Budapest

Budapest from hillThe end of the trail, um, cruise.  We sailed into Budapest in the early morning and were captivated by the two cities, Buda and Pest, as they straddled the Danube in their timeless elegance.    The river was crowded with other cruise ships, flotillas of tourist boats, the occasional commercial craft and us.   But even the floating masses didn’t detract from the sublime architecture lining the river’s banks.  The wedding-cake-like Parliament, Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion – familiar sights from every travel poster and movie set in Eastern Europe, but so jaw-droppingly lovely in person.  Our ship made one long trip down the Danube, reversed course and docked.   Our final destination. Continue Reading →

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We’re Finally in Vienna!

Palace of Fine Arts ViennaI’d always heard Vienna referred to as the ‘City of Dreams’ and I thought it was because of the beautiful baroque architecture, formal gardens and lovely setting (well, kind of) along the Danube.  Now I learn that it earned that moniker because it was home to Sigmund Freud.  This requires some analysis.  Continue Reading →

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It takes a village (idiot).

The church at Weissenkirchen

The church at Weissenkirchen

The little Austrian villages along the Danube were nuggets of charm.  Every bend in the river revealed another fairy-tale vista; I wanted to drag an anchor behind the ship just to slow us down.   Continue Reading →

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Time for a Quickie

Bowing to pressure from hungry readers, I’m posting photos of some of the dishes served onboard the River Empress – a quickie food tour.  (Or a quick foodie tour.) Continue Reading →

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The Sound of (Christian) Music

 

Regensburg - an ancient campsite for the Roman legions

Lovely Regensburg – an ancient campsite for the Roman legions

What’s the first thing you think of when you think of Germany? Well, Catholics, right? (What? No??)  Katholikentag (or Catholic Days); a three day celebration of all things German Catholic, was in full roil as we docked in Regensburg. Continue Reading →

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Little Gems in Germany

Now, where was I? (Apologies for the break; I needed a short vacation from the vacation.)  Immediately after the Prince 2014 tour, we experienced life in a little Franconian farm village.  Or hamlet.  (What’s smaller than a hamlet?  This place was an omlet.) Continue Reading →

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Uniroyals – Big Wheels on the River

Something was in the air.  The Uniworld crew was hushed and all a-twitter at the same time.  Under intense questioning, Jan, our hotel manager, caved.  Royalty was coming aboard and joining our happy little cruise for 3 days!

Jan, being forced to eat until he spilled the secret

Jan, being forced to eat until he spilled the secret!

 

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Now for the ‘lockin’ …

 

Locks 1

A rather ominous looking lock

You might be wondering how a huge river boat cruises from Amsterdam to Budapest, since there is a 1332 foot change in altitude and the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers do not intersect in any passable place.  Then again, if you’re like me, you’ve never given this a thought and you blindly get onboard and hope that on the ‘downward slope’ the ship doesn’t suddenly plunge 1332 feet and ‘presto!, you’re in Budapest’!  This, of course, doesn’t take into account that the ship has SOMEHOW ascended 1332 feet, since, as we all know, (you do know this, don’t you?) Amsterdam is below sea level. Continue Reading →

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Sights (and sighs) along the way

River cruising is not all fun and games, you know.  There’s some serious sightseeing to be done and even though the crew does their utmost to take care of your every need, they will not do your sightseeing for you. So, we charged up the cameras and iphones, put on our ugliest comfort shoes and enough sunblock to make us look like lifeguards from the 70s  and took to the streets (or, sometimes, just the upper deck.  Still with the ugly shoes on.)  Continue Reading →

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Two-wheeled rollin’ on the river

Wertheim and Main River from castle

You can’t see the bike path, but, trust me, it’s there

On day 3 of our European Jewels adventure, just as we were settling in to the slow and comfortable pace of river cruising, we suddenly found ourselves on dry land with a small bicycle and told to pedal 25km upstream, where, with any luck, we’d meet the ship again.  If we pedalled fast. Continue Reading →

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