“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Budapest” (Day 9)

April 26

~  Passau

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[As Facebooked at the time:  Fellow citizens of the planet Earth: Just wanted to let you know that despite the weather horror stories you may have claimed to have heard about our trip, my head is peeling like an over ripe onion from those sunny days in Budapest. Yesterday we had one of those incidents that make travelling such an adventure. As we approached the last lock before Passau we learned that the lock workers had gone on strike. So, we pulled off to the side of the river and bused folks into town. I somehow had the feeling that the strike would be quickly resolved and that the boat we make it to Passau to pick us up later that day – and that’s what happened. But, it could happen again – this is Europe and it creates excitement. Anyway, in two days we have to be bused 5 hours around locks that are out for maintenance and get on another boat for the rest of the trip. Stay tuned . . . ]

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[So, we got off here, Engelhartszell, the last stop in Austria, to be bused into Passau, the first stop in Germany.]

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[General milling around on the boat as elderly people tried to comprehend what was happening.]

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[So, the sights and sounds of the bus ride to Passau.]

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[St. Stephan’s Cathedral, at the highest point of Old Town Passau, where we would be visiting shortly.]

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[Please disembark the bus and be prepared to be wet and chilly!]

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[That must be a high water mark on the building – I don’t really remember.]

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[Dining then with aqualung?]

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[Again, as Facebooked:  Yep, another windy, chilly, on-and-off rainy day yesterday as we soldiered on for a walking tour of Passau. But we like it this way – even our Austin, TX, contingent say they prefer this to hot, humid weather for touring.  Where I zeroed in on the square (where we caught the shuttle to the top), you can see Passau’s famous glass museum (the yellow trimmed building on the right) – the girls went in, the boys didn’t. Then back to the boat for dinner as I caught us just rising from a lock back into daylight.]

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[This is the Glass Museum, which will be featured later.]

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[Veste Oberhaus, which also will be featured later.]

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[Our “hang around in” square.]

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[High water flood marks.]

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[John and Helen appear to be humming “Shelter From the Storm.”]

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[The Executioner’s House (doesn’t every town have one?), a national treasure, built c. 1200.]

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[“Just singin’ in the rain . . . ” past the flood high water marks and the head chopper-offer guy. Maybe more snow flurries today but maybe 59 in Bamberg in 2 days!]

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[And we have arrived at the Inn!  And there appears to be room in it.]

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[ISO, a string quartet?]

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[Dr. Kiehne under a sign of unknown meaning?]

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[Oh, maybe take your child to a grill for lunch today?]

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[10:42, too early for lunch – but check the menus along the way.]

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[Aha, whom amongst us doesn’t appreciate an Old World city square?  We appear to be trending toward St. Stephan’s Cathedral.]

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[The statue in the wall was something (doesn’t jump out at me with a quick Google search).]

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[Wittelsbach Fountain]

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[Still storming the neighborhoods.]

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[Rapidly nearing the Cathedral . . . ]

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[And we’re in!  It contains the largest cathedral organ in the world (there are three larger organs in the world, all in the place that is No.1 in everything (according to our tongue-in-cheek guide) – yup, the good ole U. S.of A. Dr. Kiehne was not aware that one of them is at West Point.]

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[Is that Kim Kardashian up there?]

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[Tom and the Super are catching on.]

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[John and Helen in the VIP pews?]

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[The organ . . . or that which could fit in a photo.]

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[I remain astonished at the time, labor, and treasuries that went into constructing these places.]

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[Back outside . . . must be lunchtime by now?]

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[And left to our own devices (actually, just walking around looking) here’s where we ended up with Helen and John.  I believe this is when Pam and Tom went on a hike to Sanctuary Mariahilf (photo upcoming).]

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[A lovely little sidewalk cafe . . . with a big mirror for group selfies!]

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[The Super checking on the goodies display.]

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[Mmmmmmmm, ‘mater soup!]

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[We had a lovely young hostess who spoke perfect English after spending time in the States . . . or was it Brazil?]

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[Streets belong to pedestrians and distressed trees.]

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[Funky Buddha . . . are we in San Francisco?]

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[Leaving the St. Stephan’s area and taking a hike around the  . . .  confluence of the Danube and Inn Rivers – we walked through the pedestrian old town area then along the river bank of the Inn to the point and then back along the Danube before taking the shuttle up to the fortress Veste Oberhaus for the panoramic photos.]

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[And this is the aforementioned Sanctuary Mariahilf (and the following photo).]

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[The Inn River walk.]

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[Helen endearing herself to a duck family.]

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[We’ve rounded the corner to the Danube . . . ]

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[And there’s Veste Oberhaus fortress, dating to 1219.]

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[Translating the German plaque, something to the effect that she was a champion javelin tosser in the Casablanca Olympics . . . ]

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Veste Oberhaus

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[We’re inside the fortress courtyard, trying to figure out where we were in relation to everything else?]

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[Aha, we were mainly looking for the city overlook.]

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[We’re on the Danube side, that’s the Inn flowing into it on the other side.]

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[Sanctuary Mariahilf]

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[Sanctuary Mariahilf in the background, then the Inn, then the city (with our “hang around in” square on the left riverfront and the Glass Museum just to the right of it, and St. Stephan’s on the far right), then the Danube filled with river cruise boats.]

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[There’s our square, from whence we got a shuttle (in the photo) up to the fortress, and then back down again.]

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The Glass Museum

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[The Super and Helen took this tour.  John and I went to a coffee cafe or something.  These are all the Super’s photos.]

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Back on ship . . .

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[As previously noted, our boat did catch up with us again in Passau.  In my excitement over that reunion, I took two crappy photos of the evening’s menu?]

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[Fine dining in a lock!]

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[Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!   Because Tom and I did invent “the circle” in high school, we get a cut of the action from the sale of these circular napkin holders.]

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[Ho-hum, another busy day leads to the inevitable wining and dining.]

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A tourist is a fellow who drives thousands of miles so he can be photographed standing in front of his car.  ~  Emile Ganest

Up Next:  Well, we’ve finished the Lower Danube.

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