I'm living at the moment in Regensburg, Germany. The longer I'm here, the more I'm convinced that this is a great place to be... let me tell you why. :) First of all, Regensburg is an old place. For the Americans out there, with old I mean REALLY old. There are still remains of a Roman fortification built around 200AD. It's golden age however started when in 1146AD the first stone bridge across the Danube was finished. Here. Regensburg became a massive trade center, free city, ... Much later it also was for some 150 years the permanent seat of the Reichstag, the parliament (or, more correctly, diet) of the Holy Roman Empire. I don't really want to summarize the Wikipedia article though. The point is, the city was a rich and important center for ages, and it had a lot of luck: its buildings survived one war after the other, and even the concrete-crazy 1960's. Today, it's a UNESCO world heritage site.
That's one side of the story. The other side is that in 1962 the University of Regensburg was newly founded. Today, it has about 17000 students, with a campus in walking distance from the city centre. With the influx of students, the city center is thriving. The old architecture is no good for cars, so most of the center is ~pedestrian area. Many student dorms and rental flats are there, even in historical buildings dating back hundreds of years. The density of cafes, bars, beer gardens, pubs is amazing. I live straight in the middle, and when I get back from the office or lab in the evening I am again and again astonished at the athmosphere around me... Just a few steps away there's a medieval basement turned into a popular restaurant/bar place with the nice name "The Mended Drum"... When there's a slowdown in work, I'll for sure some day again take my camera and tripod and try to capture the spirit of the city - as long as I'm not in some bar sipping drinks with friends. Anyway, enough for today. :o) Cheers!