Regensburg and Juergen

Trip Start Oct 06, 2005
Trip End Oct 25, 2005

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, October 21, 2005

Juergen, Steffi, and their new addition, Maximilian were waiting for me at the train station of Regensburg. I met Juergen in Madison a couple years ago through Matt, who met him at, of all places, a beer fest in Madison.  He worked for 2 years in Madison and brought his girlfriend Steffi over halfway through his stay.

They live in Southen Bavaria and would host me for a couple days.  First, we walked through the lovely old city and made our way to the oldest brat haus in the world.  Or maybe it was the 2nd oldest.  Seems there's a feud with one in Nuremburg.  But at 500 years plus, who's counting?  Juergen asked if 8 would be OK?  I thought, wow, that's a lot of brats for 3 people, but OK.  10 minutes later, we each got a plate of 8 brats on a bed of saurkraut.  They were small, but delicious.  And we ate them all, washing them down with a fine Bavarian lager.  Then we drove to Steffi's place in Neunberg, a small town about 40 minutes away. She's a hairdresser at her mom's salon, along with her sister.  Her grandmother was also a hairdresser there too.  I had met Juergen's and Steffi's mothers in Madison a year ago, along with Steffi's sister, when they paid a visit.  We chatted a bit with the help of the translators and then had a couple more fine Bavarian lagers. 

Later, we went to a roadhouse danceclub at an intersection in the middle of nowhere.  The parking lot was overflowing and the club was wall to wall with "German Redneck Farmers" according to Juergen.  I had a weird concoction in a liter beer stein that was half beer, 2 shots of cherry liquer, and something else.  Tasted like Dr. Pepper.  The DJ was playing a combination of current dance music and Classic American Rock.  Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" next to a current song. Very weird.  At least nobody did the chicken dance.  It was kinda fun, but way too crowded for my taste.

The next morning, we went to Juergen's parents' place in Waldmunchen for WeissWurst, a traditional Bavarian breakfast of white Brats, pretzels, and beer.  A healthy way to start the day.  Later we hiked up a small mountain behind their house and crossed over into the Czech Republic.  There was an old Czech military radar tower on top of that mountain and now it's an observation tower for tourists.  Juergen's dad Wilfred is retired but is quite the history buff and gives tours as a part time job.  He filled me in (via Juergen) about the final days of WW2 and how the American 2nd Infantry Division came through in late April 1945 on their way to Pilzn.  There was resistance still.  In Regensburg, a priest who raised a white flag in the final days of the war was shot by the Nazis who weren't ready to give up yet.  The Germans were happy to see Americans instead of Russians, who were not so kind to the enemy.  Also, Napolean marched an army through the area on the way to Russia.  I bet nobody had the courage to tell him invading Russia was a bad idea.

After a few hours of hiking, we climbed the tower and could see for miles in each direction: Germany to the west, and the Czech Republic to the east.  We had another beer and hiked back down.  Juergen suggested going to the local spa, which is kind of like the YMCA, but is just pools, saunas, and steam rooms.  A great deal for 3 Euros.

The next day we drove around to several smaller towns, including some across the border again where Juergen's mother's family lost a family farm after the war.  Her parents raised her just across the border and after the war, all the Germans were forced back to Germany, or were killed.  Most of the houses were burnt down out of spite, but for some reason, they saved that family farm.  A guy from Prague owns it now as a country home.  At the border, Vietnamese sold trinkets and imitation designer clothes and bags.  Juergen said the Russians let them immigrate during the Vietnam war, but that the Czechs don't really like or respect them.

We went out later to some pubs in Cham, a county seat in the area. It's about 20,000 people strong, but has several trendy bars and restaurants with people dressed to the hilt.  It was see and be seen time here.  A lot different than the dance club the night before.  We played pool with Juergen's friend who works at his father's clothing company in town.  I taught them how to play cutthroat since there were 3 of us and they had never heard of it, but liked it a lot.

In between all of these activities, we hung out with Maximillilan, who's about 14 months old and loves getting into everything at that age.  Cute kid, but if you turn your head, he's gone and causing trouble.

On Sunday, Steffi, Juergen, Maximillian, and I went to Pilzn, Czech Republic to see the Pilsner Urquell brewery, brewer of one of my favorite beers and from whence we get the word Pilsner.  Can it get any better than this?
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