Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary, Cathy and I arrived in Budapest, Hungary, a couple days before embarking on a Viking River Long Boat cruise up the Danube from Budapest to Passau, Germany. We arrived after flying all night and were able to get into our room early to refresh, shower, and start walking this beautiful city (Day 1).
After dinner and a good night’s sleep (Day 2), we spent the entire day walking Buda and Pest. The shopping street ends at the beautiful Great Market Hall (19897). Taking a break to watch World Cup soccer outside (everyone eats and drinks outside there), we crossed the Chain Bridge to Buda Castle and Matthias Church. We ended the evening outside with dinner and drinks again (this was a recurring scene).
A leisurely day (Day 3) after walking over 13 miles around Budapest yesterday. It took us a little while to find the dock location; it’s amazing how many boats are on this river. We quickly settled in to our Viking Longship, Hermod, then walked back into the shopping district for a few more hot weather wardrobe options.
Our last day in Budapest (Day 4) before sailing to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We set out on our own to tour the House of Terror, one of the most memorable and heartbreaking museums we have ever visited. It was the home of both the Nazi and Communist secret police. To further bring us down, we walked by the Shoes on the Danube memorial. But then we were able to recharge at one of Budapest”s famous thermal baths before sailing through the evening and enjoying the lights of Budapest on the moon deck of our boat.
(Day 5) While we were in the Adirondacks 25 years, ago, neither one of would have guessed that we would be celebrating our 25th anniversary in Bratislava. But, this adorable, medieval city and capital of Slovakia was a great place to visit and celebrate our 25th!
Our third European capital of our trip, Vienna, Austria (Day 6), was a too brief introduction to a splendid old city. We toured parts of the old city and then Schonbrunn Palace which was originally designed to be more elaborate than Versailles (but the Habsburgs ran out of money). We ended the evening at a wonderfully fun winery. There’s much to do in this beautiful city and we hope to come back.
(Day 7) Our second stop in Austria, in the middle of white wine country, vineyards are everywhere. From Krems, Cathy visited a monastery and I went on a bike tour to Durnstein, a medieval city with ruins of the castle in which Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner for 4 months until England paid a “kings ransom” to release him.
We docked in Linz (Day 8), a crossroads city, to hop on a bus to the South Bohemian region of Czech Republic and the absolutely gorgeous town of Cesky Krumlov. Krumlov is like Prague, but smaller, and dominated by a large castle from 1240.
(Day 9) Our last day with Viking River Cruises, we toured the Lower Bavaria city of Passau, Germany, known as the City of Three Rivers as the Danube, Inn, and Liz all converge here. St. Stephens Cathedral once held the largest church pipe organ in the world, but has since been beaten by the First Congregational Church in Los Angeles in 1994.
We slept on the boat and got up early to catch a short bus ride to Munich to board our plane. It was a quick flight to Heathrow where we had a long layover. We did get to watch the Germany vs So Korea world cup soccer match in an airport pub with a random English fellow who shared our table. Needless to say, our new friend was quite happy, along with most of the bar, to see Germany knocked out of the tournament.