Eight days of leisure coursing along on one of Europe’s great rivers. Each day began for me with a cafe au lait or cappuccino and a luxurious breakfast in the Viking Legend’s dining room with forested river views and the company of friends (there were 7 of us), and then that day’s shore excursion–following the guide through medieval villages threaded with cobblestone streets, through cities chock full of 18th and 19th century architectural beauties (nearly lost my mind among the striking medieval architecture crowning Budapest, Queen of the Danube, and rightfully so. Props to Vienna too, no princess come lately to the architectural ball.) Soaked up a multiplicity of historical details and information, and wore out my Canon, iPad, and iPhone cameras.
Passau, known as the City of Three Rivers, located in southeastern Bavaria, borders Austria, a stroll away across the bridge. Three rivers, the Danube, the Ilz, and the Inn flow through, coming together in a confluence of green and brown waters. Originally a Celtic settlement named “Boiodurum,” it became the diocese of Passau and a bishopric. Its fortune rose on the salt trade, known as White Gold, making it a rich city, giving its merchants a powerful monopoly until 1707 when all salt imports to Passau were forbidden and Passau, a shining star of the Holy Roman Empire, lost its luster.