THE WELTENBURG ABBEY,THE OLDEST BENEDICTINE MONASTERY AND ABBEY BREWERY IN BAVARIA:
Amsterdam to Budapest River Cruise – Avalon Waterways – Day 9
After lunch, we went by coach from Regensburg to Weltenburg for our Danube Gorge cruise to the Weltenburg Abbey. The cruise through the Danube Gorge was in a smaller sightseeing boat as the waters are quite shallow in some parts. The scenic landscape was mesmerizing and we all crowded in the open deck at the back of the boat, soaking up the sun and scenery. But before too long, it got too hot and everyone tried to squeeze back under the shade.
Weltenburg Abbey is the oldest Benedictine monastery in Bavaria and is believed to have been founded around 620 by Irish or Scottish monks. One of the main reasons for our visit was to see the Abbey church, which is the highlight attraction of the Abbey. The exterior of the church is quite plain with only the statue of St Benedict decorating the roof top. The inside however is supposed to be quite stunning and hold important artwork.
Unfortunately for us the church was undergoing major restoration and much of its treasures were hidden from view. We did get to see the ceiling fresco and apse of the church, both of which are important works of art.
Weltenburg Abbey is situated in an area called the “Weltenburg Narrows” and with its low-lying location on the Danube, it is subject to flooding. You can see the flood levels over the centuries marked on the wall of the monastery.
A consolation for not seeing the entire Abbey church was that there was a bustling beer garden and restaurant within the compounds of the Abbey. The Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei claims to be the
oldest monastery brewery in the world, although another monastery, the Weihenstephan Abbey, disputes this claim. Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei has been in operation since 1050, and whether it’s the oldest brewery or not, its Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel has won a few awards at the World Beer Cup award. We took a break at the biergarten and Tony tried one of the Weltenburger dark beers but for him, nothing beats his favourite brew – Guinness.
This area of the Danube Gorge is a relatively unspoilt, recreational area which locals come to swim, enjoy the sun, hike, or just enjoy a lazy afternoon at the Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei beer garden. But we had to return to our ship and were transferred back by coach.
Tip: From the Abbey, it was quite a walk back to the coach. If you do have problems walking distances, do check with your cruise director to see if this is still the case. We did notice one enterprising individual had set up a sort of streamlined bicycle rickshaw (check the photo) taxi service between the bus park and the Abbey, so this is a possibility.
Photos of the Danube Gorge and Weltenberg Abbey: Danube Gorge and Weltenberg Abbey Photo Gallery
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