Trevor leaving the boat

How can a week go by so fast? As the saying goes, “Time flies when you are having fun” and this was so real for us but it was a wonderful week. Unfortunately the last day was anything but the best of the tour.


Trevor leaving the boat

Engerhartzell, the town where we had to berth inplace of Passau

On the final evening we were met with the Captain and all the staff. The Cruise Manager told us that because of the virus on board and the large number of people who had been affected and so had their holiday ruined to some degree, Imagine Cruising and the cruise line had agreed to give us a free guided tour of Passau on the way to Munich airport. Everything went wrong the following day. First, the boat had to berth on the other side of the river at Engelhartszell for purposes of full sterilisation. We were told that everyone had to be ready on the quay by 09:00. We did as requested and were all sitting around with our luggage WAITING! And we waited!

Vicky with Cruise Manager

With our Hotel Manager, Alex Reiss

Once again a serious lack of communication meant that the bus driver and tour guide were not informed that we were on the far side of the river. They finally arrived at 10:00. We all, with the exception of the Spanish group who had gone on their own bus, boarded the bus keen to get going. Another surprise. While waiting for the bus to arrive I had spent time going for a short walk and was delighted to find some examples of granite which was more than 3 million years old. There was also a propeller found in the river following a ship sinking about 40 years ago.

Line of granite stonesA row of granite stones

Interesting shaped granite

2 of the granite stones

After loading our luggage, with the help of some of our group, the bus driver and tour guide, Kristina, went on to the boat and came out with a cup of coffee. In the meantime we were getting hotter and hotter inside the bus. Eventually, Kristina, came and told us that the driver was having his regulatory break of 45mins. He had only had 16mins at the original pick up point and had to have the other 29mins before leaving. The air conditioner could not be on as it requires the engine to be running and that would be read by the tachometer as being in motion.

Propellor of boat which sank

The propeller from the sunken boat, The hotel at the back is from the 16th Century

We finally left the dock area at 10:45 and were now told that it was too late for the tour of Passau as the trip to the airport would take a little over 2.5 hours. Another let down all in the space of 2 hours. Halfway to the airport we had a comfort stop at a service station which was well off the highway as it would not be so busy. There was just one problem – only 1 cubicle each for men and women. We asked the men to wait and the ladies, far more in number, used both and then the men did so. One has to be enterprising. It was all very clean and well maintianed.

We arrived at the airport at 13:30 and, as our flight was only at 22:30, we and some other South Africans decided to take the train to the Marienplatz in central Munich. After 45min we pulled into the Marienplatz station and had fun looking for the exit. We found a very long escalator which went down the equivalent of about 3 floors. Once at the bottom we still could not see and exit and I, in my usual ability to act impulsively, said we should return to the top and hopped on to an upbound escalator while the others waited. Very silly thing to do as the escalator stopped on another platform. Now I was lost and could find no way down again.

After about 10mins of running up and down this platform and trying to find someone who could direct me back to the long escalator a lady, who spoke English, found 2 policemen who were very kind and helpful. It turned out that somehow this platform was for the trains going in the opposite direction. How that works I have still to understand but to get me to the right platform on the other side, these 2 gentlemen helped me do something illegal – walk with them through the train to the other side. What a relief to be reunited with Trevor and our friends.

While I was lost they had met another kind gentleman who directed us out to the Platz. We agreed to meet back at this point at 6pm to see and hear the Glockenspiel. Trevor and I remembered it from when we had been in Munich in 2010 and were keen to show it to our friends. Unfortunately we did not know that it only chimes and have the dancing puppets, which represent a wedding, a ritualistic dance and a jousting tournament, at 11am, 12noon and 5pm. It is so much better than the display on the Astronomical Clock of Prague.

 Glochenspiel in Marienplatz

The tower of the new Munich Town Hall with the Glockenspiel

For the 3 hours we had in Munich we split up and spent time doing things which interested us. The two of us visited Peterskirche or St Peter’s Church which was first built in 1180, destroyed by fire in the 1320s, rebuilt over a period of 40 years and had a number of renovations and additions over the next 450 years until it was destroyed in the WWII. Once again reconstruction took over 50 years. This confirms the deep love the people of Munich have for the old church.

St Stephens clock towerEntrance to St Peter’s Church

We then just wandered up and down some streets looking in shop windows, most were shut as it was Sunday, admiring the many buildings and decorative statues and sculptures. We returned to our meeting place at 6pm only to learn that we had missed the 5pm Glockenspiel show. After a cup of coffee and a chat we made our way back to the train to return to the airport. We were back there at 19:30 and our plane left for Dubai on time.