Cruising the Danube River: Passau

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We took the train from Munich and then walked from the station to the port where we boarded the River Beatrice, a rather long river cruiser. I’m on another assignment and Uniworld, a boutique cruise company, is working with the magazine to sponsor us.

The weeklong journey is taking us from Passau in Germany down the Danube to Budapest, stopping at Linz, Melk, the UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley, and Vienna along the way. The weather is cooperating after what was a lingering winter and this is looking to be one excellent cruise.

Our starting point, Passau is a lovely walking city set at the confluence of three rivers: the Ilz, the Inn, and the Danube. The town of just over 50,000 people is a great place to start, with a few nice churches, breweries, and of course the rivers themselves.

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The interior of the Rathaus, the town hall.

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There are four breweries in little Passau and this one is right on the river.

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A statue outside the town’s historic orphanage.

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Our accommodations are top notch. Hard to believe that my cabin on a ship is about three times as large as my last Japanese business hotel room!

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The boat is so long I can’t even get the dang thing into my lenses.

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The fort up on the hill across the Danube River has a nice perch overlooking the city. But look at the year. What’s the odd second digit? That’s half of an 8. Seriously. Meaning it’s an alternative way to write 4. Eight was considered a lucky number so apparently 4 got no respect. (Tangential Trivia: In China 4 is associated with death so is unlucky, and often elevators won’t show a 4th floor.) Learn something new every day.

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To liven up the cobblestone street, local galleries have painted paths to their studios here in Passau.

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Hacklberg, one of the local brews, is owned by the diocese.

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The Inn River comes in from the south to join the Danube.

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The baroque cathedral, St. Stephan’s, is real stunner dating from 1688.

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The baroque style leaves the lower columns stark white but puts the ornate details high above, drawing one’s eyes to heaven.

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We were too early in the season for daily concerts, but travelers should try to get in for a performance on the cathedral’s pipe organ. With 17,774 pipes it is the largest cathedral organ in the world. It’d be the largest organ period if not for a mega-church in the States.

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