Anna, Max and Tim love criss-crossing Bavaria by train. They also love collecting small mementos, trinkets and keepsakes that will remind them of their excursions. On the way home from each trip, they always perform the same ritual: talking about the day they've just had. As part of this, each of them shows their personal mementos from the town they visited. This time, it was Passau's turn.
Passau has always been international in nature. Located right on the border with Austria and built on the banks of the Danube, central Europe's most important waterway, the eastern Bavarian town has always been a centre of trade and a place where cultures meet, even when the Celts lived here long ago. Today, "Bavaria's Venice" can look back on over 2,000 years of history, and the city's many different sides are all reflected in the items bought by the friends:
1. Jewellery from the shop on board the Swarovski Crystal Ship
No less than three rivers meet in Passau. Coming from different directions and carrying water of different colours, they are the dark Ilz from the north, the green Inn from the south, and the blue Danube from the west. It's not for nothing that Passau is nicknamed "the town of the three rivers", and a boat cruise is almost obligatory. For their outing, Anna, Max and Tim opted for a real experience – they pick the glamorous Swarovski Crystal Ship. Its opulent interior features countless Swarovski gems that glitter magnificently as they catch the sunlight reflected by the water. Anna wanted to somehow take the twinkling atmosphere home with her. Her wish was granted at the ship's shop, where she bought herself a bracelet that will always serve a portable memento of the boat trip.
2. From the artists' alley: hand-painted mugs for takeaway coffee
The next stop on the trio's sightseeing tour was right beside the landing pier: Höllgasse, home of Passau's art scene. It is a small, picturesque alleyway surrounded by medieval houses that are now protected by law. Visitors to the ateliers, galleries and workshops in the surrounding area can watch artists go about their creative work. It's easy to find a small piece of art that will fit in perfectly at home. Max made the most of the opportunity and bought a hand-painted coffee mug made of porcelain.
3. A detective story set in Passau
When a town has as long a history as Passau, a guided tour is mandatory. The three friends joined one that took them through the twisting alleys of the 17th-century Baroque old town, past the imposing cathedral dedicated to St Stephen, the Neogothic tower of the town hall and the bishop's palace. To remind himself of the tour, Tim decided to buy a very special souvenir: a detective novel that unfolds in modern Passau and takes the reader on a realistic journey across the town. It's the perfect memento for Tim and a source of great ideas for his next visit to the town on the three rivers.
4. Tickets for the ScharfrichterHaus
Tim didn't need long to get a bookmark for his new holiday read: his entry ticket to the famous ScharfrichterHaus. Though its name literally means "executioner's house", the building is actually a restaurant, cinema, cabaret and theatre in one. It's not just a place to have an excellent meal either – its legendary line-up is perfect for people with a taste for culture. With cabaret performances, concerts, classic movies and poetry slams, the venue's programme of events is as varied as it is entertaining. The three friends wasted no time and made a note of some upcoming dates.
5. Cuddly toys from Passau's Dachshund Museum
Anna's second souvenir from Passau is incredibly cute. Opening her rucksack on the train home, she sees a small toy dachshund looking up at her. She got it at the Dachshund Museum, housed in the Kleine Residenz building right in the very centre of town. The museum has 4,500 items dedicated to this endearing little dog, which is honoured as an unofficial symbol of Bavaria by its fans. The museum is located right on Residenzplatz, probably the most beautiful square in Passau.