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Making life a holiday with interesting vacation and adventure ideas.

Tales from here and there about this and that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

East Bavaria 

Continuing our tour along the danube (Donau), this post covers Regensburg to Passau where the Danube converges with the Inn and Ilz rivers. It is the last leg before the majestic river leaves Germany and heads into Austria. Passau is known as the 'Venice of the Danube' because it has many buildings in the style of medieval Italian Baroque and being situated at the confluence of three rivers, has extensive river frontage.

A bicycle ride from Regensburg along the Danube to Passau is a rewarding journey and is one of the country's favourite cycle paths. Visitors should take time to explore this region of Bavaria with its hospitable people and varied landscape. The further you go south, the hillier the landscape gets as you head towards the Alps but this contrasts with the Gäuboden, Bavaria's bread basket, which is flat for miles. The region is also characterised by the Bavarian Forest, which is the largest, continuous mountain forest in Central Europe. This is an unspoilt countryside with invigorating country air, cultural riches, a wide range of year-round sports and numerous leisure facilities. Traditions and customs are still cherished in this part of the world and there are plenty of festivals which allow the Bavarian's to indulge their love of good food, beer and wine.

The first stop on leaving Regensburg is the pretty Bavarian town of Straubing with its miles of pathways and cycle tracks, two golf courses, swimming pools, tennis and horseriding schools. There is also a water ski centre and an impressive floodlit, winter sports facility, with 14 ski elevators, a 75 m natural halfpipe and 180 km of cross-country skiing.

Further down river, Deggendorfer continues the wealth of tourist facilities with another delightful golf course and an open-air swimming pool. If you arrive without a bicycle, you can hire one to enjoy touring around the area.

A popular annual event in the Danube valley between Passau and Wesenufer is the rad-total-im-donautal, car-free Sunday, for cyclists and inline skaters along the river Danube. The event, which attracted around 2,500 cyclists last year, features circular routes for enthusiasts at all levels. There are short family routes of about 10km and long routes of about 80km. Next year's rad-total is scheduled for 7 June 2006.

Passau has a long history, with evidence of prehistoric settlements in the region. There was a great fire in 1662 and most of the wonderful architecture that characterises the city today dates from that time; this includes St. Stephan's cathedral which houses the world's biggest church organ.

Organ concerts are given each weekday, May - October (public holidays excepted) and on 23-Jun-2006 there will be the 6th Passau Organ Night. From dusk till dawn, six organists will play works including, in his 250th anniversary year, a tribute to Mozart. This is part of the European Music Festival Festspiele Europäische Wochen 16 June to 23 July,2006.
The theme of this summer's Festival is Mozart and it takes place at venues throughout Eastern Bavaria, Upper Austria and Bohemia, as well as in Passau.
Tel. +49 (0)851/560 960

There is much to see and do in Passau, with its many fine buildings, theatre, concert hall, museums and art galleries. The Passau Glass Museum boasts 30,000 examples of Bohemian glass. Numerous glass makers and refiners work along the so-called Crystal Road which runs between the European centre of lead crystal in Neustadt an der Waldnaab and Passau. Along this 250 km long trail, you can admire the work of internationally renowned artists and experience the production of exquisite drinking glasses, traditional Art Nouveau glass, sparkling chandeliers and unique glass sculpture.

Danube River near Linz, Austria by Konstantinos DafaliasSwelled by the waters of the Inn and the Ilz, Germany's Donau becomes a truly mature, working river and it carries regular traffic as far as the Black Sea.

One of the best ways to enjoy the magic of Passau is with a sightseeing tour by ship.

Three-river cruises operate in the Bavarian and Austrian Danube valley between March and November, offering dance and buffet cruises.

Cruise ships are also one of the preferred modes of travel on to Linz, the subject of our next post.

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