After our visit to the monasteries, we travelled to Passau on our bus. The ship had been wending its way along the Danube to a docking place just upstream of the town where we would meet it. Our guide was in no hurry, however, so we traveled through many villages, all with their churches and Maypoles and, presumably, their chestnut trees.

Passau Overview

The old town center as viewed from the bridge across the Danube. The following day's Road Scholar program would be a walking tour of this area. Eventually our ship would be docked here, but it wasn't there yet.

Veste Oberhaus

After a brief drive-by the cruise ship dock, we went up the bluff overlooking Passau to visit the Veste Oberhaus, a fortress that served the Prince-Bishop of Passau. It was originally built in the 13th century, but like everything else, has been extensively modified.

The fortress was attacked five times from the 13-15th century, twice by the citizens of Passau who wanted to become independent of the Prince-Bishop's domination. None of these attacks were successful, but later attacks by various forces were.


As we got off the bus and headed to the fortress, I spied this red squirrel foraging under the tree. He (or she) was too quick to sneak up on for a better picture.

Passau, Germany

This overview of Passau shows St. Stephen's Cathedral with the Inn River in the background. Passau is at the confluence of three rivers: the Inn, the Danube and the Ilz. At this location the Inn was said to be larger than the Danube. As you will see tomorrow, the Ilz is much smaller than either.

In ancient times the Danube was larger, but there is a sinkhole in the upper Danube that diverts much of its water to the Rhein! At some point, geologists believe, the entire upper Danube will be diverted.

After our brief visit to the fortress, we got back on the bus and traveled a good bit upriver to meet our ship at Vilshofen.

Solar array

The ship started downriver toward Passau shortly after our arrival. We would have to pass one major lock and there was a traffic jam there so progress was slow.

One of the sights along the river was this large solar array on a hillside pasture.

Rush hour on the river

We are getting in line for the lock. We'll be traveling along with the two ships in front of us.

Channel MarkersAs we were waiting our turn to load into the lock, my interest was captured by this array of channel markers. I know about red & green, but yellow? Google tells me that they are "special" markers that are used for a variety of things, but not to mark hazards.

Life vest warning

Another interesting sight was this admonition about using a life vest. The German doesn't really need translation, does it?


Our ship is creeping in alongside a freighter and a log barge. There isn't a whole lot of extra room.


For all lock transits the captain came out of the main bridge to operate the ship from this remote bridge. He could peer alongside the ship to make sure it was clearing the side of the lock. The controls governed the forward thrust as well as the bow and stern lateral thrusters. The ship could go forward, backward and sideways as well as pivot around its center.

The seamen on the land would moor the ship within the lock. The more modern locks had "floating" mooring hookups that could rise or fall with the water level. Older ones required more interaction to adjust the moorings as the water level changed.

Leaving the lock

The lock ran on a "first in first out" algorithm. When it was time to leave, the log barge cleared first, then the freighter and finally us.

The slow part of passing a lock was getting in. Once everyone was situated, the water level changed quite rapidly.

Passau by night

The view of the cruise dock and the fortress by night.

Our Munich excursion contingent arrived back rather late. They did get back in time for supper at least.

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