Walhalla, the paradise for the honoured
(photo taken from Cool Places to Stay )
We date Saturday 21st May. I am in between an Erasmus reunion in the city of Regensburg and after having tasted a bit the nightlife of the city, we decide to go sightseeing. The programme states Walhalla. I do not know about you, but, for a person from the south like myself, this name reminds you more Arabic or Hindi scenery than German one. Obviously it proves how little I know about German history and mythology. I was, therefore, amazed to find out that Walhalla is nothing more than the paradise Valhalla from the Norse mythology. According to mythology half of the people who had died in a battle or a combat are lead to Valhalla who was ruled by god Odin, while the other half go to a field called Fólkvangr ruled by the goddess Freyja. But let’s not concern ourselves with the latter. The point is that the Bavarian memorial a breath away from Regensburg has taken its name from this soldier paradise of the Norse mythology. The order for its construction was made by Crown Prince Judwig, who after his succession to the throne wanted to show his support for the unification of the German states. The memorial was built in the 19th century and specifically its construction took place in the years 1830-1842. The memorial is used as a hall to honour the distinguished people of the German language. Artists, politicians, scientists have taken place with their work in the halls of Walhalla and remain there to be honoured and admired for the rest of time.
But the Norse mythology was not the only thing that inspired the built of Walhalla. Its architecture by Leo von Klenze resembles the Greek temples as it was meant to be made in accordance to the Parthenon in Athens. Its final form manages not to be a pure copy from the famous Greek monument. So Greek art and Germanic mythology are combined together to create a hall of fame for the honoured. Pretty cool, right?
Standing on Walhalla’s balcony and having to witness that view was definitely a gift from God.
Why to go?
There is nothing better than a high location combining history, culture and a magnificent view of nature wonders. Walhalla has it all… It represents an era of Germany that was getting closer together by unifying many of its states, it combines Greek and Germanic culture only by seeing it and hearing its name and it is truly beautiful to watch. Both the temple and its interior stand there in their greatness proving that inspiration can create things that leave people speechless and that they can be used in a most respectable manner. Because what is the best way to use such a monument if not for a memorial for those ones who deserve it. And last but certainly not least, the Danube. Oh dear that river is magnificent no matter where you find it. It truly never lets you down. No one should regret getting at this high spot. The view is truly one of a kind and it makes you think that everything is possible.
Let me tell you that as a Greek seeing a Greek style temple in another country does not offend me. On the contrary, it proves to me how much influence the Greek culture had and still has into the world and makes me feel exceptionally proud of my country.
(photo taken from Augenklick )
When to go?
I do not want to play expert at this point, as I have visited Walhalla only once one month ago. However, I had the chance to get up there on a day where the sun was shining and it had 27 degrees and let me tell you I loved it. As I am from the south having the sun shining is always an advantage for me, but I am sure everyone would appreciate the lighting that the sun provides both to the memorial and the view of the Danube below. So pick a date between May and September to have more chances to have a nice sunny day, though not a hot day, because I do not think someone can survive going up 350 stairs with 40 degrees burning their soul.
Opening hours (info taken from Europe for Visitors )
April – September: 9:00 – 17:45
October: 9:00 – 16:45
November, March: 10:00 – 11:45, 13:00 – 15:45
Closed: 24/25/12 &31/12 and Shrove Tuesday.
*Fees exist to enter the memorial. 4 euros for adults and 3 euros for students, children from fourteen years old and elderly. Children under fourteen years do not have to pay.
How to get there?
If you come from another far away country then you will probably want to catch a plane to Munich. Regensburg has no airport of its own as it is a quite small city. After you reach Munich take a bus to Regensburg. Here in Germany it has started to become common to use the buses over the train as the Deutsche Bahn tends to be very expensive for most people. Some bus lines you can check are Flixbus, Fernbus, Postbus, Onebus, Berlinlinienbus. The ride should be about an hour long and you will save some money for some German beer. If the money is not a problem for you, however, then the train is not a bad idea. The schedules between close cities are frequent and the rides are most of times very faster than the buses, as they have no traffic to concern about. If you are already in Regensburg, you can just catch Bus 5 and ride for about 20 minutes outside the city. The stop you can get off is Riefldingerstrasse, Donaustauf. It is the closest to Walhalla and will save you some walking.
1) Make sure you check the buses schedule before you start walking up. The bus goes every one hour and you do not want to be stuck at a bus stop for more than half an hour waiting for a bus to come.
2) Take some water or something refreshing with you, especially if it is a good warm day. My friends and I did not forget to grab some beer before getting on the bus to Walhalla.
3) We were informed by the bus driver that there were two paths we could take up the hill and one of them was way shorter. Make sure you find the shorter path. You do not want to curse yourself when you see Walhalla’s stairs after you have been walking for 15-20 minutes up. 350 stairs are enough, believe me.