Detour to southern Germany

Greetings from sunny Germany!

On Thursday morning we left Ingolstadt and made very good time biking towards Regensburg, enjoying ideal weather and beautiful remote German countryside. This was by far the most enjoyable biking we had so far. As we approached Regensburg that evening, we decided we might enjoy finding lodging in a guesthouse in one of the small, quaint towns surrounding the city rather in the pricier, somewhat touristy town of Regensburg itself. We found exactly what we were looking for in the village of Matting, where we were the only lodgers in a small, family-run guesthouse. We chatted World Cup “football” with the portly, mustached guesthouse owner over a very German meal of knödel and wurst before retiring for the night.

The next morning we got on our way after receiving a hearty farewell from the guesthouse owner (in the best English he could muster – “Happy holiday! Happy holiday!”). We rode a short distance into Regensburg, hoping first to visit to former residence of the famous 18th century astronomer and mathematician Johann Kepler, which is now a museum. The museum, however, was closed, though a beautiful Ferrari parked right in front of the house made the destination worthwhile. In the heart of the city itself, we were impressed by the very medieval feel (Regensburg is an ancient city – we got to see a Roman gate from the second century).

We boarded a train in Regensburg to get to Oberammergau. We weren’t about to bike here since it’s in a very mountainous region near the southern border of Germany. It’s not on the Danube, but we made it a destination on our trip because this is the year of the Passion Play, a production that the small town has put on every ten years for almost four centuries, with a few interruptions for wars and such. According to tradition, in 1633 the villagers of Oberammergau vowed to perform the Passion Play every ten years out of gratitude that their town was spared from the plague. The play involves most of the people who live in the village, and they perform it several times a week throughout the summer. The production is almost six hours long, with a break for supper in the middle. It was an impressive and moving show, although it took a lot of concentration to follow the dialogue, as the play was performed in German.

On Sunday morning we attended Mass in English at the Catholic church in Oberammergau. It was an unfamiliar format for both of us, but we couldn’t really follow the lead of the other people in the congregation because they were all visitors as well, probably here to see the Passion Play.

While we’re in this region of Germany, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Neuschwanstein, one of the most famous castles in Germany. After a hike up a steep trail to get up the hill, we took a tour of the castle. It was beautifully decorated and had a great view of the valley below. However, it was also quite crowded with tourists, and it will feel good to get back on the bike paths through the quiet German countryside. During our bus ride back to Oberammergau, we encountered a disabled vehicle that was blocking the road. Our bus driver steered the bus over the grass shoulder and onto a small, unpaved bike path to bypass the incident. We tried to start some applause after we got safely back on the road, but the only other person on the bus at the time was a nonchalant teenage girl who was listening to her iPod.

Today we will return to the Danube by train, this time to the city of Passau, where we will resume our biking and cross the border into Austria. In just a few days we’ll meet the missions team in Vienna. We’re looking forward to seeing what the upcoming week holds for us.

Kepler House Museum

Roman Gate in Regensburg

Roman Gate in Regensburg

Passion Play Theater in Oberammergau

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

The bus driving onto the bike path


3 Responses to “Detour to southern Germany”

  1. Lindsay Seyfert Says:

    I’m jealous!!!!

  2. Ginny Says:

    Awesome! I wish you great weather and many many wonderful experiences and adventures! Safe travels!

  3. Daryl Says:

    I’d read about that passion play. Would love to see it sometime–jealous of your opportunity.

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