So last month my friend Nadja asked me if I’d be interested in joining her for a day trip to Passau, Germany on the weekend and obviously I said yes.
We set off on our little road trip bright and early on Saturday morning along with another friend Jules. Nadja’s main reason for the trip was to get some shopping done because according to her shopping for certain items across the border is significantly cheaper when compared to Austria but I can’t attest to that so…don’t take my word for it. I personally try to shop local as much as I can. Anyway I was mostly just along for the ride and the opportunity to explore a place I’d never been to before.
We’d heard that security had been tightened at all the German border crossings that week because of the G7 Summit so we had our passports at the ready. Maybe they forgot about this particular border crossing or something because we breezed through rather anti-climactically without any signs of security.
Passau is a historic Bavarian city that straddles the border between Austria & Germany and is known as the “Dreiflüssestadt” or the “City of Three RIvers” because it is where the Donau (Danube), the Inn & Ilz rivers meet. Besides that, and the rather unfortunate fact that Hitler and his family lived there for a brief period (and now no one will EVER let them forget it), I didn’t know much else about the city.
The two women both had their DSLR cameras with them so the first stop was St. Stephan’s Cathedral to snap pics of the Baroque architecture and interior. I’ll be honest and say that I’m not a huge fan of exploring museums & churches and those places aren’t usually my first ports of call on my travels. Sure if there is something particularly special about a church or other historic building I will check it out, but otherwise I’d much rather be exploring the outdoors or the local food scene.
Since I’d decided to leave my camera at home on this trip, I chose to just wait outside the church, admiring from a distance and soaking up the sunshine.
Passau has lots of charming, cobblestone-lined alleys and while wandering around we came across some cool little shops that I just couldn’t resist.
‘Das Marmeladen Haus‘ won me over with the beautiful sample-laden table they had set-up on the sidewalk outside their store. (I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that free food samples are pretty much the best thing since sliced bread am I right?). Marmalade, jams, chutneys and preserves of every kind imagineable. We had fun chatting to the owner and tasting the latest seasonal concoction – white asparagus spread, or interesting combinations like sour cherry & walnut. In the end I decided on a jar of elderflower jelly, one of my favourite flavours.
We hadn’t gone more than a few steps further when I squealed with joy upon seeing a GUMMI BEAR STORE. More than 100 different varieties, we’re talking Cuba Libre, Chilli, Pina Colada, Green Tea…you name it, ‘Bears & Friends‘ have probably got it. I settled on a packet of strawberry & rhubarb flavoured gummies.
My last purchase of the day was some marzipan scented soap for my sister from a shop I like to think of as Passau’s very own, local version of LUSH. Except only for soap products I suppose. Basically as soon as you walk in you have to stop yourself from licking things because it all smells so damn good but sadly isn’t edible.
Of course no visit to Passau would be complete without a visit to the ‘Dreiflüsseeck‘ (literally translated, the ‘Three Rivers Corner’) which is the point on the tip of the peninsula where the three rivers merge. Obligatory selfies, oohs and ahhs aside, at this point both Jules and I were pretty hangry because we hadn’t had breakfast that day, and I’m not a very fun person to be around when I’m hangry.
We stopped at the first restaurant we came across but Nadja insisted we eat somewhere else because it was a Greek restaurant and we couldn’t possibly eat GREEK food when in Germany! When in Rome and all that jazz…Thankfully we soon found a German restaurant so crisis averted.
Somehow the conversation over lunch turned to horoscopes (as conversations tend to do) and it was only then that we realised that all three of us were Pisces and how fitting that three fish should be visiting the City of Three Rivers together!
Cold beers and hearty meals of schnitzel and roast pork did the trick and we felt ready to conquer the afternoon’s activities. After some ice-cream of course. 😉
We made our way up to Veste Oberhaus which is an old fortress situated on a hill overlooking the city and used to serve as the stronghold of the Bishop of Passau. Nowadays it is home to a museum, a youth hostel, a restaurant, a cafe, and even an open air theatre. I guess someone told them to branch out and they were like, “DO ALL THE THINGS!” 😀
From the top we could take in the best views of the city and the point where the rivers meet to create a murky kind of tricoloured water-painting. Then we sat a while in the shade of the courtyard listening an older female busker, dressed like a hippie, singing a cover of “One Of Us” and I couldn’t help but sing along and chuckle to myself.
Cheers for a lovely day trip Passau!