Monday, June 13, 2011

June 6th – Passau in Passing

There's no campsite at Passau, so we decided to do it on our way across the Austrian border to Linz. Somehow, we found a parking spot in the packed car park on the edge of town, and went in to explore the historic town centre.

Passau is often described as one of Germany's loveliest towns, and its setting really couldn't be much prettier – at the meeting point of three major rivers. The old town comes to a head where the brown waters of the mighty Danube (disappointingly not blue as you might expect), mingle with the green waters of the faster flowing River Inn – it's interesting to see how the different colour waters slowly mix as they flow side by side for a few hundred metres, before the more powerful Danube takes over and continues on its way to the Black Sea.

The town is indeed lovely – full of interesting historic buildings and narrow lanes to explore. With its 3-river-inspired strategic location, the town was a major historic crossroads of trade, which brought it plenty of wealth up until the 19th century. The biggest sign of that wealth is the huge Dom, or cathedral, which boasts that it has the largest church organ in the world, with almost 18,000 pipes.

After a nice wander, we returned to the van to find that we'd got a parking ticket for being too big for our space – the town council is clearly keeping up the tradition of taxing passing trade.