Danube

Day 14: Passau, Germany

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Today we actually disembarked from the Viking Baldur and now at the hotel in Budapest, which made for the easiest time to update the end of the blog for the river cruise. Meant to do this sooner but the last few days have been a bit busy at times or poor Internet connection. Four days ago we were in the river cruise port of Passau, Germany. This was actually our last German port of the river cruise before heading to Austria.

In Passau, the Viking Baldur was docked right in town near the main little shopping area. Passau is known as the City of Three Rivers, where both the Inn and the Ilz join the Danube. We were actually docked next to an AMA boat at one point during the morning and later on we were next to an Avalon boat. Today there was a walking tour offered by Viking, though we decided to skip this. The tour basically just walked around the city and saw the main sites from the outside. At noon there was a free organ concert as St. Stephan’s Cathedral through Viking. To go you had to sign up for tickets the night before and since we did not know our timing for the next day, we did pass on the concert.

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Passau is very easy to walk around on your own to see the sites. We headed off the riverboat right after breakfast and walked past the Church and stopped inside for a bit. We luckily avoided running into any tour groups during the day. St. Stephan’s Cathedral actually contains the largest pipe organ in all of Europe. From here we headed towards the location of the town hall of Passau, which is from the 14th century.

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After walking around for a bit we did a little shopping in Passau since there are a few unique shops here besides the couple junky tourist shops by the river. One thing to note in Passau is many of the shops did not take credit cards at all. This actually was our first place coming across this the entire cruise, so definitely have cash on hand if you plan on doing any shopping in Passau.

One of the first places we stopped at was a spice store called Gewurz Depot. The store actually was recommend by Viking but was interesting to walk through. There were a lot of unique spices, which I can’t find in Miami. I did buy a bruschetta and African spice mixes. These probably weren’t the typical things to buy in Germany but something I will use at home. Next we headed to the other recommended shop right next door, which was a marmalade and jam shop. Here there were a few samples to try of some locally made and imported jams and marmalades. I did end up buying a kirsch amaretto jam to take home that was absolutely delicious.

After looking at a couple shops we headed back to the boat to drop off our purchases but on the way stopped for lunch at a nearby restaurant since the riverboat was redocking after the AMA ship left. We lucked out on our timing at the restaurant since it wasn’t busy and it started to rain. We were able to eat outside since some of the restaurant had a covered glass patio. I ordered their hefeweizen, which I believe was made on site while my Mom had a glass of Gruner Veltliner wine. We both ordered the same meal of the wiener rostbraten, which is basically a Vienna steak with braised onions. The meal came with a salad and pommes frites. The lunch was good but I will say the meal was rich due to the sauce and was a bit salty.

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Once we dropped off our purchases we did head out again to walk around. We found a couple wine shops near one of the bridges and bought two bottles of Gruner Veltliner (currently one of our favorite white wines right now). This style of wine is primarily from Austria, but is actually starting to come out of the Unite States as well right now. To me it is a drier white that can sometimes have flavors of apple to grapefruit, depending on the vineyard.

After buying a couple bottles of wine I found a really unique liquor store where you could get bottles filled of liquors and spirits from around the globe. Of course being the typical pattern of the trip, I did end of buying a small bottle of cherry flavored vodka to take home. This actually was relatively inexpensive for about €7. From here we headed back to the riverboat and called it a day.

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Day 13: Regensburg, Germany

Sailing on the Danube

Sailing on the Danube

Yesterday we were in Regensburg and had planned on skipping the tour and walking around the city. Well best plans did not happen due to a delay in transiting locks. The Viking Baldur was not able to make it to Regensburg in the morning since there was a delay in transiting a few locks due to a high amount of traffic on the Main River.

Since there was a delay, Viking arranged for busses to meet up where the Viking Baldur would temporarily dock to allow for tours to go ahead to Regensburg. Well we really did not feel like taking another bus ride so we decided to stay on the boat, which actually turned out to be the best option. First off yesterday was a national holiday in Germany, secondly the transit of the Main and Danube was gorgeous, and third it absolutely poured in the late evening and everyone was then soaked who went on the tour!

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One of the low bridges!

One of the low bridges!

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It was nice to have the Viking Baldur to basically ourselves for the day. At one point in the afternoon we decided to have a couple glasses of wine and sit out on the open deck during the transit. This was a nice relaxing way to spend the afternoon away from people. Even though we really didn’t see Regensburg we really needed a break from touring.

We are really enjoying Gruner Veltliner. It is a fantastic white wine.

We are really enjoying Gruner Veltliner. It is a fantastic white wine.

About 5 hours, the Viking Baldur arrived in Regensburg. Now this was rather interesting since it started to pour and everyone who went on tour had to walk back to the boat. Since it was pouring everyone was soaked from head to toe. Now it did become entertaining to watch people trying to get on the boat since there were a lot of men trying to cut the line and get on the boat before others. This was rather comical way to spend the evening. Also the piano player made it more entertaining by playing Stormy Weather, Singing in the Rain, and Rain Drops Keep Falling on my Head.

Heading into Regensburg before the rain started

Heading into Regensburg before the rain started

Even though we missed Regensburg, it was nice spending time on the riverboat and having time to relax.

So one additional thing I wanted to note was about the television in the cabin. On the television you can access both the bow cam and lounge cam. The lounge cam is interesting since any talks in the lounge are then transmitted live into the cabin. Also it is more interesting since the camera is always on and people on this boat seem to forget it is live. Well this is a good way to people watch, especially sometimes in the evening. Last night was probably one of the most entertaining evenings on the cruise since it felt like an episode of the Love Boat, though I don’t recall a 30-year age difference on the Love Boat. Definitely some handsy moments and smooching were caught on the cam last night!