We crossed the border between Austria and Germany and docked at one of our favorite towns along the Danube, picturesque Passau, which sits at the confluence of three rivers, the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube. This location is plagued by frequent major floods, the largest ever occurring in 2013, where flood levels reached over 20 feet in the lower parts of the town. You can rent an apartment in a 5-year flood zone for less than half the cost of a dryer location.

During our short visit, we attended a performance on the world’s third largest organ (17,000 pipes!) and shopped at another Christmas market, where we found the best eggnog ever.

Sleigh ride

That afternoon, we were bussed inland through scenic Bavarian forests to enjoy a sleigh ride. There wasn’t quite enough snow, so our “sleigh” had wheels, but at least it was pulled by a pair of hard-working and very large horses.

Kristallglasmanufaktur Theresienthal

Later that day, we were treated to an impressive glass-blowing demonstration. All of the glassware was so beautiful and delicate! We decided against trying to get any of it home intact. (They will ship.)

Bavarian dinner

Later, it was off to a fine restaurant called Ruppert’s. There we dined on duck and venison while a few of our fellow travelers were enlisted to model traditional Bavarian garb. We capped off our busiest day with baconated schnapps.

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