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Thursday, October 29, 2015

GAWA Day #43: Passau--The Venice of Germany

Passau is a Bavarian city with three rivers, the Inn and the Ilz intersecting the Danube here.  A Roman colony as ancient Passau, this is known as the Venice of Germany, not only because of the watery intrusions, but also the Italian architecture, for after a conflagration consumed the entire city in 1662, Italian architects were brought in to rebuild the area.

Both Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler lived part of their youth here.  During World War II, the town housed three infamous Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camps, Passau I, II and III.  The MG camps featured extermination by labor, and up to 300,000 could have died.  Interesting that Tauck chose not to mention any of this material in this paragraph.
Every few years the town suffers from very severe flooding--after all, there are three rivers crashing into each other here--where the river level can rise up by 50 feet.  Just in 2013 the damage to this city was $15 billion.   The only solution will be to move the 50,000 population away, for this will happen someday again.  However, the below is not why Passau is known as the Venice of Germany:


So why are we here?  Well, this is a neat town with St. Stevens Cathedral, which has the largest organ system in Europe. 


However, it is only the fourth largest in the world.  The top three are in the USA.  And, yes, my blue bar pigeon also made an appearance.  He also picked up a friend:



Passau is also a convenient stop for river tour ships.  I had my best Bavarian meal of my life on the ship:


To this suckling pig you can add a glass of white wine and a Bloody Mary, plus three pieces of franks provided by my dining mates, Melinda and Martin.  Perhaps this was also my first authentic Bavarian lunch.





Of course, the passing view was spectacular.  I've never before seen a flock of flying swans before:


This morning for breakfast I saw parent swans and their swan-lings floating by.

Well, today we tour Regensberg.  I'll also tomorrow recap this whole river experience thus far, with all the plusses and minuses (yes, the correct plural of minus is this).

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Yesterday we had no ocean storms.  Today, there is a budding cyclone that will attain Category 4 strength and head for Yemen:


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