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  • Day15

    100 Flights of Stairs!

    September 29, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    This morning we woke up docked in Passau, Germany. The beds are quite comfy and you don't even realize that you are on a boat. We had another full breakfast (it's going to be really hard to go back to just peanut butter and jam). Then a quick shower and we headed out for our morning tour.

    All of us chose to do the panoramic city tour of Passau. This was a bus tour that took us to two separate locations high up to get a great view of the city and river valley. The bus took us up to the first stop at the main castle of Passau, Veste Oberhaus. This was the main fortress of the city hundreds of years ago and is probably 200 to 300 ft above the main city and overlooks the river valley. Even though there was still a bit of morning fog, the view was incredible! You could see the three rivers that come through Passau and really appreciate the beauty of this small city. Our tour guide, Maurice, pointed out some of the main buildings in Passau as we had an opportunity to take some great pictures.

    Our other stop on the bus tour was across the valley at an old church that is up on the hill. Here we were able to see the view of the city from the other side of the river. We were also able to go in and see the church. Unique to this church was an enclosed staircase that went all the way up from the base of the hill to the top. The inside of the enclosure was filled with icons the entire way up. Maurice told us that pilgrims will climb this staircase one stair at a time and say a prayer on each step. We were able to go down a few steps at the top and get a good view.

    The bus dropped us off back at the boat right in time for lunch. Luckily they were serving German food, so I was able to get my fix of sausages and pretzels one last time before we leave Germany tomorrow! They even had obatzda (cheese spread) so Brooke was delighted. After lunch we started to split up and do different activities for the afternoon. Rae, Brett, and Mom had booked to do a 20 km bike ride through the river valley. Dad had gone to a pipe organ concert at the main church St. Stephen's and was going borrow a bike from the boat and explore Passau, followed by a massage at the spa. Brooke and I chose to head back over to the castle and climb up the stairs to get a good workout and see the view in the afternoon without fog.

    While we were walking over to the base of the stairs, I mentioned that we should try and get to 100 flights of stairs on Brooke's Fitbit. Previously at Neuschwanstein Castle we noticed at the end of the day that we climbed 98 flights of stairs. Fitbit gives you a medal at 100 flights of stairs, so we were so close and didn't realize it. Brooke wasn't too sure if we would be able to do it, but I said let's see where we are at when we get to the top. Starting at the base of the climb we had already logged 20 flights of stairs from earlier in the day. The climb took us through different parts of the castle. It is always amazing to think how old everything is in Europe and how nothing in Canada can compare. Parts were stairs and parts were very steep inclines. We reached the top probably in about 20 minutes and got to see the same view again, still great and actually better in the afternoon. Climbing all the way up, we were now at 50 flights of stairs, not bad! We thought by the time we go all the way down we'll just have to get another 20 flights or so. We can do this! About halfway down, Brooke realizes that it is not logging any of our activity as we go down the stairs, oh no! We made the incorrect assumption, but I guess it makes sense since it is much harder to go up than down right?

    We get about 3/4 of the way down where there was a fork in the road for a different way up and decided that we were going to go for the 100 flights achievement because we might not get another opportunity on this trip. We started out on the other path up which was more through the forest trees like a path back home in the mountains, but it was still incredibly steep at times. Now we're starting to tire out and our legs are really feeling the burn by now. Had to take a couple of breathers and water breaks on our way up, but we eventually made it, back to the same old view point. Now we were around 78 flights of stairs. On the way down we did a couple of bonus flights up and down to log some more. We got down to the very base and were at 88 flights, time to bring 'er home. We headed back up once more up the main stairs, very slowly now, eventually making it to 100 flights of stairs! Right at a beautiful view point of the city as well. We felt so victorious!

    After we got back down we walked into the main part of the town, heading towards the center church of Passau, St. Stephen's Cathedral. This church was one of the most gorgeous that we have seen so far on this trip. The statue work was fascinating all along the walls and the icons on the ceiling were beautiful. The feature of the church was the incredible pipe organ in the back. It was absolutely stunning to look at and made us a little jealous of Dad who went to the pipe organ concert earlier in the afternoon. It is probably one of the largest pipe organs in the world with around 17000 pipes.

    Afterwards, we walked down to the main road and over to a square where we had spotted a place to grab a victory beer. It was actually a Lowenbrau specific beer garden, which is one of the beers we enjoyed at Oktoberfest. Turns out that this brand of beer is actually brewed here in Passau so it was a great choice to enjoy out in the warm sunshine. Very well deserved! Once we were finished we walked back over to the boat to drop off a couple of things.

    Our next thought was to take out a couple of bikes from the boat and bike around the town and see some other spots. It was a simple process to get a couple of bikes and helmets and we were set up in no time. Brooke needed a moment to get her bike legs back (she's too used to spin class and a stationary bike); then we headed out down the main boardwalk. Once we got towards where we had to cross the road to get into the main part of the town, things got a lot harder. We had to be a lot more careful with the road traffic, encountered some cobble stone, and had to start and stop a lot to make sure we were together and if we were allowed to take bikes on certain roads. At one point Brooke took a little fall (she is fine) while trying to get off her bike to walk it up some cobblestone. Turns out the basket on the back of her bike tripped her as she was swinging her leg off of it, not used to something being back there. That dropped our confidence down and we meandered for only a little bit more. We did find some pedestrian only streets to go down though. We decided to call it an afternoon, head back to the boat, and turn the bikes in. We were not very successful with biking this afternoon, really hoping that we are much better tomorrow.

    Back on the boat we hit the showers and got ready for dinner. Had a bit of downtime to read and blog before dinner service started. We each enjoyed the fish which was a nice change from all the meat we've been having. I ended up ordering two desserts again, oops (but I did climb over 100 flights of stairs today).

    After we finished at dinner, we went up to the lounge for a drink and to enjoy listening to the entertainment who was a gentlemen playing guitar and singing popular songs. For the most part he was really hitting his target audience with lots of oldies. However I don't think he knew Last Saskatchewan Pirate. The groups on either side of us were very surprised that we knew nearly all of the words. One woman even came up to compliment us, asking us how we knew these songs (not hard with road trips in Saskatchewan listening to the music Mom and Dad liked, plus they are classics).

    Rae heard that some of the staff were going to go out that night into the town, since we were docked in Passau all night. We wanted to check it out so Brett, her, and I went off the boat around 11:30 (Brooke went to bed earlier, probably the smarter choice). The club was literally a one minute walk away and when we got in it was absolutely packed. Realizing that none of us actually wanted to be there we turned right around. Popped in the Irish pub for maybe a beer, then realized that we can get free beer on the boat, so we went right back to the ship. Very unsuccessful but we figured Mom would be happy. We had a night cap at the lounge and then went to the back side of the ship after getting tired of listening to this large man from Missouri talk about nonsense. Sitting in the back of the boat finishing our drink, Brett and Rae got the great idea to go for some late night McDonald's. I wasn't too keen on going but off we went on the 7 minute walk. Grabbed some double cheese burgers and junior chickens and called it a night close to 1:00 AM. Tomorrow we are all doing an early morning bike ride at 9:00 AM, just a short 26km. Hopefully we'll be rested enough!

    Tyler and Brooke
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