Americans in Bavaria ~ A Spring Stroll by the Danube River

“I thought there’d be booze. Shouldn’t there be booze?

“It’s not the real Valhalla, mother. I mean, we didn’t even have to cross the Bifröst or anything.”

“Climbing this monster of a hill doesn’t count?”

“‘fraid not.”

“Is there a manager I can talk to?”

“Regarding what? The unconscionable lack of feasting and mead and general mayhem, or that hauling ourselves up here doesn’t warrant the former?”

“Both?”

“I think I could manage a little mayhem,” elder Valkyrie interjects mildly. Kind soul, she can’t bear to see mother moping.

“You two go on wreaking and havocing. I’m going to check out this view!”

“Oh, alright then. I didn’t bring my horse and shield anyways.”

Walhalla (1)

Walhalla.

Not the real one, as established above, but still a pretty neat little place high above the Danube River, just a hop and a skip from ancient Regensburg. A neo-classical hall of fame for Germans and sort-of-Germans, built between 1830 and 1842 because king Ludwig, First of His Name (no, not the guy with the Disney castles), thought it would be more fun than getting involved in another stupid war to reap glory. Can’t fault the old boy there.

The place is accessible by boat or road – you can book a little roundtrip cruise right in downtown Regensburg, and enjoy floating down the mighty river while the white marble framed by lush shades of green grows larger and larger in your view … until you realize a lot of this marble represents stairs. Mother Valkyrie and her Shieldmaidens learned a lot of interesting new German epithets that day.

Slightly less harrowing, though requiring the skill to navigate roads where two donkeys can scarcely pass (and a good GPS system!), is the approach from the rear. Skirting the beautiful town of Donaustauf and its medieval charm, one gets lost once or twice and eventually enters a dense forest. There one climbs a winding, narrow road until a friendly German in an orange vest appears out of nowhere and directs one to a fine spot in the shade of a giant oak. How those buses ever manage it up there in one piece remains a mystery.

At least the gravel parking lot is halfway up the hill, and any climbing that remains to be done is over shady forest paths. Unpaved paths, as a vexed fellow tourist in heels had to find out.

The view alone is worth the hike, as youngest Valkyrie so succinctly pointed out. Off to the west there was Regensburg basking in the spring sunlight, the towers of the famous cathedral barely visible in the distance. Villages scattered between fields south of the river, and dense forest to the east. A few sailboats were trying to catch a breeze on the big blue ribbon cutting through all that green.

Having strolled around the premises and looked their fill, the Valkyries decided to enter through the hallowed gates.

“Definitely no carousing and throwing of axes.”

“Pity, that.”

“I think that’s why they have beer gardens. For the carousing at least.”

“Is that a not so subtle hint, mother?”

“I wish. Driving and Bavarian beer do not mix so well. Oh look, Mozart!”

Walhalla (38)

Walhalla (24)

There are Germans, quasi Germans, nabbed Germans, and people who happened to speak something similar to German. Warriors and poets and scientists (of this, the Valkyries heartily approved!), men and women. Plaques commemorate people whose likeness is long forgotten, busts line the walls for the younger additions. Sophie Scholl has a place of honor all by herself, representing all the resistance fighters against the Nazi regime. She’s in fine company, her marble eyes surveying heroes such as Kepler, Heine, and Einstein, next to movers and shakers of history like Catherine of Russia, Martin Luther, and old Arminius the original superhero with a shaggy cape, havoc wreaker against the Romans and rabble-rouser of Teutoburg.

For all the marble weight of history it’s a lovely place. Bright and airy, with intricate details for the visitor to discover. If the Valkyries felt that some fine spirits and rousing songs to commemorate the fallen wouldn’t go amiss, it wasn’t because the great hall was lacking splendor.

What kind of a dream is it,’ said Óðinn,
in which just before daybreak,
I thought I cleared Valhǫll,
for coming of slain men?
I waked the Einherjar,
bade Valkyries rise up,
to strew the bench,
and scour the beakers,
wine to carry,
as for a king’s coming,
here to me I expect
heroes’ coming from the world,
certain great ones,
so glad is my heart. 
Walhalla (20)

“Take me to the beer garden or lose me forever!”

“Look, I know I forgot the water bottles. No need to keep rubbing it in!”

“Really? Of all the movies to quote from, you pick that one?”

“I blame the heat. What’s the legal beer-ing age in Germany again?”

“Now who’s doing the rubbing?”

Perhaps some people manage peaceful walks. Quiet, serene strolls, listening to bird song and smelling the flowers. I wouldn’t know, because all we ever manage is to be entertainment. Sure, we smell the flowers- we even call out to each other and show off a particularly pretty or exotic find. From above, it would likely look like three cats joined by an elastic band. Traveling in a general direction, but each following her own trajectory, occasionally converging in a pile, then moving off again. All accompanied by a good deal of meows and playfighting.

Somehow we made it back to the car, and down the hill. We had spied a charming beer garden on the way up, but had not counted on the German automobilist’s bane – nowhere to park, unless you want to back up traffic all the way to Stuttgart. The beer garden’s tiny parking lot was crowded with cars nearly sharing paint at this point (yes, Germans have been spotted exiting their vehicles through sunroofs if it meant securing a good parking spot). If not for youngest Valkyrie’s eagle eyes spotting a narrow gap near the church that left a whole two inches for us to exit on either side, we might still be circling (say what you will, this country teaches you how to drive).

Donaustauf (9)

Positively parched by now, we crossed the distance like lionesses with a juicy zebra in sight. And were rewarded by a pint-sized but utterly delightful beer garden. The premises, we learned, had been a poor house and hospital once, lovingly renovated and converted into a restaurant and cafe.

