We had a walking tour of the old city, where we learned about the city's history and saw the markers on the buildings for the numerous floods caused by the three rivers. Some of the marks dated back to the early 16th century. In addition to horrible floods, old town Passau has seen the Romans, Charlemagne's troops, the crusaders, the Turks, and Napoleon's legions.
For 600 years, Passau was the largest sovereign bishopric, and the Bishops of Passau were very wealthy, powerful, and independent of the emperor.
Our walking tour was followed by the noon organ concert in St. Stephan's Cathedral. Passau's cathedral has Europe's largest church organ with 17,774 pipes and 233 registers. The sounds produced by this organ are certainly impressive, but I thought the organist's choice of music could have been more diverse. Each song seemed more somber than the one before! I kept waiting for something a little less funereal.
After lunch on the Viking Spirit, we walked back into the old town and explored the narrow pedestrian streets and quaint shops. Many river ships were docked along the banks of the Danube, and the town was filled with tourists. Since we were there in late October, it must really be busy in the high-season summer months.
The next stop was Regensburg.