Passau

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Our visit to this lovely city, at the confluence of three rivers (Danube, Inn, Ilz) was capped with a concert in its 17th Century St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

The diocese of Passau was founded in 739 by an Celtic monk and it remained the largest of the Holy Roman Empire for many years. “White gold” (salt) was the economic foundation of the town – it was transported from the Alps to Passau for processing – until they lost their monopoly in 1707. Most of the original buildings were destroyed by fire in the 17th century and were rebuilt in Baroque style.

While waiting for the concert we followed friends from Britain through the narrow streets to find the recommended place for strudel and a coffee. With Canadian Thanksgiving plans in the works, we were surprised to see that they had a special “Thanksgiving Strudel”!

With 17,974 pipes, the beautiful baroque St. Stephan’s Cathedral boasts the world’s largest pipe organ. The pipes are spread throughout 5 areas of the church – three sets at the back, one set at the front behind the altar, and the other set in the extremely high ceiling – stereo at its best. The first bars of Bach’s Toccata, Air & Fugue in D minor gave me goosebumps – it was such a magnificent sound. It’s not surprising that Liszt was inspired to write his Hungarian Coronation Mass here!

Since our boat was held up by a boat literally stuck in a lick, we were offered lunch in town by Viking. Planning an afternoon excursion with Donna and Norm, we sat with them and had some photos taken (including our menu and the history of the 600 year-old restaurant).

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