One of the most memorable features of this trip is the never ending variety of hotels and guesthouses we have stayed in. You never know just what to expect until you turn the final corner and arrive at your destination for evening. There is little doubt that the Gasthaus Zum Schwan in Kelheim had the friendliest owners so far. If ever anyone went out of their way to make us feel welcome it was them.
In contrast the Hotel Roter Hahn (“red hen”) in Regensburg was a much larger ‘hotel and while it lacked the personal touch of the smaller Gasthoffs, it certainly made up for in the presentation of its dinner and breakfast. I am pretty sure that all agreed that it was the most impressive food we have had so far (and that is really saying something). Its location near the centre of old Regensburg meant that we were but a short walk from the host of highlights that this ancient city possesses.
The only downside of this location is that it can be rather noisy in the small hours of the morning. I guess that is why they issue each room with a pair of ear plugs and a small bag of gummy bears. Unfortunately I discovered the plugs before the bears and ate them by mistake. This meant that, when I needed quiet I had to stick a gummy bear in each ear !
At about 3 am I was awakened by a very loud conversation out in the street below our windows. If I coud speak German I would have yelled out to them that they should try talking more loudly since there was a deaf bloke in Vienna who was having trouble hearing them. Fortunately the rucus did not go on for long and the next sound I heard was the 6 am alarm.
After a very indulgent breakfast we wobbled out of Regensburg, somewhat sorry to be leaving this glorious city so soon. I am sure there was still so very much to discover but that would have to wait for another day – we were due at Straubing that evening.
A short distance from Regensburg is the imposing structure known as Walhalla, erected high on a hill with an incredible view down to the Danube, winding across the flood plain far below. This building was built by Ludwig 1 and completed in 1842. Modelled on the Parthenon, it is certainly impressive, but I could not help but feel it was all somewhat pointless. It seemed to be some sort of monument to Germany’s greatness.
Further on we rode along some of the best bike paths you could ever imagine – flat, smooth, quiet and fast. I could not help but think how much fun you could have here on your best road bike. Little wonder that cycling is such an integral part of life here.
Later in the afternoon we climbed up to a Schloss (castle) which had been converted to an old people’s home. I am not sure how good the care was, but the position was superb.
We finally rolled into Straubing at about 4 pm and discovered that our hotel was delightfully located right at the end of the main street. First impressions of both the town and the hotel were very favourable.