Budapest/Danube River Cruise   •   September 18, 2015

Our bags are packed, Heidi's looking after Tess and the Dotster and thanks to Eddie we are prepared to go. The Nikon battery is charged so schedule permitting, I plan to post lots of beautiful photos!

 It really is a trip of a lifetime!  We are so blessed. Hope you enjoy following along on our adventure!    

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Hi all!  First chance I've had to post.   It's now Monday and we've had two full days of this beautiful city.  We've been busy every minute taking in all the sights in both Buda and Pest.  We are staying on the Pest side of the Danube.  Buda is a short walk across the chain bridge.  We have been blessed with nothing but sunshine so far!  A light sweater or jacket at night is all that's needed.  It's so nice to be out of the hot humidity of Florida.  We're still in the process of adjusting our body clocks to the time change but each day gets a little better.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

We crammed a lot into our day on Sunday.  Here are a few highlights.

Monday - another beautiful, sunny, warm day in Budapest!  Today we took in St. Istvan Basilica, just short walk from our hotel which is actually conveniently located for walking just about everywhere we want to go.  The food has been marvelous! and so reasonably priced!  We've not had a bad meal yet.  Here are some shots of the Basilica - magnificent!! Gold leaf everywhere and what really amazes me is the architecture inside and out.  The arches inside just seem to multiply on themselves - all hand painted frescos and gold leaf details.  Unimaginable how they did all this so many hundreds of years ago!  The last image is of the three story market!  I should have taken more photos there but it was crowded and difficult to maneuver.  We had a fabulous lunch there - market style.  We've never seen anything like this place!

The Budapest Opera House.  If only we could have stayed to see this!  We only had the opportunity to see the lobby which was also just beautiful! We strolled along the Budapest "Madison Avenue" where the stores are housed in magnificent old buildings with grand entrances.

Dinner el fresco at a restaurant on the river.  Lots of laughs and good food.  Horrible saxophone street "entertainer" in front of the restaurant annoying everyone, but his side kick with flags and a tin can shaker, danced around and kept everyone entertained.  Hey... everyone has to make a living, right?  Afterward we met up with the Jazzdagen group and Eddie sat in for a few tunes before we turned in - our last night at the hotel and a full day planned for tomorrow.

We were up early and off to the Parliament house where we took a tour of this unbelievable building!  We all thoroughly enjoyed our last big event in Budapest. 

Finally time to board our river boat, the AMA Lyra.  Night time sail away on the top deck was breathtaking!  It was difficult to get good photos but my little iPhone did pretty well.  Farewell Budapest.  We hope to visit again.  So much more to take in!

It's now Wednesday and we've experienced our first night on the boat.  It's very different from ocean cruising.  It's so much more intimate.  There are only 130 passengers and it's a short walk to everywhere.  We had a nice dinner and a good night's sleep then woke up to some unfortunate news.  We were sailing along on our way to the first stop, Bratislava when we learned the first set of locks we were supposed to enter were broken!  Yikes.  So here we sit, waiting for the problem to be fixed so we can move on.  We had the option of taking a bus ride to the town, but Mom, Deb, Eddie and I decided to stay put.  Although it was probably a cute little town, we were not in the mood for a 3 hour round trip bus ride.  It's nice to sit and relax after several days of pounding the tourist pavement in Budapest.   The majority of the passengers are gone, so we have been enjoying the lounge and I've been able to catch up with the travel blog.  Keeping our fingers crossed that the problem gets fixed... otherwise, there's talk of putting us all on a bus and meeting a different boat on the other side - that would not be fun.  re-packing and moving.  Keep you posted.

Lucky us!  Our boat is one of the smaller boats so we made it through the lock. Turns out it's one of many, many locks!  Interesting system, often the boat is inches away from both sides of the walls.  Also later on in the week we found out that because of our size, we got through the very shallow area as it's been a dry couple of seasons here and the river is desperately in need of rain.  There are also many bridges where there is a short distance between the boat and the bridge.  They have closed the top deck of the ship during these times so there's no chance of decapitation!  Actually, it's been too cold to sit up there anyway.  As one of the other passengers shared with me, "I had pictured myself lounging on top with my drink, taking in the scenery"... me too!  But the front room is comfortable and a great place to take in all the glorious sights on comfortable couches, so no complaints.  Really a wonderful captain and crew on board.  We just love the  whole experience of river cruising!  It's been a little difficult to keep up with the photos because every day is full.  There have been some fabulous tours and they have these little battery charged gizmos that you take along so you can hear the tour guides who are all so knowledgable and entertaining.  Today is Monday - our last full day, and we have arrived at our destination and will spend the night here Nuremberg.  I am planning to catch up on the blog, do a little packing and of course more eating and drinking!  Lord knows we haven't done enough of that.  Regretfully and also thankfully (for our waistlines). we disembark tomorrow.  

Here are the highlights from cruising the Danube through Austria and Germany!  Can't say enough about the gorgeous scenery, wonderful people and delicious food!

Thursday in Vienna, Austria

Our cabin is literally river level... you look out our window and you are up to your neck in water.  I wish I had my camera handy when we had a swan float by!  I can honestly say I've never been on their level until now!  Also, being on the bottom floor was a little hairy that night when we scraped the bottom of the river a few times.  I pictured us getting stuck because the water level is so low but happily we awoke to the next stop...

Friday morning in Durnstein. What a charming town in the wine region.  So of course, right after breakfast we took a wine tasting tour!  Loved it all!  

Friday afternoon in Melk, Austria. This is the most gorgeous and active monastery in Austria.  There are 33 monks living here but it is open to tour.  There were places we were not allowed to photograph, like the library which is indescribable.  So much rich history with changes in the church from rich to modest and back to rich.    

Could not resist photographing the interesting tree trunk in the garden on the way out.

Mom sings with the band and is the hit of the evening!  Then there was polka and sausage on the way into Germany the next day.  Tearing it up with Katie and Brian on the dance floor.


Saturday, Passau, Germany

Sunday, Regansburg, Germany!  Off to a great start with a culinary tour of the city.  Starting with the Wurst Kuchen the oldest restaurant in all of Germany (900 years old built for the workers of the stone bridge) boasting the best sausage and kraut in the world.  We agreed!  After that, off to the beer tasting!  Also pretty wonderful!

Monday, September 28th HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEB and AVERY!!  Photos to come!