Thursday, May 02, 2013-Day 13
When we woke this morning the sky was grey and overcast. However, we still believe the sun will burn through by sometime later in the day. Passage through a series of locks in the night had kept Cynthia awake for periods of time. I didn’t feel or hear a thing. Being hard of hearing sometimes has its advantages.
We joined Don and Lynore for breakfast at 8 am and Don summarised this day nicely, as being a”soft” one. In half an hour, at 9.30, Vlad, our cruise director will give us a little talk on Germany. We then dock at Passau soon after and have a walking tour of parts of the town until close to noon This also includes an organ recital in St. Stephan’s cathedral. Then we get back to the ship for lunch and cruise some more to another smaller town called Vilshofen. Those who wish to stay longer in Passau can do so for a bus will take them on to Vilshofen where they can re-join the ship. Finally, around 6.30 pm, the ship sets off for the next major stop at Regensburg. Those are the plans.. more later on how things actually pan out.
It’s 2 pm now as I continue. Our walking tour was a success, only marred by Cynthia not being with us. She’d had a tough night with little sleep, so she decided to stay put to rest.
Passau is situated at the confluence of three rivers, the Inn, Ilz and the Danube. In the picture below the Inn comes from the left. The Danube is centred and the Ilz is the small one which comes from the right.
Our guide took us along the bank of the river Inn, up through a narrow alley and into the Cathedral square.
We arrived at the rear of St. Stephan’s and walked around the front to enter.
Entering this massive cathedral is a breathtaking experience. Not only is the cathedral in great shape, but there must have been a thousand plus people in there, all comfortably seated waiting for the commencement of the organ recital…and what an organ to be sure!
It is the largest cathedral organ in the world, and the second largest pipe organ in the world. It has 17 774 pipes, 233 stops, and four carillons. All five parts of the organ can be played from the main keyboard, one at a time or all together, offering the visitor an unforgettable acoustical delight. We were in front row seats with the organ as far to the rear of us as possible, yet, due to pipes located at the high altar area, we heard the sound in stereo. It was magical.
When the concert ended, we made our way downhill, back to the boat. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Italy, for this historic old centre has a definite air of Italy, with it’s jumble of winding, cobbled lanes, underpasses and archways leading off the main streets.
At 3.30 the ship moved on up the Danube to Vilshofen to pick up those who had extended time ashore, and then headed off to Regensburg.
Goodbye for now and God bless.