Danube Trip: Weltenburg Abbey and Danube Narrows

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Danube Trip: Boscolo, Autograph Collection
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Danube Trip: Nuremberg, Germany
Danube Trip: Weltenburg Abbey and Danube Narrows
Danube Trip: Regensburg, Germany
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Danube Trip: Budapest, Hungary
Danube Trip: Hilton Budapest (Castle District)
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Monday morning our longship docked in the town of Regensburg, Germany.  I found it interesting that native German speakers pronounced “burg” like “bourg”, making the name sound almost French.  No matter, we docked there and some folks took the city tour in the morning.  We’d take that tour in the afternoon, after our optional excursion down the Danube Narrows to Weltenburg Abbey.

We boarded motorcoaches that took us through the countryside, past the retirement home of Pope Benedict XVI, to a dock where we set sail on the day cruiser that would take us through the scenic Danube Narrows.  As it was still morning and somewhat cool, the first part of the trip was spent inside, with many folks sampling some of the different kinds of beer brewed at our destination, Kloster Weltenburg.  As I don’t drink alcohol I enjoyed a non-alcoholic beverage and the pretzel that came with it.

In some places either side of the river was flat for a bit before hills rose behind it.  In other places, I guess the true “narrows” portion was where the rock walls rose high on either side of us.  The landscapes where the morning sunshine shone seemed especially cheery.

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Finally we came upon a bend in the river where we could see the abbey.  wel-abbey-from-the-boat

As per the usual Viking format, we’d each been assigned a group number and a guide was waiting for us when we disembarked.  wel-abbey-from-the-shore

As we approached the abbey entrance we noticed the high water marks on the corner of the building closest to the river.  The lowest of the marks, from June 1940, looks to be in the 6.5-7.0 foot range.  The second-to-highest mark, the highest of modern times and was reached in May 1999, is not quite twice as high.  But look at the mark reached in March 1845 – that’s gotta be 16 feet!wel-high-water-marks

Once inside the abbey gates we saw the biergarten, which was closed for the season.  But with the trees inside the abbey walls it looks like it would be a delightful place to take a break in the summer months.

wel-abbey-biergarten

Biergarten

The monastery was founded circa 620 and is thought to be the oldest in Bavaria.  It became affiliated with the Benedictine order in the early 8th century. The first abbey church was consecrated in 1191 and the abbey buildings underwent significant repair and renovation in the mid-15th century.

The highlight of the abbey now is the “new” abbey church, which was built by the Assam brothers 1716-1739.  The baroque edifice blends in with the rest of the buildings but the masterpiece is inside.

The church is dedicated to St. George and there is a gorgeous sculpture of him slaying a dragon back behind the pulpit.

wel-st-george

St. George slays the dragon.  The lady in the lower left corner was the expert who filled all the groups in on the details of the church.

True to the style, there are massive carvings and large artwork galore.

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Detail of one of the gold panels

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The Assam brothers even managed embed themselves into the the design.  One brother was a sculptor and the other a painter.  Each used his own medium to fashion a likeness of his brother up near the ceiling.

wel-assam-brothers

The Assam brothers. One is a sculpture leaning over the rim while his brother is a painting over his right shoulder.

The attention to detail is amazing and while this is a relatively young building as far as Europe is concerned, it’s in terrific shape considering it’s older than America!

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Categories: Cruises, Europe, Germany, River Cruise, Uncategorized, Viking | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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