Tales from the River – Passau, Germany, Oct 9, 2011

Passau was an interesting town of about 50,000 people and is at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers. Because the Inn River is bringing water down from the Alps, it is cold and fast. The other two rivers didn’t seem as violent, which is why our ship docked on the Danube side of the island in the middle, the old town.

This is our last top in Germany and, being a Sunday, the only places open for business were the restaurants and a few souvenir shops, plus the churches, of course. Our guide and her family were born here and have stayed here so she put things into her perspective during the tour. She was animated and made the walk fun and interesting. As soon as we leave Passau, we will be in Austria and the Czech Republic is only about 45 minutes away by car. Three rivers and three countries, this has always been an active trading location.

There is no bishop here any longer but there is the Bishop’s Palace on top of a steep cliff across the river. We did NOT go all the way up there to check that out. We stayed on the island in between the Inn and Danube Rivers, in the old town. After the walking tour, we stopped at a small restaurant and had lunch. We could’ve walked back to the ship and had lunch there but it was much more fun overlooking the cobblestone narrow street, eating local food and drinking local coffee. They brought us an English menu and we were good to go. Many but not everyone speaks English here because they are taught English as part of their regular schooling. Of course, they are also taught other languages, such as Latin, but with the tourists, they seem to get enough practice with English to retain what they have learned.

We could’ve spent the afternoon in Passau but the stores were closed and it was windy and cold. At least it wasn’t raining, although there were times when you needed your sunglasses and times when the clouds covered the sky. It was fun watching the people walking through the park where we were docked, letting the children play and the dogs sniff everything in their path. Apparently standing at the far end of the island where the 3 rivers converge is a local pastime, regardless of the wind. We are wimps and took shelter in the ship.

After taking this river barge trip, I have decided that unpacking one time and making stops every day to sightsee is a perfect vacation. It is much easier than renting a car, driving and possibly getting lost, checking into and out of a hotel daily, and not knowing what you are seeing as you walk around the town. I don’t know about you, but I don’t speak or read German so I’m lost when we don’t have a tour guide. I should’ve studied up on a few key phrases before we came but I will know better in the future.

After dinner tonight is a singer/comedian named Hanso. Some of the entertainers onboard are fantastic and some … not so much … yet we always end up in the lounge for an after dinner drink. Well, usually Ed has one and I check email and post the blog for the day. At first, people thought I was a workaholic; now they know better, especially when I’m checking the Texas Rangers game! Go, Rangers!!! I know, I know, it’s sad, isn’t it, but I have to keep up with my team. There are 2 Detroit fans onboard and thankfully we won the first game.

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