As I mentioned mid-shoot, my friend Courtney came over and was my co-contributor for the show. This was pretty awesome, as she had wanted to come visit me for some time, but couldn’t due to her insane schedule. For some reason she thought that working full-time, going back to school to become a nurse, and getting married last year were all more important than visiting me in Euro-land! The audacity, I tell you. But when I said, “hey, they want me to do HHI,” she pretty much jumped across the ocean at the chance to do it with me. That solidified my decision on whether or not to do the show, and got her ass over here, so I figure that‘s a win-win for everyone involved.
I picked her up on Thursday morning, and we spent Friday-Sunday filming the show. But that left three days after we wrapped before she had to fly back to the States. I had some ideas about different things we could do, but hadn’t planned anything specific for her time because we thought it would be a bit better to just play it by ear. We tossed around a few ideas, but finally settled on just doing two day trips, and then going to Frankfurt the day before her early morning flight.
For our first day trip, we decided to go check out the Klosterbrauerei Weltenburg, which has been brewing beer since 1050. I’d wanted to go see this brewery for a few months, but hadn’t had the opportunity to do so yet. The only flaw in this plan (and the rest of the plans in Germany), was that Courtney had found out that she was pregnant one week after she booked her ticket to come here. Well played, indeed. But she said that if she didn’t visit one of the oldest breweries in the world, people would be disappointed in her, so off we went.
The good news is that it isn’t just a beautiful old monastery, but the trip there is lovely as well. With our trusty Bayern Ticket in hand, we had a nice morning train/bus ride through the countryside to the town of Kelheim.
From there, you can board a boat that takes you through the Danube gorge to the monastery. We did have some trouble finding the boat… it’s literally across the parking lot from the bus station where we got off, but as we had crossed a river on the way there, we walked back that way and found ourselves at the wrong place. This was partly due to my diabolical plan to make Courtney walk more than Americans are used to (sweeping generalizations!). No, not really. We just went the wrong way. But a bit of backtracking and we found the right place.
I had heard from a few people that a nice thing to do was to take the boat to the monastery and then walk back (or vice versa), so we thought about doing that, but figured it was best to buy round-trip tickets just in case. That will run an adult 9€ apiece, and one-way is 5€. When we got on the boat, we were the only ones there, so we had high hopes that we would have the place to ourselves. After all, it was a Monday, so shouldn’t people be at work? But then again, it was the tail end of August, which means it was still holiday time here in Bavaria, so of course our boat filled up before we took off.
|Courtney surveys the seating choices.|
One of the things I love about Germany is that you can almost always get a beer or an ice cream somewhere. Since we didn’t have breakfast yet, I skipped the beer for the moment. Instead we both opted for ice cream in orange juice. The best kind of breakfast!
The boat trip to Weltenburg takes about forty minutes, and they provide the usual boat tour commentary, in German and English, which was nice. They point out different things in the rocks, and I had flashbacks to the Dells Boat Tours back home. Fun stuff. Although I don’t think they serve beer on those boats. Anyway. It’s a nice trip up the river, and you can watch the less lazy people walking or cycling along the river path.
|I think there were faces here. But I don’t remember.|
|Prague reference: St. John of Nepomuk.|
When we arrived at the monastery, it was right about lunchtime and the beer garden was completely packed. We decided to walk around a bit, and I had heard that there was a nice view up the hill, so that’s where we started.
We followed these signs and found ourselves in a small store selling paintings, prints, and a whole lot of frames. I took the opportunity to do some Instagram self-portraiting…
After we had decided that we weren’t in the market for any paintings of old German gentlemen or birds, we continued walking up the hill. There were two paths to follow, both with the stations of the cross, but one going to the top of the hill, and one going to a small chapel. We went towards the chapel…
|Path up the hill…|
|View down over the Kloster.|
|In the chapel.|
|Courtney resting her feet.|
|Sweet sunglasses pic!|
After the chapel, we walked back down to see if we could visit the inside of the monastery itself. We went into the main church…
… another Baroque hall….
…and a gift shop. Sorry, no photos of that. Disappointing, I know.
After our short tour, we were ready for some lunch, and luckily the beer garden had cleared out a bit so we could get a seat. Even more luckily, they had an English menu at the restaurant. I normally do alright with menus, but there was a fair amount on this one that I had absolutely no idea what it could be. And neither did Google translate on my phone. Not so helpful. I went for something off of the seasonal menu…
Pasta with venison, mushrooms, and preiselbeeren. All the translators keep claiming that those are cranberries, but I don’t buy it. They’re too small and they don’t taste the same. Similar yes, but the same, no. Either way, they are often found with venison dishes, and it’s a good combination. And of course, I had a beer with it, which you can see up in the corner there.
After we ate, we literally had to run for our boat in order to make our bus back. So there went our plan of walking back along the river. But the good news is that I got to have another beer on the boat. But if you plan on doing that, be aware that the trip back only takes 20 minutes. Which means that you might have to drink that beer much faster than normal. Consider yourselves warned. After that we grabbed our bus, and headed back to Nürnberg to plan our next day trip…