasting chestnuts and almonds, and gluehwein were teasing our nostrils, so first things first - food! A wurst (sausage) was up first, served in a super fresh roll (the German bread is simply superb)!! With satisfied stomachs, we continued strolling through the festively decorated stalls - and enjoyed looking at the many art works on display, the camera was only chased away once the whole day. Decorative handmade soaps held our attention for a while, as did the wood stove pizza. There was a wood oven set up at a food stall which served mini pizzas - these were also very good.
Eventually we left the markets and headed through the narrow cobbled lanes of the old town and came out at the Dom (Cathedral of St Peter) - built between 1273 and 1525 in a gothic style of architecture.
As the afternoon wore on and the dark slowly started creeping in, we headed over to the Schloss Thurn und Taxis (castle/palace). For this christmas market which is held in the courtyard of the castle, there's a fee to pay but it is worth the visit. The admission booth is at the gate so we paid our admission and walked along the winding path lined by kerosine lamp poles with flames dancing at the top of them.
A few stalls were set up outside the main courtyard some featuring beautiful handcrafted jewellery, while others offered food or unique decorative bottles of liqueur. There were so many wonderful and unique gifts to look at and the cash register in my head was steaming - I could've gone nuts, but alas we have very limited space in our camper back in Canada. I settled on a handcrafted necklace for my sister for christmas instead.
We enjoyed a ton of food from roasted nuts, to cheese Raclette served on a fresh bread. Oh and don't forget the obligatory two servings of Gluehwein to chase the cold away from the finger tips! That's another cup added to the collection!
We had to drive back to Freising that night, so we headed back to the car after our gluehwein and stopped briefly for a light dinner enroute.
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