Note the height off the ground of the door in the middle. I thought it was because of the flood waters, but it's actually because they used to arrive in carriages and it was a better height.
I managed to wake up (assisted by an alarm) at 7:30 this morning and get down to the dining room for breakfast. They had an amazing spread and lots of really crispy bacon. My aunt Rena was already down there so I joined her for breakfast. We had a leisurely meal and met some folks from Australia. We had to meet our guides at 9:15, so we didn’t have too long to chat. It turned out that Rena was in my tour group, so we headed out into the cold drizzle. We started out by walking into the old section of town and St. Paul’s church which is very pink in color and can’t be missed. It was our main landmark in case we got lost. We walked further into town to St. Stephen’s cathedral for which Passau is most noted. The city is very old, dating back about 5000 years. The main cathedral burned back in 1662, but has been rebuilt. The original cathedral was in the gothic style, and some of it remained, so they rebuilt onto it. However, the style of that time was Baroque, so it is a mixture of Gothic and Baroque on the outside, but all Baroque on the interior. It is truly stunning inside – stone carvings, architecture, paintings, etc. It really takes your breath away. The other man feature f the cathedral is that it has the largest church pipe organ in the world. It has over 17700 pipes and is in 5 separate pieces. We moved on from there over all of the cobblestone streets and saw where the bishop used to live as well as his current residence.
Since Passau is at the convergence of 3 rivers (Danube, Ilz, and Inn) they have had may floods over the years. The flood heights are marked on the city hall down by the Danube.
The most recent was in 2002 and quite significant. It’s also why Passau is called “Little Venice”. The tour brought us back to the ship after about 2 hours. We arrived and had some hot tea and of course it was time for lunch. Today’s theme was Barvaria (for obvious reasons) and we had some sausages, potato & onion cakes with applesauce and some other items I couldn’t pronounce. I decided to venture back out after lunch to some of the shops and to get some post cards. There must be about 50 shoe stores around here, but not many “touristy” type shops. I was walking down to the point where all three rivers converge when it really began raining. Supposedly you can see all 3 rivers because they are different colors, but I guess the rain kept me from seeing it. I didn’t realize how far I was from the ship until I started walking back. It must have been almost a mile! Needless to say I was very wet and cold by the time I got back to the ship. Good news is that it was tea time, so I was able to warm up to a cup of tea. I had hoped to post this earlier, but the internet was down. I had to settle for reading my book. It was time to get ready for dinner. While I was getting ready we left the dock, about 6:00 pm. We are moving quickly down the Danube. Tonight was the Captain’s Welcome reception followed by a more “formal’ dinner. I was invited to dine at the Captain’s table, but that also mean having a special table at the cocktail hour. I actually had a lot of fun - there was one couple from Connecticut who had just gotten married and another who were celebrating their 50th anniversary and this was their first cruise. We had a wonderful dinner with the Captain, who is from the Netherlands. I think dinner was 5 courses, some of which I’m not sure what I was eating. However, veal was the entrée and very good and of course we had crème bruleé for dessert, so I knew what that was. I came up to the lounge to see if internet was back up and as I walked in they were playing “Lara’s theme” so that made me laugh out loud. I was also able to talk to mom via instant messenger which was great. Tomorrow is a very early (and long) day. We have to drive about 2 hours into Salzburg, so it is truly an all day affair that starts at 8:30 am. With that being said, I best get some sleep.