This morning we walked with our guide around the quaint town of Regensburg. Unfortunately the famous Old Stone Bridge was shrouded in canvas and scaffolding for repairs so Gudrun, our guide, showed us a picture of what it looks like. The bridge is a 12th-century bridge across the Danube linking the Old Town with Stadtamhof. For more than 800 years, until the 1930s, it was the city's only bridge across the river. It is a masterwork of medieval construction and an emblem of the city.
We wound our way through the narrow streets to the Dom Platz to see the Gothic St Peter's Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass. The church has existed since about 700 AD; however, due to several devastating fires, the church was rebuilt and the current high-Gothic-style building was completed in 1320. The cathedral is 279 feet long and 115 feet wide; the nave is 105 feet high and the twin spires are almost 350 feet high. The exterior features many statues, nearly all of them biblical themes. Unfortunately one of them is a Judensau, depicting Jews suckling on a large sow, an insulting image placed on the south side facing the old Jewish Quarter. The interior of the cathedral is covered with sculpted imagery depicting Saints Peter and Paul, Saint Ursula, the Virgin Mary and the famous Smiling Angel. This “Smiling Angel” on the southwest pillar has apparently been all smiles since she was sculpted in about 1280 by the artist known as the Master of St. Erminold. The brochure published by the Diocese describes her as “the visible expression of the Gospel – the good news of the love of God became man.”
The Neupfarrkirche stone church was designed by architect Hans Hieber. It was only partially completed and consecrated in 1540. Due to the declining offering money it at first had unfinished towers. A wooden model by Hans Hieber depicted the originally intended much larger church and is in the Historical Museum of the city. In 1542 Regensburg stepped over to the Lutheranism and construction continued. The church is the Protestant church of the University of Regensburg. Only in 1860 did the Munich architect Ludwig Foltz finalize the plan of the south tower and the construction of the final west choir. Erected on a terrace base, the church building is a single-nave Renaissance style with late Gothic elements with two yokes and a five-sided apse and two towers. In the Neupfarrkirche is one of the few remaining pulpit watches or pulpit mounted clocks to time the length of a sermon in Bavaria. The original altar from 1555 by Michael Ostendorfer is now in the Historical Museum. The present altar dates back to 1617.
Of course we had to have lunch at the 800-year old Alte Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Factory), Germany's oldest restaurant, to have sausage, sauerkraut, a roll and sweet mustard. Also did I mention beer? Beer has been brewed in Regensburg since 1226. All absolutely fabulous!
As we set sail, we saw children swimming in the Danube. Tonight we entered the Main Canal. There are so many low bridges now that the upper deck is closed and the pilot house is lowered so we can get under the bridges.