Dave the motorhome is the only Brit among a row of German motorhomes in Plattling in Bavaria, Germany (N48.77229 E12.87286).
Last night I dreamt there was a Tsunami and church bells were ringing to warn us of it, we were parked next to a river, so when I woke up and the church bells were ringing, I was a tad concerned, the joys of sleeping in Stellplatz and car parks – you never know what you’ll be woken up by. Fortunately there wasn’t a Tsunami, the Naab was as peaceful as when we went to bed. After a quick stop at the service point, which had the most ferocious water stream from a tap that I’ve ever seen – it was gushing everywhere except in the watering cans and water carriers people were trying to fill – we set off heading South. Our destination for today Regensburg, a short half an hour away, on the motorway.
We arrived and parked up just as the day was starting to really heat up. A walk along the Schleusen canal took us past a huge lock, which an equally huge boat was going through – we were mightily impressed as it glided out with only inches to space.
We stopped at the information office and were surprised to find a free museum with interactive displays about the town and how it gained its World Heritage status in 2006, there were also free maps of the town – we like this place.
We headed in the direction of the cathedral, its gothic spires lording it up above the rest of the towns skyline, and were suitably impressed with what we saw.
Taking it turns to go in, as Charlie isn’t a fan of all things religious, the inside was quite plain compared with the ornate carvings on the outside, but half way along the nave were some steps going down – not something you usually see in a church, so investigation was needed. It turned out to be a crypt for the Bishops of the town, and there have been quite a few of them. Many already had tombs and memorials in the main church, but I guess they figured they’ll run out of room sooner or later, so a place was set aside for the future. A dark wooden box hung on one of the walls, in it were two glass windows with iron bars in front of them, behind the glass were bones – the top window housing what looked like a skull, but the back of it with a brass plate stuck to it. Of course neither of us had a clue what it said, and couldn’t find any reference to it in the leaflets by the door – it’s a mystery, but we like to think it was one of the not so loved Bishop’s bones.
A bit more exploring of the side streets and a picnic in a quiet park, next to yet another church – the place is teeming with history, we decided we’ve seen enough. The car park is free but doesn’t look like it will provide us with a peaceful night as it’s next to a main road. Heading back to Dave we cross the Eisener Bridge where someone has had the great idea of transforming it into an urban garden. Instructions are placed at intervals telling you how to make plant pot holders from TetraPak cartons (some people have gone off plan slightly and a few metal beer barrels have crept in), with water butts and watering cans positioned at each end of the bridge. Dotted across the ironwork of the bridge these little cartons – interspersed with the now obligatory padlocks – are flowering. It looks great and to me it’s an ingenious idea. The other bridge in town is the famous, touristy bridge, so here the locals are making this bridge their own. Some of the holders have labels on them telling you what’s planted, so it’s no surprise that there’s not much left of the celery plant and I’m unsure how well the potato plant will get on in a milk carton, but it’s all part of the fun.
Back in the hot tin box that Dave has become soaking up the solar rays, we set course for Walhalla. I’ve only ready a small bit of information in our Lonely Planet book, but I was intrigued. It seems that 20 year old Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria decided to plan a hall of fame honouring outstanding personalities of German origin. Walhalla meaning “hall of the dead”, houses 128 marble busts and 64 commemorative tablets (I don’t think they know what those people looked like so no bust for them). The people can be considered for a place in the hall of fame twenty years after their death. In there are people representing arts, science, music and painting and the latest bust to be added was that of Sophie Scholl who was a member of the White Rose resistance group. What the Lonely Planet didn’t know was that Walhalla is undergoing some major building work, and neither did we until we’d paid €3 to park there. So we didn’t fancy coughing up any more to see the busts peeking out from behind scaffolding – instead we wandered around the magnificent building perched on a hill over looking the Danube and took some photos.
When we’d finished playing around we found out that our parking fee only covered us for four hours, we’d only been half an hour, but four wouldn’t take us overnight, so we checked out our database and found a free Stellplatz in Plattling, which was only 30 minutes down the nice big, wide German motorway – I’m really starting to like this country. Pulling in Jay got talking to a couple of our neighbours for the night who were off into the swimming pool complex that we’re parked next to. After 5pm it’s only €1.50, the weather was hot and Charlie didn’t want to move from under the table, so topping up his water bowl and grabbing our swimwear we headed there too.
An hour or so later Jay had a headache from some dodgy diving off the high board – Tom Daley would not have been proud, we’d both shown up the youngsters on waterslide and played around in the water jets that push you around one of the pools. Just as we headed for the waterslide for the second time an tannoy blared – Actung! We didn’t know what the rest of the announcement said, but everyone got out of the water and headed for the changing rooms – we guessed it was home time. Our fingers suitably wrinkled and our bodies cooled, I took a long shower before heading back to Dave where Jay cooked tea – it was a random meat purchase in the Czech Republic, but whatever they were, they tasted good.
Bonus photo – How Germany survives with the shops shut on Sundays –