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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

A Danube River Cruise - Passau, Germany: April 14 & 15, 2018

Sometime last year Dan and I signed up for a Viking River Cruise down the Danube River from Passau, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary. It seemed like a good way to try out cruises but on a smaller scale. On our local public broadcast station, Viking River Cruises (#vikingrivercruises) advertises, constantly, their "small ships." In the ad, there is one river cruise boat slowly navigating the river. We were hooked.

Passau, a story-book beautiful city at the convergence of thee rivers (Danube, Ilz, and Inn), has a population of about 50,000 residents. Of that population, 25% are students attending the University of Passau. Passau is quite near the Austrian/German border and was/is the point of entry for many refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia as they travel overland through Europe to Germany. The city, which experiences severe flooding about every five years has had to divert funding from flood control programs to refugee resettlement programs. When we visited, the city felt serene and the only hint of any controversy related to refugees was in a small bit of graffiti.

Since the ship was in port here for 2 nights, Dan and I were able to do lots of exploring on both sides of the Danube.

Passau from the Inn River side

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Italian Baroque 1688), with the largest pipe organ in Europe, towers over the other buildings in Passau.

Passau was the only port that from our Viking room we had a view of anything. The
Bishop's Fortress (Veste Oberhaus), founded in 1219, sits on the crest of the hill above the Danube.

We walked up to the Bishop's Fortress to get a better view of the city and at least 3 Viking ships. The Danube is in the foreground with the Inn River in the background.

Decorative mural on the Danube side of Passau's Town Hall
Clock Tower at Town Hall

The Viking guide said that when most people were illiterate, buildings were painted colors that depicted their use. For instance, bakeries were painted pink and restaurants were painted yellow. The city has continued the tradition of buildings painted in soft pastels even though the color no longer denotes the building's use. Not sure what a color-blind illiterate person did during those centuries.

Lovely square in front of St Stephen's Cathedral

Despite the hills and cobblestone streets, Passau is a biking city. The bike path runs along the very flat Danube riverside all the way to Vienna.

The Virgin Mary is the patron saint of Passau
High on a hill above the River Inn, sits the Kloster Mariahilf. Mariahilf meaning "Mary Help" was a cry often used against invading Turks.

Mariahilf is a pilgrimage site. The covered corridor houses 321 steps each on which pilgrims who seek Mary's help kneel as they pray their way to the top where the chapel is located. 

The walls of the pilgrimage corridor are lined with images of Mary and other gifts from believers.

Heathens that we are, we trudged up the hill and slunk down the steps.

Next stop on the Danube is Linz, Austria.