How could this be I had to ask? We did still have one more day in Germany after all. I’d thought Passau was in Austria but no…I find it’s actually in Germany but sitting right on the border between the two countries. It’s also only about 30klms away from the border of the Czech Republic.
So with yet one more day in Germany, we were soon off to explore lovely Picturesque Passau (Pop approx 50,000), which sits rather poetically on the confluence of three rivers – The Ilz, The Inn and The Danube.
It’s also sometimes referred to in German as the Drieflussestadt which translates to “the Town of 3 rivers” and at other times as “Barvaria’s Venice”.
We’d decided to catch a little sightseeing bus and travel up to the top of the hill behind Passau in order to take in it’s picture perfect views. Needless to say there were watery vistas everywhere below…..indeed such a pretty little place.
Our bus driver was talking to all of the other passengers on board in German; hence we couldn’t understand a word he was saying for most of the journey. Many on board actually seemed to be participating in a little Trivia Quiz and some were even winning little prizes for their correct responses.
Then all of a sudden, the bus driver turned to us and directed a question in English.
“Passau is famous for its three rivers,” he said. “Can you tell me the names of all three?”
Well thankfully I’d actually read the little news letter delivered to our stateroom the evening before just as I always did. And I think I must have read it far more carefully than Dearly Beloved (D.B.) for I quickly rattled off my response ….”The Ilz, The Inn and The Danube,” I replied with quite some pride in my newly acquired knowledge.
“Wonderful,” replied our rather friendly bus driver. “You have won yourself this little voucher for some cake and coffee at a little café in Passau. I will show you where to go when we get back down into the town.”Indeed, I was quite excited by all of this! I’d actually won something.
But as you are probably aware, the rivers of Passau have also caused its Town-folk much grief at various times throughout history. Sodden and waterlogged as it was yet again early in June this year (and just one short month after our own visit). Record high floods had again triggered a massive cleanup to remove all of the smelly mud and silt from the cities roads and buildings as the water receded. If you have time, you might like to click on the video links below and take a closer look at the havoc it caused.
Of the 50,000 inhabitants of Passau, 10,000 of them evidently include a revolving residency of students who attend the Passau universities. As such, this lovely little Town does have a rather youngish feel to it. There were love heart banners across its streets and young people out and about just enjoying the sunny day.
According to Wikipedia, Passau was first settled by some displaced Roman tribes way back in about the 2nd century A.D. Later, it was called home by the “Batavi” an old German tribe. By the 8th century it had become the largest dioceses of the Holy Roman Empire.
For us, today’s wonderful little sightseeing gems included the Alstadt (Old Town area) and the majestic, Gothic and Baroque St Stephen’s Cathedral, which was built in about the 17th century A.D. With its beautiful white interior and its Carpoforo Tencalla, Ceiling Frescos, St Stephen’s is truly a stand out piece of architecture. The cathedral houses eight bells and lays claim to the largest organ in the world outside of the United States of America. We were lucky enough to hear it play as we were treated to an organ concert at the end of the morning’s info-walk. Just wonderful…….and yes yet another interesting and enjoyable day. But this one really was our last in Germany!
- Passau – Passau, Germany (travelpod.com)
- Passau–But Certainly Not Passé’ – Passau, Germany (travelpod.com)
- Our Day In Passau, Germany (anthonypeoples.wordpress.com)
- THE Pipe Organ (gofarther.me)
- ‘Dramatic’ flooding in Passau (timesofmalta.com)
- German town sees worst flooding in 500 years as rains paralyze Europe, kill 8 (sott.net)
- German city copes with worst flood in 500 years (cbc.ca)
- 500-year flood southeast Germany… (hosted.ap.org)