I'm still trying to shake off this jetlag, which seems to have morphed into insomnia. I tell you, it's darn hard to be such a sports fan and know that NFL games are playing (starting at 2:30 a.m. DRT, what I'm calling Danube river time) and settle in for a sound sleep. My mind just knows I can flip on the TV and catch the action.
So, I have been doing just that the past two nights (Sunday and Monday) much to the detriment of my energy. I'm up-to-date on the NFL standings but way behind in slumber.
I make up for it with an afternoon nap onboard in my comfy bed in my cabin on Viking Delling. About 90 minutes later, I'm refreshed, get in a modified workout (pushups, body-weight squats) and am off to enjoy the evening with another great meal and conversation.
Around this little routine of the past two days, I have been thoroughly enjoying exploring at our stops along the river. We left Germany on Tuesday night to reach Austria.
Here is a sample of the sights of Regensburg and Passau, two colorful Bavarian towns that marked our last stops on our way to Austria -- Wednesday, we'll be in Melk before heading to Vienna at night to overnight through Thursday. Regensburg and Passau added to our bounty of Christmas markets, delicious foods and spectacular structures.
The city's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring buildings constructed from the 11th to 13th century. A famous landmark is the twin-spired Regensburg Cathedral. Perhaps an equally iconic attraction is the "world's first fast food restaurant," the Historic Sausage Kitchen of Regensburg, which operates in a 900-year-old building. The kitchen served workers as far back as the 12th century.
Many of us who visited to grab a couple delicious bratwursts had thoroughly interesting encounters with the older kitchen marm running the show at the take-out counter. Let's just say I wouldn't be in the best mood either if river ship after river ship of American tourists tried to cram into my work area and order without speaking a lick of German. Tip: Prep yourself with a few key German phrases to help you place your order at the famed Sausage House, and don't ever, ever think of taking the serving plate outside to your bench seat.
I also got my first taste of gluhwein (hot mulled and spiced wine) in Regensburg. I'm no wine fan, but I can see why this concoction is so popular on a cool December day while perusing the markets. It really warms the soul.
The town sits at the confluence of the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz and is thus known as the "City of Three Rivers."
Here, we saw a gingerbread making demo at Cafe Simon in the old town and ventured the cobbled alleyways leading to gorgeous Dom St. Stephan, or St. Stephen's Cathedral, which overlooks the town's Christmas market square.
The historic city offers a great blend of colors and textures, giving you a unique look around every turn.