National Geographic : 1965 Jul
City of three rivers, Passau sees the Dan ube come of age. The Ilz (foreground), rush ing down from Bohemian forests, and the murky Inn (upper), born in the snow-capped Alps, join their waters with the young Dan ube. Barges and excursion boats chug past the rock-anchored fortress of Niederhaus. Round-cheeked resident of Passau views passers-by. She greeted Dick Durrance with a cheery "Guten Tag-good day." sometimes runs dry-its water seeping through porous limestone to end up in the Rhine River, and eventually across the con tinent in the North Sea! We found the spring itself to be a formal walled pool flanked by baroque statues of a fleshy mother showing the baby Danube its eastward course. Enterprising German young sters, with tin cups fastened to poles, were fishing for coins that visitors had tossed into this "wishing well." Black Sea Seems Far Away Back at Ulm, friends from the Ulm Kanu klub helped celebrate our departure (page 36). As we built a cheery bonfire from our canoe shipping crates, one of our hosts recalled that 40 in the Middle Ages trade goods from France and Italy were transferred here to clumsy, shallow-draft boats called "Ulm boxes," bound for Vienna and Budapest. Unable to sail their boats upstream, crews broke them up at journey's end and sold them for firewood. On a gray and sultry Sunday, June 21, 1964, we dipped paddles into rippled, racing waters. We were off and running, armed with bug repellent, guitars, cameras, and the words in a number of languages for "Please," "Thank you," and "Where is the bakery?" "Ahoy!" called Ulm's Sunday strollers and boaters as we swept by. "Ahoy!" we answered. As we dropped through a lock above Lauin gen, a German in charcoal suit and starched collar asked where we were going. "To the Black Sea," answered Chris Knight, perhaps a bit too casually.