This has been the worst month for getting ill. It’s ridiculous. I’ve barely been unwell, save for a few days of having a cough or a migraine, for the entire time I’ve been on exchange, and yet THE MOMENT I leave the UK I come down with some sort of strange cold/flu thing. First it was Bonn, and now I’ve spent the past three days in bed with a lost voice, blocked nose, sore throat, cough, and headache.
Thankfully I felt better today (not much better, but better) which meant I could at least get out of the flat and explore Passau a bit more.
My major destinations were the cathedrals: St Pauls and St Stephan’s.
I thought I’d seen beautiful Cathedrals before. I HAVE seen beautiful cathedrals before. Cologne, for example. Even Bendigo, which doesn’t have a lot going for it but definitely has a stunning cathedral (at least by Australian standards). All of these look like little more than those rickety wood-board churches you see in TINY little towns in central Victoria, you know, the ones with a congregation of about three that will inevitably lose out and be knocked down or turned into little one bedroom houses, in comparison to the cathedrals I saw in Passau.
My goodness they were insanely beautiful.
St Paul’s was my first stop (simply because it was the first I stumbled across whilst wandering through Passau’s old town and marvelling at how insanely beautiful German architecture is). Even the DOORS impressed me for goodness sake! Not to mention the marble, the ornately designed ceilings like the ones from my old Victorian home but SO MUCH more ridiculously ornate and beautiful, the old stones, and the HUGE…what’s that bit at the altar called? Is it just called the altar? Can you tell I was raised an atheist/agnostic?
The cathedral was beautiful, and I left thinking I’d seen the most beautiful cathedral I was going to see outside of, you know, Italy.
I was wrong.
I actually stumbled across St Stephan’s quite by accident. Most people, I have discovered, deliberately visit St Stephan. It is THE cathedral in Passau. Which I didn’t know.
I saw the courtyard, with all its super old (Roman? I’m going to say Roman) slabs of stone, and then, curious, I wandered around to the main entrance.
And…well…wow. It was so beautiful. Insanely beautiful. Awesomely beautiful.
I literally just sat in there for AGES listening to the organist practice and trying to get my head around how beautiful this building was.
Probably due to my non-religious upbringing and failure to ever convert to any form of Christianity, I’m not familiar with a lot of the stories expressed in the beautiful artworks that fill the Cathedral. To me it’s like an insanely beautiful art gallery, only the gallery itself is just as beautiful, if not even more beautiful, than the art it contains.
I also went into my first ever crypt, and saw the coffins of…priests? Archbishops? Deacons? I should have paid more attention. Anyway. I went down into the crypt and saw the coffins of important church people (not meant to sound as condescending as it does) from the 1600s and 1700s. I saw a coffin older than European settlement in my country!
Mind thoroughly blown I decided to continue my wandering through the old town until I reached the end of the land and the start of water. Passau is where three rivers meet (thanks Alina for the fact), and the old town is surrounded by water. There was even a really bad flood in 2013 – you can see the marks on some of the old buildings!
I thoroughly loved exploring Passau, and definitely want to come back and see more!
Coming up: Italy