On a Viking River Cruise, the focus is very much off the ship and on to the iconic destinations visited along the river. On the included tour of the day in Passau, Germany we walked the cobblestone streets just as we had during the summer on a different sailing. But while the route was the same, the experience surely was seasonally different.
With a chill thrown into the air, light rain falling and the aroma of freshly-baked gingerbread rolling around the town center, the hot days of summer became a distant memory as a great localViking River Cruises guide told us of the city she loves so much.
While most of the area toured was under water after a flood of the likes of which that happens every few centuries, we would have never known it. Locals went about their business. Visitors window shopped, made getting into the holiday season a priority and visited Passau’s Christmas market.
Briefed by literature in our Viking Skadi stateroom, we found that “Christmas markets have livened up the winter season throughout Europe for centuries.” Our first experience with one of many markets we would see along the way from Passau to Budapest, this one was small by comparison to some others, we were told.
Also included in the tour, a demonstration all about Gingerbread (the aroma of it filled the air as we neared the bakery) and holiday wreath making.
At the market, the aroma of real 18″ German bratwursts (seriously, we know nothing of these things in America), kebabs, fresh roasted cinnamon almonds and more demanded our attention. Never mind a little mustard on the chin here; we are Vikings!