If our ms AmaDagio cruise manager, Elke Vannieuwerburgh, hadn’t mentioned it, we would have missed it! The port stop on our Legendary Danube cruise was Regensburg, billed as one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. An invigorating walking tour featuring the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall, the Porta Praetoria–gates to a Roman fort built in 179 AD, the stunning Regensburg Cathedral, the famous towers of the wealthy medieval families, and the Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), spanning the Danube, a construction feat as impressive today as when it was built in the early 12th century. At the base of the bridge–on the Donau (Danube) is tiny “restaurant”—the Historische Wurstküche—which sells the famous Regensburg’s fingerling sausages that have been prepared right before your eyes on an open beechwood charcoal grill and served with sauerkraut and sweet grainy mustard in this spot since 1135, as rumor has it making it the world’s oldest sausage kitchen. Nine centuries ago, Roman bridge workers received their meals at this riverside kitchen. The latest owners of the restaurant purchased it in 1806 from the Regensburg State authority. They allege that there is documentary evidence linking the establishment back to the time when the bridge was built and that Mozart and, later, Goethe munched on the famous Regensburger sausages.
The Danube overflows its banks almost annually—to clean out the kitchen, Regenburgers joke—and signs nearly to the ceiling mark the dates and levels of especially cleansing floods that have doused the restaurant’s kitchen in the past 100 years.
On a sunny day, you can wait an hour or more to sit shoulder-to-shoulder on slat benches at outdoor trestle tables. It’s communal seating but with a magnificent view of the river, bridge and old city. When the weather doesn’t cooperate, the kitchen building itself offers several tables of indoor seating—but smoke permeates every fiber of clothing–and you’ll have to squeeze past the cooks to get there.
Diners should be prepared to like sausages – as that’s all there is on the menu! They’re accompanied by sauerkraut, home-made mustard and local beer, and come in portions of six, eight or ten. You order them in “sets” and the bread they put on the table is on the honor system. My best tip: if you like the mustard, go into the kitchen where they sell jars and tubs of it! I bought several to give for Christmas gifts and some family members declared it their favorite present. Now I wish I had bought a suitcase full!
Join the Conversation!