pass the time in passau
I'm a little late to this party, writing this blog a week after I got home. But it's all good. That doesn't detract how great it was to be in Passau last weekend. This trip took me by surprise in so many ways and I can't wait to share it with you. Aside from it being where my sister/foreign exchange student, Pauline, lives, I had no idea what was waiting for me in Passau. Honestly, I really didn't care, since it was a trip to see her (living abroad has made me appreciate family in a way I hadn't before, but that's another blog post for another day).
You guys. It's such a perfect little fairytale town tucked into the valley, where the Danube and the Inn rivers cross paths. The city may be only 50,000 people, but it's vibrant and happy and has a plethora of university students to keep life interesting. The small historical center packs it in, with a castle, a magnificent cathedral and a whole host of photo-worthy historical buildings that will make any architecture fan swoon.
We also got incredibly lucky that the weather was sunny and beautiful. I also had a rockstar tour guide, since Pauline does some freelance work with cruise companies on top of her studies (she's Wonder Woman, right?!). We strolled around the river walk, which was stunning and offered a unique perspective on two rivers meeting. I would definitely recommend packing a picnic and camping out here for a while, especially for a sunset. You seriously can't beat those colors. We explored the city center and hung out in a spectacular church for a minute. We also ate ice cream everyday because it's our family's rule to eat ice cream each day of vacation (we use the word "vacation" loosely here. I wouldn't change a thing.
Money saving tip: stay somewhere you can cook with friends. Not only will it save you money, but it is so much fun. Pauline had nine people in her flat this weekend. It was absolute insanity and vaguely reminded me of the days I would help in the church kitchen. I honestly don't know how we did this without burning or wrecking anything, but somehow it worked. And we all ate meals together, which is a great way to get to know new people. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't necessarily the most composed in the kitchen and was concerned about wrecking something, but nothing brings people together like a little kitchen stress! I didn't completely destroy dinner, for all you concerned friends out there :)
But the part that surprised me most was that this place filled my heart in a way that I wasn't expecting it to. Sure, time with Pauline is always the bomb.com, however what I experienced this weekend was so much more than just some super fun sister time. I got to be a part of a family again, even if it wasn't mine. It's that warm fuzzy feeling when we're all crowded around breakfast, some of us sitting on the floor of someone's bedroom because there's too many of us for the table, sleepy-eyed and reaching for the coffee. It's the belly laughs that don't come with people you're just meeting. I was so lucky that Pauline and her wonderful flatmates allowed me into their lives for a quick weekend and made me feel so loved. That crazy, joyful, packed flat filled my heart to the brim in a way nothing else can.
So if you have a day in between destinations, for example, traveling from Austria to Germany, Passau is the perfect stopover for a day or two. But on a much more important note, find your people. Find a place where you are known. Find a place where you feel loved and love the people around you. Whether it's down the block or around the world, these places matter, so find them and return often.