When we awoke the next morning we were still in Germany – but now we were in a small town called Passau. We were due in the lounge at 8:45 am for some info on the excursions for the day, and since I was still not adjusted to the time difference I was up in plenty of time to grab some breakfast first.
The only “real” option for breakfast each morning was in the dining room during certain hours. At this breakfast, they had a more buffet-style table, and you could grab things like fruit, yogurt, toast, and pastries. Then a server would take orders for other items such as omelets, waffles, and those sorts of things, plus beverages. The ship did have an “early risers” breakfast in the mornings with just the pastries available, but it was usually very early (around 5-6 am).
We tried several different items during our sailing, but overall I was mostly fine with the basket of rolls, a fruit cup, and perhaps something else small. I’m not a big breakfast eater in general.
Once we had some food (mostly delicious bread!) in our bellies we headed to the lounge where we heard about how the tours would work that day. We were broken into two groups and led off the ship to meet with a local tour guide in historical costume. The rooms had audio devices in them that we took on most excursions – these had earpieces so we could easily hear our tour guide.
Walking tour of Passau
I knew nothing about the history of Passau (I honestly hadn’t even heard of it until this trip), but our guide was wonderful and engaging. He told us lots of interesting information and history and used some interactive elements to get us involved. Passau is probably best known for being the “city of three rivers,” because it’s the spot where the Danube, Inn, and Ilz all meet.
We first learned a lot about the politics of Passau – that it was run by “Prince Bishops,” that they were a pretty major manufacturer of swords and weapons, and how they also made money by taxing anyone passing through Passau who was trying to take advantage of the salt trade in Salzburg.
After seeing city hall and some other significant buildings, we followed some very colorful bricks to another section of the city. This, it turns out, was the way to the art district. The bright colors are meant to entice people to find where the artists sell their wares. It’s definitely striking!
Another highlight of the tour was that the colored bricks led us to something else exciting – a cat. This cat loved attention, it seems, and he got plenty of it from us!
Passau has had some bad luck in the past too. Being so close to the rivers it is prone to flooding, and many of the buildings have markings to show where the flood waters have risen. Some of these floods were not too long ago either.
They also suffered severely during the plague. Now having personal experience with a pandemic, it was interesting to learn how people handled disease back then. In some ways, it feels like we now know better when it comes to treating illness, but there are still a lot of similarities in terms of our misunderstandings, fears, and attempts to cure it.
Our last major stop on the walking tour was St. Stephen’s Cathedral. This is a very common name for cathedrals in this area of Europe (the more famous one being in Vienna). However, St. Stephen’s in Passau does have one major claim to fame – it has the largest catholic pipe organ in Europe, and the second largest in the world (I believe he said it has 17,775 pipes!).
Before leaving Passau, we all met together to do a marzipan-making activity! You can sculpt marzipan into all sorts of interesting things, and we were led step to step through the process to make our very own marzipan pig.
The pig is a common marzipan shape in Germany and is a symbol of good luck. We were able to customize it by adding a clover, penny, or other small elements. Then we could eat it or take it back with us. This was a fun little activity we got to do!
Lunch in Passau
For lunch, we had time on our own, or we could eat back on the ship. Jason and I decided to find a place in Passau to try something there while we had the time, and ended up at a little cafe.
Unfortunately, this was not the best experience we had during the trip.
While the food was decent enough, the service was really slow. And then although the menu said they took credit cards, their machine wasn’t working and we still needed to get more euros, so that was an awkward moment.
Ultimately it wasn’t anything special and we probably would have been better off not paying for it and just having lunch on the ship.
Tree Path Kopfing
In the afternoon we had two choices of activities – the first was the Tree Path Kopfing, and the other was a visit to the Aldersbacher Brewery. We chose the Tree Path, and we weren’t the only ones… out of the over 60 people on our trip, only one person went to the brewery!
If you’re wondering what this is, it’s definitely a bit off the beaten path and not something you might typically visit if you’re stopping in this area of Europe. But Adventures by Disney found out about it, thought it was a cool place, and started taking their groups there as something unique. I’m glad they did because it was a lot of fun!
The Tree Path Kopfing is described as a walking path among the treetops, but it’s a lot more than that. You could opt to climb rope bridges and do small “obstacle course” type activities.
There were a lot of fun photo ops set up – not to mention the stunning views from up high!
It had been almost an hour’s ride to Kopfing, so by the time we got back on the bus and returned to the ship it was close to dinner.
We changed and headed down to dinner, where we had another delicious meal. I thought the highlight this evening was the chicken dish I had, which was served with risotto and a port wine jus.
By the time we were done with dinner, Jason and I were completely exhausted. We didn’t make it to the lounge for the guitar player and instead went straight to bed. It had been a packed day!
Next up for day 3: Salzburg, Austria, where we would visit the salt mines and tour the city where The Sound of Music was filmed!