I’ll take Passau in gold, please

Yesterday, my musical adventures took me to Passau, a charming German town near the Austrian border.

Since my itinerary is dictated by my audition and performance schedule, I was delighted to spend my Monday in such a pretty place. Passau is in a very lush corner of Bavaria, and it’s known as the “Three-River City” because it is built at the place where the Ilz and the Inn Rivers flow into the Danube.

I was there to sing some Strauss. But as soon as I finished singing, I strolled over to Passau’s splendid Baroque cathedral.  Cathedral-hopping is one of my hobbies, anyway, but I was especially excited to visit St Stephan’s because it boasts the largest cathedral organ in the world. Happy happy joy joy! 🙂  

I love Baroque ornamentation, in music and in architecture.  I realize that some people cringe when they see too much gold.  You know the type — people with exquisite taste, who talk about “simple elegance” all the time? Yeah, I feel sorry for them. Personally, I like gold.  I like the sparkle of it. I understand that “not all that glitters is gold,” but when it actually is gold, I say, “relax and enjoy the glitter!” Especially if it’s in a big public space like a cathedral, where everyone can revel in it. As an opera singer, I spend a lot of my time in the 18th century, so I have no trouble with gilding. I live by the motto: when in doubt, gild it.  I don’t mind a plethora of cherubs and painted ceilings, sculpted marble and mirrored chandeliers. I might not put them in my living room, but I like to see them in church. To me, these are all signs of cheerful abundance, so my visit to Passau put me in the perfect mood for Thanksgiving week.

Traveling Diva’s Recommendations for Passau

* ACHAT Comfort Hotel– an affordable hotel that features a fitness room, sauna, jacuzzi and high speed Internet! They are opening a new hotel Budapest and I will definitely consider it for my next trip to Hungary.

* Stadtgalerie – a centrally located shopping mall (pictured here in full Christmas décor!) where one can spend a couple of happy hours in between auditions.

* Cafe Stephan’s Dom – serves an excellent potato-pumpkin strudel on a bed of apple kraut.  However, caveat emptor: it can leave you with “cabbage breath,” a rare Teutonic condition cured only by copious amounts of peppermint. 😉

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