Cobblestone streets and graceful arcades welcomed us in the beautiful city of Passau, but we had opted for the tour to Salzburg in Austria. Others took the optional trip to Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic while the rest took the walking tour of Passau and checked out the old town’s narrow alleys and saw the hilltop Oberhaus Fortress from the town below.
They visited St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a wonderful example of Baroque architecture and home to Europe’s largest church organ with more than 17,000 pipes. Passau is the last stop in Germany.
After lunch, the others enjoyed an afternoon cruising along the Danube River to Linz.
8:00 – We took the optional day tour to Salzburg, the home of The Sound of Music and the birth place of Mozart. It takes two hours to get there by bus from Passau and two hours to the ship, which moves on to Linz.
9:30 – Comfort stop at Brewery Shnaitl at Gundertshausen. We paid for our own coffees.
11:15 – 15-minute stop at Schloss Hellbrunn. We did not get close to the castle, but in its grounds lies a rotunda from Sound of Music. All the tour groups got their groups to sing, “I am Sixteen”. We had technical difficulties, as our guide’s MP3 player didn’t work.
11:45 – Walk through the Mirabell Gardens and the old city.
13:00 – Light lunch at the oldest restaurant in Europe, Stiftskeller St Peter. It has been in operation since 803 AD or earlier!
14:00 – Two hours free time for us to wander around. We visited the catacombs, the crypts featured in Sound of Music when they are fleeing to Switzerland and took the funicular railway to Hohensalzburg Castle. We had a great view of Salzburg from the top and accidentally managed to walk down the hill instead of taking the funicular railway. The gravel path was still wet and slippery but it was painful for aging knees.
15:30 – We assembled at Mozartplatz and walked 20 minutes to the bus back to Linz.
(The other paid option was a trip to Cesky Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage site which has been preserved as an example of medieval life. Two busloads went there and reported an equally interesting day there.)
18:45 – Port Talk had good news – thanks to the heavy rain, the ship will sail all the way to Budapest!
00:45 – The ship left 4 hours late because we had made good time and this allowed some people to sleep in.
Day by day
- Days -1 to -3 – Paris Extension
- Day 1 & 2 – Amsterdam
- Day 3 – Cologne
- Day 4 – Rhine Gorge – Rudesheim
- Day 5 – Miltenberg – Wertheim
- Day 6 – Wurzburg – Rothenburg
- Day 7 – Bamberg
- Day 8 – Nuremberg
- Day 9 – Kelheim – Regensburg
- Day 10 – Passau – Salzburg – Linz
- Day 11 – Melk – Durnstein
- Day 12 – Vienna
- Day 13 – Bratislava
- Day 14 – Budapest
- Day 15 – Disembarkation