This trainee program is really giving me the possibility to explore a large variety of different cities. About a week ago, I moved yet again and am now staying at my third location this year: Passau, Bavaria. Contrary to the previous locations though, I will not stay here for as long as three months, but only came here to spend three weeks working on the shop floor of a ZF plant.
With only little time for exploring this beautiful area, I started right away: Arriving on Saturday afternoon, I started for a long walk around the city right after I had unloaded my car. I’m staying near the river Inn, in the southern part of Passau – in walking distance to the border to Austria. But for the time being, I didn’t go to Austria, but up north to reach the historic city center of Passau. A small footbridge led me over the river Inn and I walked further along the river into the old town, which is beautifully situated on the tip of land where the rivers Inn and Danube meet. After some quick grocery shopping, I was curious as to where my workplace would be. So I walked along the Danube, all the way to ZF Plant 1, located directly at the river. Unfortunately, I was caught in a bad thunderstorm at the exact point in time when I reached the plant. I was in the rain for a mere thirty seconds before I reached the nearest restaurant – but nevertheless, I was drenched. I stayed in the restaurant until the worst was over, watching impressive whirlwinds form above the river and hail fall in such huge amounts, that the ground seemed to be covered in snow. When it was finally over and the rain had ceased to a mere drizzle, I started walking back to the guesthouse I’m staying at. At the horizon, the retreating clouds had turned to a beautiful red as the sun was setting over the city.
On Sunday, I started early to do some real sightseeing this time. I arrived at St. Stephen’s Cathedral right when the morning mess ended – just in time to hear the famous organ play, which is the largest cathedral organ in the world. I walked along the rivers Inn and Danube again, looked at the old city hall and really enjoyed all the narrow alleys and stairways the historic city center consists of. While exploring, I kept doing little breaks, at beautiful squares in the city or in the park right at the tip of land where the two rivers meet (or three actually, if you count the river Ilz in as well). When I felt I had covered most of the old town, I crossed the Danube and hiked up to the fortress Veste Oberhaus, located between the rivers Danube and Ilz above the city of Passau. From here, I had a great view of the city and sat down on a bench in the sun for some time to read. After a while, I walked down to the city center again, slowly strolling towards the guesthouse. On my way back, I stopped by a nice café at the footbridge, which I had seen earlier. Here, I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee along with some raspberry cake and a view of the river below me.
After little over a week here, I can say that working in production is quite exhausting. But the beautiful town of Passau and its surroundings do make up for this. These last couple of days, I have enjoyed long walks and hikes around the area (partly on the Panoramasteig, a popular hiking path around here), nice dinners in various restaurants, and even a few beers at the local brewery. Lastly, I finally stopped denying my Bavarian heritage (I was born near Munich), and bought my very first Dirndl!