By Rosanna Bauman
When spring is so far away that it’s just a dream, and all you have to entertain yourself is tax paperwork, that’s when you get cabin fever. I start recalling warmer weather and ruminating on my past summer adventures. I still haven‘t gotten done processing all of my experiences from my August trip to Germany. So here‘s the continuing saga, if you want to armchair- travel with me...
It's departure day at the Herrsching House of Bavarian Agriculture, and everybody is tearfully hugging classmates that we've bonded with in our 2 weeks together. Several of us board a bus that will take us to the Munchen airport. Others are waiting for later buses or trains to travel home. Although I'm not flying out, I chose this bus as it will take me to the far side of Munich faster than the train. It’s 8:30 AM, and my friends from home are just landing in the Frankfurt airport. They‘ll take the long-distance train into Munich, where I‘ll meet them this afternoon. But until then, I have six hours to scratch off the top thing on my Germany Bucket List: Eat a Regensburger sausage from the Wurstkuche.
Clear back in April when I was planning this trip to Germany, I told my travel agent that the main thing that I wanted to do in Germany outside of my class hours was visit a really good sausage maker. Tim said that I absolutely had to go to the Regensburg Wurstkuche: the oldest sausage kitchen in the world. Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site about an hour and a half from Munlch vla traln. And so, I determined to go.
Thankfully, two of my classmates lived in Regensburg, instead of blazing my own trail, I‘ll just follow them home after the bus deposits us at the airport. I am so grateful that Demitri and Anna invited me to travel with them, as they have a strategic plan that will save us travel time and transfers. First, Demitri purchased a group ticket for us that reduced our fare from $28 to $12 each. Now we will catch the bus to Freising and then hop on the Deutsch-Bahn to Regensburg. Feeling very clever for this travel scheme, we arrive at the appropriate bus stop and find that we missed the Freising bus by 3 minutes! There’s another in 17 minutes, but we can ill-afford those minutes as we must catch the 10:00 train from Freising in order to be in Regensburg by noon. We sit on our suitcases in the hot sun and chat. Demitri hails from the Ukraine and Anna is from Russia, but both speak clear English. We all have a goal to be in Regensburg by noon, as they want to get in a half day of work and I need to get there so I can get back to Munchen in time to meet the girls. The bus arrives and we waste no time boarding. However, we only make a mere 200 feet of progress before finding the road blocked by an empty taxi car. Our driver has much to say about this, and lays on the horn. This bus should have gotten us to the train station five minutes before the 10:00 train, but eight long minutes tick by until a taxi driver appears and moves his car. I begin praying that the train will be late, because if we miss this train, it will be an entire hour before another comes, and that means I might as well have stayed in Munich. We roll into the train station one minute after 10:00. The three of us barrel out of the bus, down a flight of stairs and up another, dragging our luggage to the tracks and peer anxiously at the message posted above our track: Train delayed four minutes. Hallelujah! Answered prayer, I have no doubt. We even have time to catch our breath! Once on the Regio, however, more bad news. Demetri interprets the rapid-fire PA announcement: ”Construction on the tracks, so we‘ll have to debark and board a bus for the last half of the trip." This will, of course, take more time. But the worst of it is that I‘ll have to do this train-bus transfer by myself going back to Munich. And I already have a track record for missing my German travel connections!
Finally, fifteen minutes before twelve, we arrive in Regensburg. Because of the track repair, I need to catch an earlier train back, so that means that I have just over one hour to explore Regensburg. Anna is a tour guide at the Regensburg castle, unfortunately, I won‘t have time for that. But they give me several tips to help streamline my visit.
While Demitri helped me locate the luggage lockers, Anna fetched me a map of Regensburg and pointed out the direction of the Wurstkuche, five blocks away.
I waved goodbye to my wonderful guides, turned around, and hot-footed to the luggage lockers. I could feel the clock ticking. Oh, No. Not enough Euro coins to feed the $4 locker. I‘ll have to break some bills. I scurry into the station, but the ATM is out of service. I drag my luggage into the gift shop. Ah! A postcard that only costs .50 Euro! I pay for the postcard with a 20 Euro note and rush back to the lockers with a fistful of coins. Plunk! The suitcase and one backpack goes in with lightning speed, and I sling my remaining backpack on and take off on a trot for the Danube River. A trotting "Amish" girl in the middle of a touristy city definitely gets some curious glances, but I kept right on going, letting them wonder. I wend my way past houses that are so historically picturesque. It feels surreal. Regensb‹ rg was established as a walled city in the Middle Ages, and some of the walls and architecture remain. I trotted around the massive church with the incredibly tall bell tower under restoration. Down another narrow street - there is the six story grainery beside the bridge and the deep blue Danube. And nestled in its shadow is the Wurstkuche! Stay tuned for Part II.