Viking’s Danube Waltz (6): Passau

Viking’s Danube Waltz (6): Passau

June 6: Passau, Germany

6a-Passaucon­tin­ued from part 5… Once called “Batavia” or “Batavis,” Pas­sau is a charmer of a medieval Bavar­i­an town at the con­flu­ence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz, the last out of the Black For­est, spew­ing dark peaty water into the larg­er, faster-mov­ing rivers.

6b-PassauStreetWith a pop­u­la­tion the same as Man­ches­ter, New Hamp­shire, it draws 1.6 mil­lion vis­i­tors per year, com­pared to 1 mil­lion down at Durn­stein, pop­u­la­tion 400 and a tenth the size. Result: you can move around with­out mass­es of crowds and enjoy the tran­si­tion archi­tec­ture, Goth­ic to Baroque.

6e-OrganPassauSt. Stefan’s Cathe­dral has one of the largest organs in the world and the recital there is tremen­dous. Viking crew mem­bers tell us they like Pas­sau best of all the stops and you can see why. It’s laid back, pic­turesque and not inun­dat­ed with tourists. It doesn’t seem to be try­ing so hard.


Passau architecture

Tem­per­a­tures were still steam­ing as our Viking guide led us around the sights. Pas­sau offers won­der­ful archi­tec­ture. We don’t think the church­es have one square inch of dis­play place left. We bought local cheeses, straw­ber­ries and crusty bread in the open air mar­ket. We brought them back to the ship to eat in air-con­di­tioned com­fort. The ship pro­vid­ed fine Aus­tri­an reds and Ger­man whites, and local beer on tap. I am afraid we pigged out: a per­fect com­bi­na­tion of local cheese and pro­duce and the ship’s ample bev­er­age lists.

6i-DetailPassau6f-StSetphansCeilingPassauAfter all that heat, we were look­ing for­ward to rainy 60s the next few days in Prague, an “option­al extra” to the Danube Waltz Tour, which ends here. The coach ride is four hours, tomor­row morn­ing, through the his­toric Sude­ten­land, the area Hitler claimed and won at Munich, which then had an eth­nic Ger­man minor­i­ty. Since the war it’s been all Czech. They had their revanche after all.

Next: Prague, Czech Republic

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