After we enjoyed our leisurely buffet breakfast in the dining room, we headed to the Lounge for a briefing by our Cruise Director Monika. For those who have taken ocean cruises, the role of the cruise director is very different than it is on river cruising. On AMAWaterways, as well as a few other river cruising lines, the cruise director is not on the staff of the cruise line. They are hired to be responsible for the land portion of our trip and even a little more than that. They are not out to sell you anything, nickel and dime you but rather to help make the most of your vacation. They are particularly involved in the daily excursions and even tag along with some of the groups. I’ll write more about that as this trip progresses.
At noon, we bid adieu to Vilshofen and set sail to Passau, which was about a 2 1/2 hour journey. As we were sailing down the Danube, a Bavarian lunch was served to us featuring sausages, spetzles and suckling pig at the carving station. Of course, they always have soups, salad bars, cheeses and much more.
Passau is known as the City of Three Rivers – the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz. Perhaps because of the confluence of the three rivers, Passau had some of the worst flooding in their history back in 2013 when travel on the river came to a complete stop. Flooding like this hadn’t happened since 1501! The river in Passau rose more than 42 feet. Many businesses and homes near the river were under 7 feet of water. If you can see in this photograph, the second highest mark is from the June 2013 floods. Whenever you travel by river you do not want high water or low water.
Passau is home to 5 breweries and the smallest, Peschl Brau, just happened to be along the Danube where the ships were docked. The outdoor terrace beckoned many of our travelers to sit, relax and drink some of the local brew.
During my city tour, we visited St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The site that the cathedral is on has had many churches on it, most of them destroyed by fire. That seems to be a common theme with almost all of the churches and cathedrals that we visited on our trip. The first church is said to have dated back to 730! The current church was built between 1668 and 1693. What is notable about this cathedral is that it has the largest cathedral organ in the world. The organ currently has 17,774 pipes and 233 registers and it should be known that the “organ” is really several separate organ that can be played from one or more consoles. Here are a few pictures of the cathedral:
As we continued on in our “city tour” we came across an artist area. What was remarkable about this area was the number of hanging umbrellas. Just a touch of whimsy. It did remind me of a similar street in Sydney that had hanging bird cages. Somehow we always find an unusual street.
Finally, for my tour, we walked by a shop that sold cuckoo clocks so if you are in the market for one, and many tourists are when they come to Bavaria, then this is the shop for you.
While I was doing the “city tour” Blogger Hubby was with the active walkers and they were hiking the very large hill in Passau which, when you were hiking to the top gave you wonderful panoramic views of the city and river. He found that they went at a quick pace and the guide didn’t want to stop for pictures. Some people did become frustrated and left the group and went on their own. Nevertheless, he found that for him, it was the type of active outdoor activity that he enjoyed.
Finally, for me, no tour was complete without stopping to get a lemon gelato and I obliged myself. It’s the only flavor I order and I always feel so refreshed after having my daily gelato (or two).
After dinner, our entertainment for the evening was a young man and woman who comprised “The Sound of Austria” singing favorite tunes from operas, operettas and musicals – mainly from “The Sound of Music”. It was an enjoyable evening.
We departed Passau around 10:00 that evening as we headed to Linz, home of the world famous Linzer Torte.