Passau, Drei Fluesse Stadt

Early Thursday morning our entire exchange group, Frau Kreplin, Herr Lehrer, Michelle and our special guest, Herr Rutz filed on to our coach to Passau. Three hours later, 250km travelled and with numb bums we emerged out of the fog and saw the splendid Donau (Danube) in regal sunshine.

Passau is now a university city of about 50,000 residents and houses about 8,000 students. Its beauty and popularity in part is due to it being the confluence of two mighty rivers, the Donau and the Inn as well as a tributary, the Ilz. What is more spectacular and unique is that the three water courses are distinctly different colours. The Donau is a blue, the Inn which originates from the Swiss Alps is a distinctive green blue due to the lime and the Ilz originates approximately 70km upstream in the Bavarian Forest and is a distinctive black due to filtering through peat. At one point all three rivers converge and it is fascinating to see the colours then blend as the waters then flow down towards the Black Sea.

The Donau originates in the Black Forest in Germany and then flows through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. River cruises understandably are very popular on the Danube and we took one which was terrific. We were blessed with splendid sunshine which lit up the Altstadt. We felt truly blessed and countless pics were snapped. We perused the brochures for cruises and a variety beckoned .

We stayed at Veste Oberhaus which was a castle fortress built in 1218 and for the most part was where the Bishop was housed. Napoleon at one point occuped it. It is a truly magnificent structure and is now part of the DJH (Deutsche Jugendherberge, part of the youth hostel network throughout Germany). For more information on its fascinating history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veste_Oberhaus

It was a great feeling to be able to open the windows in the hostel and have a magnificent view immediately below us to the Danube and the Altstadt. Amazing stuff.

We went walking around the old city yesterday and had Herr Rutz as our tour guide. He went to school in Passau as a teenager some years ago and he reminisced about the various parts of the city. It is a lovely city with many narrow streets and a mix of old and new. As we were crossing the main bridge into the Altstadt, I noted a couple of Australian voices immediately behind us. Being ever nosy, I ventured the question as to whether they were Aussies and it transpired that I was indeed correct. Not only that but they were the aunt and uncle of one of the Year 8 students at Bright.

Today we went to the Bavarian National Forest right next to the Czech Republic border. It was very picturesque and the Bavarian Government decreed that it would allow the forest to naturally regenerate and not allow any logging. It also endeavoured to preserve the wildlife that was once near extinct. Within very large, and natural, enclosures we could sight lynx, brown bears, wolves and wild boars. Well worth a visit.

We were really lucky with the weather both days, in other parts of Bayern it rained a fair bit, we only had the odd shower and that was tempered as it didn't really penetrate the canopy of firs, spruces and beech.

We arrived back in Bad Aibling just after 6pm and ventured back to our respective abodes much richer for experiencing another fascinating area of Bayern.

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