As it was early in the afternoon, they served only “Brotzeit“, the Bavarian equivalent of snacks, though that hardly does the savory dishes justice. Brotzeit is designed to complement the center of the Bavarian Universe – the beer – and it does so magnificently. While only elder Valkyrie indulged in a Weizen (mother and youngest stuck their heads into a bucket of water instead), we all sampled some traditional cuisine and emerged ready for new adventures…

Donaustauf (4)

Donaustauf (3)


 

Inspired by RestlessJo‘s Monday Walks – a weekly favorite with never anything less than absolutely stunning pictures (when I grow up, I want to take photos like Jo!)

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Americans in Bavaria ~ A Spring Stroll by the Danube River

  1. If I ever grow up, I wouldn’t mind learning to take photos properly. 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for providing the entertainment and for turning up in my Inbox as a lovely surprise. I was just about to read your post on Cathy’s, which I didn’t have time to do when she published the other day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just between us, I think growing up is overrated 😉
      But I honestly am in awe of your (and Cathy’s) good eye. Somehow your photos never look tourist-y, but artistic.

      Like

  2. Boy those Greek temple builders really get around! I’ve been waiting to see the Parthenon in Nashville, and didn’t know there was another outside Regensburg.
    When you’re expecting Valkyries, or Athena, kind of a surprise to find a guy named Ludwig. Well, looks like the Bavarians did a spectacular job, enjoyed the story and your excellent photos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose the old king figured “Can’t go wrong with a classic”? 😁

      Thank you for your kind compliments, I was actively trying to emulate two of my favorite travel-bloggers with my photos this time. Glad it turned out nicely!

      Like

  3. You always have the best adventures. Me? Today I bought cat food. Granted, there was a wee bit of drama at checkout when I couldn’t find the prescription card for said cat food (our cats have issues, what can I say), with brief visions of me being shackled and dragged away for attempted malfeasance, but then I found it. Much ado about nothing.

    Sidebar conversation as I was reading this post –

    Me, to Partner: “Please put ‘brotzeit’ on whichever one of your travel spreadsheets involves things I want to try some day.”

    Partner: “Is that a person, place or thing?”

    Me: “I get the impression that it’s food, but flag it so we can do more research later.”

    Partner: “Got it. Say, did you hear that someone was almost arrested at the pet store today?”

    Me: “Nope.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait, what? I thought issues are mandatory for felines? Or are food issues a separate category? Are those optional?
      Only you could turn shopping for cat food into an almost Shakespearean tragic comedy, however 😺

      “Officers, what offence hath this man done?”

      “Marry, sir, he has committed false report; moreover, he has spoken untruths; secondarily, he malfeased most heartily; sixth and lastly, he has belied a lady; thirdly, he has verified unjust things; and, to conclude, he be a lying knave.”

      Liked by 1 person

    1. My, Professor, what an excellent eye for detail! 😲

      Alas, not a Deutschland Pony but a mighty hunting dog, surely descended from Fenrisúlfr himself. Fierce and fearless, ever on the lookout for some pitiable prey to disembowel. Lacking suitable prey (if it’s not at least thrice my size, why bother?), he amused himself by protecting the poor hapless humans he was kind enough to tolerate.
      AKA, a Dachshund.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahahahaha! What a storied reply THAT is you silky-tongued and equally fingered Valkyrie! (is there such a thing? 🤔 Viking maidens don’t seem so fare/fair in ancient lore with their sharp weapons and scantly-clad body… umm, ARMOUR!)

        I guess it is all perspective, huh? I know Greco-Romans and Germans like to “build things” up BIG — with the Parthenon in background & enormous bench for giants! — I wrongly assumed then the Dachland pony with big ferocious teeth for disemboweling Persian tourists was of normal size for youthful Shieldmaidens! My mistake! Please forgive my farsighted shortsidedness. (humbly bows for mercy… with a sneaky grin)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Male romantic fantasies aside I should think that Shieldmaidens, and by extension Valkyries, were and are clad sensibly rather than scantily. I mean, have you been to Scandinavia?
          In winter you freeze into your armor – forget licking a metal pole, one drop of sweat and your everything is stuck to the breastplate – in summer you get eaten alive by mosquitoes.

          I’m thinking long johns and five layers of wool, then the metal, and then some stylish fur to complete the ensemble. In summer the fashion-conscious Valkyrie might go with long-sleeved linen and some lighter wool for under-real-armour™ padding. The working Valkyrie really, really understands the value of this padding!

          The gift of the silky tongue however is unrelated to fashion. It’s the blasted long winters again. Nothing to do but tell sagas and drink. Drink some more. Hunt for dinner, then tell sagas about drunkenly wrestling a bear, yes I know it’s just a rabbit I brought back, let me finish the saga.

          Anyways. 😉
          Perspective indeed. The Dackel at least believed himself to be Clydesdale-sized, so you weren’t that far off.

          Like

    1. Oh, but it’s soo simple. 😆

      There’s the yellow bag, that’s basically plastic (but not that plastic, that goes separately!) and metal (noo not the copper are ye daft!?) and the bottles without that squiggly symbol on them (but not the glass ones! Never the glass ones! Have you separated them by color?), and the styrofoam (after you rinsed off the tomato sauce).

      Then there’s the blue container, that’s for paper. And cardboard. Yes the pizza boxes are fine but remove that cheese stuck to the bottom wouldya? No, no no the milk carton isn’t cardboard, that one goes in the yellow bag.

      That smelly brown one is for compostables. Coffee grounds are cool, and used paper towels, but take the metal off that tea bag!

      If you got anything left (how dare you!) load it into the truck and haul it to the sort facility.

      See? Easy.

      (OK joking aside we really got amazingly little that goes in the ‘regular’ trash can. And Europe in May is worth all the recycling woes in the world! 😉)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s