Medieval Holiday Magic

| 12/13/2016 11:16:00 AM

Tags: Marilyn Jones, Christmas Market, Christmas shopping, Europe, Germany, Regensburg, travel, UNESCO, history, medieval,

Marilyn JonesThere’s more to a Viking River Cruise's Christmas Market Cruise along the Danube River than shopping. Before each visit to the famous European markets, passengers take bus or walking tours of grand cities in Germany, Austria, and Hungary.

While visiting Regensburg, Germany — the oldest city on the Danube — we walked along the waterfront from the Viking Longship Njord to the city’s famous stone bridge that spans the river. Built between 1135 and 1146, the bridge with its 16 arches is a masterpiece of medieval engineering; it was one of the highlights of our tour through the city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Our guide, a young woman with an encyclopedic knowledge of the city, told us that the first settlements in Regensburg date to the Stone Age. The Romans later built a fort here in the 1st century. Remains of the fortress can still be seen.

After walking on the bridge and taking lots of photos, we made our way into the city and its labyrinth of streets and passageways. Festive decorations were strung from side to side, making a beautiful tunnel even in the morning light.

There are more than 1,000 historic buildings in the city, including several towers built during the Middle Ages by wealthy merchants as homes and storage for their wares. There are also past shops with windows decorated with ornaments, holly, and garland.

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