Finally – Regensburg, Germany

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This post was originally published on August 5, 2012, and updated on July 28, 2020.

In my last post I left you after a satisfying evening inKronach, Germany. But I had to hop a train home to meet my German teacher, and now friend of the family, Frank. Frank’s sister Beate is an actress and had invited us to see her current play at Theater Regensburg.

We had originally planned to see her on stage a few weeks before, but the plans fell through.  But I’m happy to report that this time it was a success. So Frank picked me up that afternoon and I was treated to a fun two-hour ride on the autobahn.

I had never been to Regensburg, but I’d heard it was really beautiful. And it was! Regensburg is about twice as big as Bamberg, with a population of around 150,000. The settlement there dates from the Stone Age and lies at the juncture of the Danube and Regen Rivers.

Unfortunately, Regensburg suffered some bombing in WWII because of its important position on the rivers and the aircraft factory and oil refinery located there. However, much of the old town was spared and still stands today. It is really, really beautiful. What has been rebuilt has been rebuilt in a style that blends with the rest and it is simply lovely. It was truly hard to limit the photos in this post to around 40.

Frank had made us reservations at the Hotel Munchnerhof, which means Munich Court Hotel. He and his parents stay there frequently when visiting his sister. It’s right down in the old-town section not far from the cathedral. My room was the Burgrave’s Room in the Blue Tower section of the hotel. It was fantastic! In looking for an extra blanket, I found an entire kitchen behind what I thought was a closet door! Simply beautiful!

After check-in we walked the 15 minutes or so to the theater and found a very French bistro named Rive Droite where we had a wonderfully fresh dinner. The décor was very art nouveau with Parisian street lamps and even Gauloise salt cellars! In fact, there were a lot of French-style places around town.

At the appointed time we made our way across the square to the Theater Regensburg. I was pleasantly surprised to see the inside of this fabulous 200-year-old building! It opened in 1804 and has four levels above the floor. It was all gilt and candelabra – I wish I had a photo to show you – very ornate and golden. Our seats were in the top row all the way to the end so we were looking down on the stage almost from a bird’s eye view.

Although it’s an historic building, the stage was very modern, and the play used all the mechanics available. There were rooms that raised out of the floor and sunk at the end of the scene, a circular strip about as wide as a sidewalk that rotated all the way around the stage, curtains and backdrops that descended from the rafters, etc.

The play, “Sein oder Nicht Sein,” which translates as “To be or not to be,” was written by Nick Whitby and based on a Hollywood film from 1942 directed by Ernest Lubitsch. It starred Carole Lombard and a really young Jack Benny! I didn’t know any of this at the time – I just learned it today from Internet research.

The play, though in German, was a well-played comedy, and it was easy for me to follow the plot, if not every word of dialog. It was about a theater troupe in Warsaw before WWII who became resistance fighters when Hitler invaded. Of course there were Gestapo and spies and a couple of love stories all intertwined along the way. It made great fun of Hitler at every turn as well. It was extremely funny!

As it was closing night for the play, plus the director was retiring and the troupe was scattering to the four winds the next day, they had a very long but touching ceremony with speeches and thank-you’s after the performance. The director, who’d been with the theater there for 16 years, was obviously well loved. He scored a few gifts, including a live cherry tree, and the cast gave him the stage curtain they had all signed!

Frank hung around to meet his sister afterward and see if the cast was going out to celebrate. I was still exhausted from walking around Kronach the night before, so I headed back to the hotel.

It was about 11:30 or 12:00 but the streets were busy and full of people on their way to the club or on their way home from dinner. Regensburg seems to have quite the night life! It was a warm, beautiful night and I enjoyed the walk through the cobblestones, even if my feet didn’t!

Next day Frank and I enjoyed a great breakfast buffet at the hotel before setting off for some sightseeing.

The first thing we encountered was a classic car rally! We arrived just in time to see the last couple of cars start off.

Then we went to see the new car prototype on display next to the starting platform. 

After that we went around the corner to the next square where the HUGE German Gothic Dom, or cathedral, dominates all the surrounding buildings. It was so big! I couldn’t get the whole thing in one shot. I think the only bigger church I’ve ever seen was the one in Linz, Austria, a couple of years ago.

I was trying to get a shot of “Der Hutmacher” in the background – pronounced “Der Hoot-Mahkker” and means “The Hatmaker.” Unfortunately, I’d taught Frank what “photobombing” meant earlier that day, and he was practicing diligently:

Here’s the famous Stone Bridge of Regensburg, which was built in 1135 and connected two major trade routes. It reminded me in a big way of the Charles Bridge in Prague.

If you’ve ever wondered what the Danube looks like, here it is:

I was curious about this carving on the Stone Bridge.

Some research turned up a story about the builder of the bridge having made a bet with another builder that he could finish his bridge before the other builder could finish a church he was working on. The bridge builder made a deal with the devil, trading the first soul that crossed the completed bridge if he could win the bet. So the bridge was completed before the church. However, the bridge builder was smart and sent a couple of chickens across the bridge first. The moral: Don’t mess with Germans!

Just some typical scenes along the street in Regensburg:

Frank photobombing again (sigh!):

Check out the stone dude at the top right about to hurl a rock at the visitor!

Around 11:00 we met Frank’s sister at the famous Café Orphee. It, too, is French style. It’s attached to a great old historic hotel. The hotel and restaurant both date from 1896 and still have most of their original appointments such as the check-in desk. The basement ladies’ room has a glassed-in view of a medieval stone well in one of the stalls! You should see the décor in this place! All mirrors and curlicue lighting – wonderful! There are some great photos on their website.

Here’s a group shot of the crew. Frank and his sister Beate are on the left. I can’t remember exactly the names of the other two, but the guy on the right with the perfect hair is an actor and Beate’s roommate. The other girl is his girlfriend. This actor was not in the play I saw, but he was in something later that day. Turns out he was a singing rabbit in a kid’s play!

We had a great European experience chatting at a cafe over lattes and continental breakfast outside on the cobblestones. I loved it!

Here’s a shot of the theater from the outside with Frank and Beate in front of the fountain in Bismarck Square:

Here’s a shot of a banner in front of the theater featuring that guy with the perfect hair in his singing rabbit costume:

This is me getting creative with the fountain jets and a café on the far side of the fountain.

We wandered into a nearby church (St. Blaise’s) that was really pretty. Here’s a sepulcher in the floor and some other interior shots:

I have a toy Mini Cooper as a Fire Department vehicle, but this is the first time I’d ever seen one life size:

Here’s a poster around town about the singing rabbit show:

This is the door of the Prinzess Cafe, the first place in Europe that ever served coffee to the public – in 1686 – a place after my own heart!

Too soon it was ready to head back to Bamberg. I am definitely going back for more sightseeing at a future date. What a beautiful place. I hope you enjoyed my trip there and look forward with me to a return visit. Enjoy your week!

Photo for No Apparent Reason: