Passau


It is really sad that our ship could not dock here because the landing is so convenient—we could have planned dinner or late evening walks. Instead, we still are using busses. Another disappointment is that we were unable to make it to the Friday concert at St. Stephen’s, which claims to have the biggest organ in Europe, our bus having been 15 minutes late and the doors were found locked to prevent disruption. From outside the thick walls, Rod and I could barely hear what must be mind-splitting sound.

The day was getting warmer and we foolishly wandered the scorched streets on our own. The guided tours have been informative and enjoyable, but there have been many tedious moments waiting for the deaf and lame to click their carefully composed photos and then search the mobs for a guide paddle with their forgotten group number. The guides are apparently scolded for losing a grandparent along the way, so the commentary is regularly interrupted by head counts. I am astonished at how infrequently a passenger was lured away from the group by a window trinket or an unauthorized call to the WC.

Since this whole blog is just so much practice, I am including a movie from scraps of iPad video available. I am unsure whether this will actually play on a computer. To understand the pointless organization of this insert, one has to attempt to understand that at the time of their recording, there was no particular plan as to how it might have been organized.

As I pre-defend my efforts, let me say that one must slog through crude and dull to get adequately discouraged (or blindly waste friends’ time who do not have the nerve to announce, “I’m not going to watch that shit.”).

A sidewalk café gave us a taste of food that the locals eat—the free meals offered as part of the Viking service were decidedly unvegetarian and few restaurants can bring their A game to a variety-free meal served at once to dozens of beer swilling layabouts. Instead, I had a simple, tasty salad with a side of croquettes made from chopped cauliflower and cheese. Having promised myself not to go on about food, let me briefly say that the ability of the Germans to fry almost anything mashable into perfectly shaped, delightfully browned delicacies is astonishing.

Passau was the hardest hit town in Bavaria by the floods this year. The founders foolishly decided that settling at the confluence of three rivers would assure them visitors and potable water. I suppose both are true, but the early visitors were often carrying swords and bad intent while the more recent impede sidewalk use and diminish the carefully honed beauty with questionable outerwear. I found a shop that had used its front window to show the mud and debris that had been piled up on the street directly outside. The recovery was incredible.

Here are a window photo of the aftermath followed by a picture of the same spot during our visit:

Passau 4
Note the restaurant arch in the lower left, which shows the water level.
Passau 5
Though the street was packed in mud and debris, everything was hosed clean.

In the late afternoon, having 45 minutes left to spend, we wandered back to St. Stephen’s where a mass of some sort was going on. We boldly went to the back of the church and shot some video, in the clip above. As part of the service, two organ pieces, both with voice accompaniment, one solo, one congregation, gave us a chance to hear the unmatched acoustics of these pipes in a Baroque setting. It’s a wow.

On the hottest day in Passau’s history, two idiots (a smartly dressed sex change and her elderly mother) delayed our leaving by 45 minutes, pissing off everyone on three stranded busses when admitting that they just took their time because there was “always a delay.” This faux pas will exact a serious drink penalty.


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