Passau is a pretty little town on the Danube where we spent a relaxing day during our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Egil in December 2017. Our day started with a walking tour of the town that included a visit to, of course, the town’s Christmas Market.
The older part of the town along the Danube had twisty, narrow alleys that invited exploration. Flood level markings, both ancient and recent, could be found on some of the buildings:
Some building details that caught our eye:
During this trip we visited so many churches that we feared getting “churched out” but that never happened. Certainly not in Passau, where we spent time in St. Stephen’s. (By the way, Stephen must be a popular saint in this part of Europe with so many of the churches named after him.) St. Stephen’s Cathedral is known not just for its ornate beauty, but also for its massive organ (the largest outside of the U.S.) that has nearly 18,000 pipes. Unfortunately, there aren’t any organ performances during the winter.
Passau has a strong artistic leaning. The art galleries and shops are easier to find with the “Art Alley” multi-colored markings for the route. We toured Passau’s Glass Museum. To say that the museum’s coverage of glassware from the area from the years 1650 to 1950 was comprehensive would be an understatement. Beautifully displayed, the collection was, frankly, overwhelming. Much of it was so ornate and over the top. My favorites were the more modern pieces, including the set pictured below by Moser from the 1920’s. There was some modern Moser glassware on display in our hotel in Prague, and we visited their shop in Prague’s Old Town.
One of the stops on our walking tour was at Cafe Simon, which specializes in gingerbread and gingerbread cookies, especially the ornate, very hard variety that seem like they would last forever. Our host (picture below) told our tour group about the history of gingerbread and of its related industry, candle making, made of beeswax. Some wooden gingerbread presses were also used to make candles.
When most people think of cruising they think of Caribbean sunshine, and not snow, but snow can definitely be part of a river cruise at Christmas time. The white stuff had all melted by the next morning, but we thought that it was really different to watch one of the crew members shoveling off the top deck of the ship. He left the putting green alone for the sun.
Tomorrow, on to Austria!