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Eurotrip 2012 – Day 5

July 23rd, 2012 2 comments

18-June-2012

This post is rather lengthy as there are stories here that just cannot be captured with pictures. So settle in with your beverage of choice, kick back, and I hope you enjoy.

We are breaking camp today and the price is 28€/day. The one night we stayed in the gasthof (2 double rooms) was 130€, quite a difference. Both the camp ground and the gasthof set prices per person, not by the number of rooms. The campground host computes the total dependent on the number of people the number of tents and the number of nights.

We are travelling on several autobahns today on our way to Passau which is about 3 hours away. For the sections that have speed limits, it is usually posted at 120km/hr, or about 75mph. I pretty much maintain this speed even in those sections without speed limits. Other drivers however took advantage of the no speed limit and were easily going 200km/hr. I felt like I was sitting still as these cars flew by. The tires on the Ford were rated for 240km/hr. Oh, any by the way, “Ausfahrt” means exit.

As we are driving through the country side, many barns and houses have solar cell panels covering the roofs and we see many windmills dotting the hills. This must really reduce their need to burn fossil fuels. We also noted that nearly all of the trains are electric as well so that greatly reduces pollution from the mass transit system. Germany seems to be very eco-conscious. They are also very religious about segregating and recycling plastic, metal, white glass, green glass, brown glass, and paper all in separate bins.

We reach Passau and find the central parking garage, which should be real close to the cafe Vicky had found in her research, Café & Lounge Diwan. Exiting the parking garage we find ourselves in the lobby of the cinemaplex. Outside the Cinemaplex, we attempt to ask for directions to the cafe. Two young ladies attempted to help but did not speak English. They proceeded to point down the street and stated “neun” (nine) plus some words which we did not quite understand.

We started walking down the street in the direction they pointed. We walked past the park, the Löwenbrauerei, the university, until we came to a place that we recognized on the map – two roads coming together in a sharp ‘V’. Hum, it has definitely been “neun” blocks and I don’t see any “Nibelungenplatz”.

We asked again to confirm our location, but the gentleman was not familiar with the restaurant that we were trying to find. We wind up walking back near our starting location and head off in a different direction. I think we are all beginning to have had enough of this search as we are getting tired, hot, thirsty, and hungry. Not a good combination.

The peninsula of Passau that we are on is formed by the joining of the Danube and the Inn rivers. Before we know it, we are at the banks of the Inn River with a view of the church. Diwan’s is supposed to have a great view overlooking the city. We are seeing it up close. We turn around once more and head back in the direction of the car and decide we’ll find some other place to eat. Next thing you know, we are back at the original location where we asked the two young ladies for directions.

Not once did we see the name of the street we were looking for “Nibelungenplatz”. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the street name on the corner of the building housing a bookstore, “Nibelungenplatz”. We walk into the bookstore hoping to find someone who spoke English and could direct us to the restaurant. Low and behold, the restaurant is in that very building – on the 9th floor!

We find our way up to the restaurant and find a table overlooking the city. In fact, from where we are sitting, looking almost straight down, we could see the very spot where we received our original directions for the two young ladies. If they could have just pointed up instead of down the street… sigh. A couple of waters with gas, they always ask ”with gas or still”, and lunches: 32.30€.

With our luck we are finding the places we visit do not take credit cards and we are burning through our cash fast. After a call to Visa and a nearby bank, we have cash in our pockets again.

While we were eating at Diwan’s, we spotted a fortress across the river and Vicky says, “Yes! That is where we are going next! That is the fortress “Veste Oberhaus”, built in the 1200s overlooking the city. Ok, across the bridge and up the river to the fortress we go!

That is easier said than done. I missed one turn on the round-about and next thing you know we are crossing another bridge and touring Passau – again. Somehow I got stuck in the middle of the intersection trying to get back across the river and I nearly instigated the first instance of grid-lock in the history of Passau. I think Chris may have heard a few explicative’s out of my mouth that he never heard me utter before. I was determined not to miss that turn this time.

We did make to the fortress and took a few pictures of the city from up there. A nice view and pleasant surrounding help to get my blood pressure back down. Now we’ll try to make it back to the campsite without incident. On the way back we stopped for gas again. Here are the vitals: 56.67L @ 1.4039€/L = 79.56€ (translation: 14.97gal @ $6.71/gal = $100.56). This time I have the mileage. Thus far we have traveled 1316km (817.7 miles) with two stops to the gas station consuming 101.3L (26.76gal). That gives us 12.99 km/L or 30.56 mpg, not too bad for a station wagon.

We finally make it the campsite. This campsite is on the grounds of the Tirolerhof gasthof so we have a place to go for drinks at the end of the day. The bizarre twist is that is also in the middle of a farm area and we see chickens and peacocks running around. We also hear the unmistakable sound of pigs squealing (and the notice the odor). I suppose the wiener schnitzel will be fresh here.