Reflections in Bavaria

Today, guests aboard Viking River Cruises' Viking Baldur had one last chance to enjoy the Christmas Markets of Europe. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Today, guests aboard Viking River Cruises’ Viking Baldur had one last chance to enjoy the Christmas Markets of Europe. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

December 6, 2014

They say all good things must come to an end, and today it’s the end of the line here onboard Viking River Cruises’ Viking Baldur. Earlier this morning, we arrived in Passau, Germany for one last day of river cruising splendour and exploration ashore.

Viking Baldur docked in Passau, Germany today. Note the two Explorer Suites with their expansive balconies shown here in this stern shot. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Viking Baldur docked in Passau, Germany today. Note the two Explorer Suites with their expansive balconies shown here in this stern shot. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Passau is one of my absolute favorite cities along the Danube. The end of the historic town is a quaint little public park. In the summer, people picnic here. In the fall, kids run through fallen leaves while others jog and walk around the cyclist and pedestrian pathways. In winter, the park is sleepy and quiet, filled with casual strolling folks bundled in warm winter coats.

This park is also the very tip of Passau, and it is where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers meet. It’s no wonder that Passau is also referred to as Dreiflüssestadt – the City of Three Rivers.

The streets of Passau have changed little over the intervening centuries.

The streets of Passau have changed little over the intervening centuries.

If you’ve been following along, you can probably guess how today went: Christmas Market, Gluhwein, shopping, more Christmas Market, more Gluhwein. During spring, summer and fall, there is much to see and do here in Passau, but in the winter – particularly on these early December sailings – I truly believe the focus should be solely on the Christmas Markets. After all, the museums and historic monuments aren’t going anywhere – but the Christmas Markets will disappear by Christmas Eve, not to return for another year. Get them all in while you can!

Christmas Markets are, of course, a huge draw here. Passau's market is small, but one of my favorites.

Christmas Markets are, of course, a huge draw here. Passau’s market is small, but one of my favorites.

Viking is offering guests one very interesting opportunity: the chance to hear the Organ Concert at Passau’s imposing (and beautiful) Dom. St. Stephan – or St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Done in an unusually bright and cheery Baroque style, the Cathedral has stood on this spot since 1688. One of its main highlights is the Cathedral’s organ, which is the largest in the world with 17,774 pipes and 233 registers. If that wasn’t enough, the Cathedral also has eight bells, including one 5300kg bell that was cast in 1733.

Food and spiked drinks of all kinds are available here. Definitely try the local "Passauerpunsch" - it's tremendous! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Food and spiked drinks of all kinds are available here. Definitely try the local “Passauerpunsch” – it’s tremendous! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

During the summer months, guests can take in an organ concert. Those arriving after October were traditionally out of luck. But, today is the first day I’ve ever experienced here in the winter months where the organ concert will go on, largely just for the guests of the Viking Baldur, which is – as far as I can tell – the only river cruise ship in town today. Does Viking have a hand in getting the Cathedral to open its doors in the winter months? I’m not sure. Either way, guests aboard Viking Baldur are in for a real treat today!

Some photos of our time here in Passau:

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The busy Christmas Market of Passau. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The busy Christmas Market of Passau. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Christmas market is located within sight of the imposing Dom St. Stephan. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Christmas market is located within sight of the imposing Dom St. Stephan. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Passau's shopping district. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Passau’s shopping district. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

But of course! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

But of course! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Some buildings in Passau are more festive than others... Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Some buildings in Passau are more festive than others… Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

One of my favorite things to do in Passau: loose yourself amongst the winding, narrow alleyways. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

One of my favorite things to do in Passau: loose yourself amongst the winding, narrow alleyways. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Viking River Cruises’ Viking Baldur has sadly come to a close, but stay tuned for full profiles of Viking Baldur and Viking Forseti! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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