Once more upon a Danube

Little known historical fact: Danube is pig Latin for damned u-shaped river! I either read that somewhere or I just made it up. But never mind that.

The point being that we’ve been meandering on the Danube for about three or four days now (time just being a construct after all) on a river boat (sorry, ship) that has a crown-shaped logo through which you can take pictures if you are the artistic type.

It is the Christmas season which means our boat (ship) is contractually obliged to stop at every Christmas market on the river. And you wouldn’t believe how many Christmas markets there are on this (pig Latin named) river.

You also wouldn’t believe how much snow and ice we’ve encountered.

I suppose I should acknowledge that this is a beautiful river. Who am I to dispute that? Romanticists have been waxing romantic about the Danube since time immemorial.

Not surprisingly there are lots of boats on this romantic river. Including (top) this surprisingly accurate example of an ancient Phoenician river rower and (bottom) the original vessel on which Disney’s Steamboat Willie was filmed.

I did mention it was a beautiful river. Right?

Just as I started to think (being a Floridian after all) that what this river really needed is a lot of waterfront condos I see this!

In a very narrow alley in Passau we stumbled (well, not literally) upon this yellow-red-green-blue-orange bricked road leading to a lot of art shops. I’m stunned that the local authorities (Germans being sticklers for order, rules and such) let these bohemians get away with it.

Very cool alley though.

I got very excited when I stumbled upon what I thought was a statue of the notorious libertine Don Juan in the town square at Passau. But it turned out that this DJ was only the illegitimate son of some Holy Roman emperor. Although I’m sure he could party down too.

A $250 Euro skull and a statue. Name two things you can find in Passau.

Riverside fortifications in case Germany ever tries to invade Austria again.

Left: A church that’s being repurposed as an erector set. Right: There is a castle high above the river where we were told that spectacular views are to be had. But we discovered that the stone steps leading up were coated in ice. Having fallen down several times while visiting Reykjavik on a previous winter expedition to Iceland, I had no desire to go plunging down 50 flights of stairs to my certain death. Not before seeing Vienna in any case.

Turns out it gets dark on the Danube. But we motor on relentlessly in our squat little boa..um…ship.

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