We are now on the Danube River and we are seeing all of the picturesque and beautiful towns and structures that the advertising promised. It is beautiful.
An interesting fact about the Viking Cruise: there are so many of these Viking Cruise ships on the Danube that there is no room for them to dock at the various cities. So they tie themselves together. The first ship to arrive gets the dock, Ship No. 2 gets tied to Ship No. 1, and Ship No. 3 (which was our ship today at Passau) gets tied to Ship No. 2.
So when the passengers from our ship disembarked today for their various tours and sightseeing ventures, we had to make our way through our ship up to the top deck, cross the gangplank to Ship No. 2, walk through Ship No. 2, cross the gangplank to Ship No. 1, walk through Ship No. 1 and then take the gangplank to the shore. And when we returned to the ship we had to do all of that in reverse.
To make it even more interesting, if Ship No. 1 or 2 has to leave earlier than the other two ships, sometimes when we come back to our ship we see only two ships tied together instead of the three that were there when we left and it can cause a moment of panic (smile).
The highlight of Passau is St. Steven’s Cathedral which is a church that had burned down in the year 1662 and was rebuilt in what they call the baroque style. This cathedral houses the largest pipe organ in the world, with 19,974 organ pipes. Marshall particularly likes old churches – and he felt good today – so we decided to make our way to see the church on our own.
It was overcast and raining and it was uphill on cobblestone streets all the way to the church (about a ¾ mile walk). He did wonderfully. Halfway there we stopped at a delightful coffee shop for a latte and a short rest.
The church was everything we expected and we spent 30 to 40 minutes taking it all in. The organ was spectacular.
Then we went to lunch at a café near the church and had a half pint of Hackleberg Urhell beer and when we were finished the waitress called us a cab to take us back to the ship.
Because we are getting close to Vienna, tonight’s dinner was a sampling of the kinds of food we would get in Vienna. It was delicious. There were also two musicians in traditional dress – one with accordion -- playing polka music. This was an unexpected nostalgia trip for me. I grew up in a German town in Illinois and this was the kind of music that was played at all functions (weddings, reunions, etc.), so I was taken back to memories of my mom and dad and my first boyfriend (who was German). It was a great evening.
|Playing the Chicken Dance. The guy on the left did a cute little butt wiggle that I just couldn't capture.|
|Town of Passau|
|Heading to St. Steven's Cathedral in Passau|
|St. Steven's is through this tunnel|
|Pipe organ at St. Steven's Cathedral|
|Reboarding the ship at Passau|