Today’s post will be a real treat, as I’m featuring two very different cities in two very different countries during my two-week vacation in April!
You might be asking: why I am putting two otherwise dissimilar places into one post? Main reason is that they follow the order that I traveled: Passau first, Český Krumlov second. And in terms of staggering my vacation posts over this week, this was the best option. So expect this post, as well as other ones, to be a bit haphazardly organized!
In any case, let’s continue!
After a lovely, three-night stay in Munich, my parents and I checked out of our hotel and boarded the train over to Passau, a small German town located about two hours east of Munich. If my trips to Amsterdam and Munich weren’t enough, the next leg of my vacation was boarding a river cruise with my parents! We were to sail from Passau and spend the second week touring cities along the Danube.
That said, we arrived in Passau around 12h30, and boarded our ship. We were shown to our staterooms (I had a cabin while my parents had a room with a balcony; there simply wasn’t enough room for the three of us together, but I didn’t mind– I liked the privacy), and then we got some light lunch at the buffet. Our ship was to be docked in Passau overnight, and so we decided to take a mini-tour through town in the afternoon with a small tour. Saw the town center, with many souvenir shops and cute little cafés, as well as a handful of churches (as 80 percent of the townsfolk is Roman-Catholic). Didn’t spend more than two hours in town, as we left around 17h00 to return to the ship, freshen up, attend a welcome orientation with the crew and other passengers on board, and have dinner. Dinner was lovely, with a three-course meal, artfully prepared, and pretty tasty, too. What greatly surprised me was how…liberal the waiters served us alcohol. Now, I love me some wine, but as soon as I finished a glass of wine, the server came and poured some more! Even crazy was that it was complementary- then again, one paid a lot for this cruise (my parents paid for everything- super generous of them- and they said that it was super pricey. I’m not surprised!). After dinner, I returned to my stateroom and turned in for the night.
We were still in Passau the next day, and we had a mini tour that morning in the town center again. Our tour guide was actually American, who has lived in Germany for a long time, married to a German and everything. She was a real hoot, as she kept cracking really bad jokes and making the other tourists howl with laughter (mind you, many of them were over the age of sixty- apparently, it doesn’t take much to make them holler). 😛 But I also learned a bit about Passau itself, as it’s a town situated on a peninsula, at the intersection of three rivers (Danube, Ilz, and Inn), as well as very close to the border of Austria. The tour guide also talked about the many, super high floods over the past century, including the second highest which had occurred just in 2013. We took a stroll around town, and saw the highlight of the city, which was the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, home to the largest organ in Europe. By 11h00, we were finished with the tour, and chose to head back to the ship for lunch. Before going, I got some really nice photos of the town. Seriously, it’s an underrated German town- it surprised me by being more interesting than I had thought!
Spent the afternoon chilling out on the ship. For this post and the rest of them that follow, I won’t go into too much depth of my time on board, as I would like for my posts to focus more on the destinations that I’ve visited, rather than the leisure aspect of it. What can I say? I prefer adventure. 😉
I will say, however, the staff and passengers on board were super friendly and nice people, and surprisingly so. The service that I had received on the ship was nothing like previous cruises that I had been on when I was younger- perhaps it was more of a luxury cruise liner and had fewer passengers (no more than 150) that service was highly regarded. I really don’t know. But I took it into good stride, even though I was taken back by how wonderful it all was. Median age of the passengers was easily seventy, and I was the only person under the age of thirty on the ship- I’m not kidding. 😛
The cruise ship departed in the evening, and we were in Linz, Austria the following morning. While there were excursions to explore the city, there was also an optional tour to take a day trip to Český Krumlov, in the Czech Republic. Linz might have been a nice place to visit, but the Czech Republic sounded more interesting and unfortunately, we could only choose one place to visit that day. In the end, my parents and I chose Český Krumlov.
We departed around 8h30, taking a bus towards and over the border between Austria and the Czech Republic. Arrived in Český Krumlov around 10h00, and began our tour of its famous 13th-century castle. A blend of Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance architecture, the Český Krumlov castle was not bad to look at! Afterwards, we took a tour around town, soon breaking for free time. We were given a few hours to get lunch and explore on our own, before we were to return to Linz and to our cruise ship.
My parents and I got lunch in a Czech pub that the tour guide had recommended for us. I decided to try rabbit and kulajda, a traditional soup made from mushrooms and dill. Also ordered mulled wine again. The rabbit was not bad, but I didn’t taste much but a very subtle difference from chicken- came with a lot of mashed potatoes, though. The soup was pretty good: it was well-seasoned and filling; I usually don’t prefer eating soup, but since it was a Czech specialty, I might as well have tried it! And it turned out to be rather nice. 🙂
We wandered around town for the rest of the afternoon- as the Český Krumlov is not very big, we were able to get around very easily. Visited the town square, as well as checked out some more viewpoints of the town from the top of its hill. I climbed up the Castle Tower to get a look, although it looked about the same from another vantage point that I had visited just beforehand. Still gorgeous, though!
Our tour group reconvened at 15h00 in the town square, and we took the two-hour bus ride back to Linz, arriving back around 17h00-17h30. While Český Krumlov was a tiny town to visit for the day, I was glad to be back in the Czech Republic the second time around, as I had visited Prague back in October and enjoyed it. Nice to see other pretty places in the country!
All right, that’s it for now! More of my April adventures to come- stay tuned!
— The Finicky Cynic
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