Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Woke up to Passau

We arrived in Passau early in the morning and were pleasantly surprised to find our selves only a few minutes walk from the Old Town!

The morning’s city tour was led by Mihai, our program director – his last as a guide as in Austria due to the work laws he will be accompanying us, but we will have all local guides. For me this was of particular interest as he dwelt on the fact that Passau was the city where Elisabeth (better known as Sissi) left to become the wife of Franz Joseph I and thus Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Queen consort of Croatia and Rumania at the age of 16! It is no wonder that the marriage did not in the end do well (he was too busy keeping his empire together and she was neglected: she traveled more and more and in the end was assassinated in Geneva at the age of 62 – we have a statue in her honor on the key in front of the hotel where she stayed).
We visited, of course, St. Stephen’s (the Dom) and some of us went back for the 11:30 mass just to hear the organ, which from 1928 until recently was the largest organ in the world, the largest Catholic organ in the world and the largest cathedral organ in the world with its 17.974 pipes and 233 stops. Now it is only the Catholic’s and Europe’s largest organ. Now the rankings can very depending upon how the instruments are judged: still this one is among the top.

Highwater marks on the City Hall wall

Beautiful statue to Elisabeth
in the artist's quarters

path to the artist's quarters

St. Stephan's nave

St. Stephan's organ (see description)

outside of St. Stephan's and the Christmas Market

St.Mary's chapel
We had a late lunch on the ship then more free time:  I returned to Old Town, first seeing St. Paul’s, then the Christmas Market, then down through a short cut another passenger had explained to see the Inn River (Passau has three: the Inn, the Danube and the Ilz), walked around the top point then decided to do what I hadn’t that morning, i.e. walk up to the Oberhaus fortress – the date is 1499, but that 4 was sure hard to decipher. We never would have managed without the guide.

St.Paul's organ

Nave of St.Paul

The Inn river

map of how the rivers are in Passau

one of the ladders leading into the river

Back to the boat capturing a bit of the flavor in photos overlooking the whole.

Looking down on the Danube and our boat from Oberhaus
Looking through a window

Lovely decorated boat along the Danube
Skipped the “German Christmas Traditions” discussion but did attend the disembarkation briefing  - sadness, all this fun and discovery is going to come to an end.

That was followed by Christmas Dinner, “port talk” (unusually not before dinner) and the onboard entertainment of the one and only River Concerto Crew Show – lots of fun that was. We sailed shortly thereafter headed for Linz in Austria.

Leaving Passau

Me and my friends at the Christmas Dinner - having fun? You bet!