REGENSBURG, BAVARIA — The itinerary goes something like this: U-Bahn to regional train to local train to bus to boat to hike to the oldest beer brewed by holy hands. A pilgrimage of Pils built on the back of the German public transportation system.
That was our route when we thought to take advantage of one of the 14 Bavarian public holidays and make our way out to the Weltenburger Kloster — the oldest brewing monastery in the world — perched on the edge of the Danube River.
We took off early on a sunny May Day morning, joining us on this pilgrimage were fellow Americans Nick, Katy and Shannon.
After a long, wet winter, we were eager to continue checking famous Bavarian biergartens off our list and Weltenburg was one of the more ambitious sites, due to its cloistered location in the Danube river valley.
After working out timetables and making our way to the little town of Kelheim, we board a ferry to take us the rest of the way up the river.
It was a beautiful spring day and a couple cool glasses of the monk’s brew make it even nicer, as the captain tells stories of pilgrims and river pirates as we chug against the formidable stream.
Upon reaching the Kloster, we quickly realized that we weren’t the first ones with the idea of how to spend a free day. The tiny biergarten under the shadow of an 11th century chapel was packed and we were relegated to sample the goods in a dark corner of the Bierkeller.
But one of the best Dunkelbiers available and hearty Bavarian fare soon made us forget the spring sun outside.
On the equally extensive route home, we forged a new path and stop off in the traditional town of Regensburg. The little river town here is postcard Bavaria: a soaring Cathedral surrounded by winding cobblestone streets, colorful houses untouched for centuries and wide squares with bier drinking Buerger.
Exhausted, well fed and well hydrated, we made our way home in the dark Bavarian night; another check on the list, another holy brew in our bellies.