Sailing the Danube Continued

MebikePat here:

That's me on a fake penny farthing–a vehicle that plays a part in my March release, Lessons in Enchantment. I couldn't resist the photo op. I don't know how anyone climbed on one of those things unless it was stuck to the ground like this one!

In my last blog , I described the first few days of my Viking tour of the Danube and lamented that I didn’t have room to get into the really magical stuff. My memory isn’t of the best, but I’m hoping if I dig around in our tons of photos that I may be able to piece together the rest of the journey.

The tour was almost two weeks, so I can only touch on my favorite highlights. I believe we left off in Munich and just flashed a few photos from other places down the river. I think Salzburg is the city you’d like to hear about next. It was one of my favorites anyway. It’s a truly ancient city, Salzburg signhaving been established before 696. I’ll let you read the fascinating history .  The salt mines put it smack on a major trade route since salt was the main means for preserving foods back then, and they couldn’t run down to the local grocery to pick up a box.

Salzburg hotelWe stayed in Salzburg’s medieval old town—which means there are no major highways for cars and buses. One has to have special permission just to bring a vehicle into the area. One side of our hotel was on the outskirts, so the bus could unload on the highway running along the river. The hotel was built on the river about 1377.  I think it was part of a monastery at that point. It was also a brewery in another century and renovated into a hotel in the 1990s. The rooms were a hodgepodge with wonderful ancient oak beams in the ceilings.

When we walked out the front door, we were in the pedestrian lanes of the old town. One of the charming Christmas stores was right outside the door. The Christmas Market is a huge deal Salzburg shopshere, but we were a month early. We were fine with that. We ate in medieval restaurants, enjoyed a fabulous Mozart concert complete with costumed musicians and a medieval menu in a monastery that is billed as the oldest operating restaurant in Europe, and explored open air markets. There were high end stores too, but we can find them anywhere. Instead, we visited the gardens across from Mozart’s apartments in the “new town,” which would have been upscale from the tiny flat he lived in as a child in “old town.” The town squares were filled with street musicians, and mouth-watering bakeries were tucked down every alley.

GazeboThe tour took us around the Sound of Music sets used in the movie. The exteriors in the movie weren’t always the ones that matched the interiors, but the nunneries and garden and mountains are all there, along with the Von Trapps’ modest home and the gazebo. Amusingly, the mountain they’re seen climbing at the end would have taken them into Germany.

We covered a lot of ground from Salzburg to Cesky Krumlov, but I’m in danger of running out of space already, and I really wanted to mention the Czech Republic. Cesky Krumlov  has a fabulous sprawling castle which was first started in the 1200s and had been built onto for Cesky krumlov castlecenturies afterward. The town was never large, but Czechoslovakia fell behind the Iron Curtain and the spectacular history was nearly lost, as happened in many other of the historic cities in what is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Our tour guide told us horror stories of that period and showed us the ugly architecture that replaced many  of the beautiful old buildings. But after the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989, the town slowly recuperated. The blackened deteriorating walls of the castle were cleaned and repaired to reveal the wonderful painted beauty of centuries of history.

And while we didn’t do much shopping in Austria, in Cesky Krumlov, we indulged. Prices were so insanely cheap that it was hard not to.

LippizanerAnd again, I’m running out of space. We spent a Sunday in Vienna. Since it was a national holiday, stores were closed, but we still could see the Lipizzaner stables and the magnificent buildings. Cruising down the river from there we saw castles on every hill, and gorgeous villages. We passed hills of grapevines and sat through several locks as the river grew increasingly lower. Danube village

The tour ended in Budapest, which is actually three cities, although it’s named only for Buda and Pest. It’s an enormous sprawling city of lights. The government buildings along the river are beautiful in day but at night, they are spectacular. Major bridges cross the river Pestbetween the two cities—Buda is the more modern government side. Pest is the gorgeous old city built on an old castle. When the river fell so far that our boat had to unload and travel on without us, the tour company put us up at a five-star Hilton built on the castle ruins. So again, we were out of range of pricey shops but had a wonderful opportunity to explore ancient streets.

Traveling in fall, with all the trees turning glorious Budapestpalacecolors, was a bonus for this Californian. I wish everyone had the opportunity to explore the world and understand a little more beyond their own community. What do you think? If you could, would you explore the world?

 

80 thoughts on “Sailing the Danube Continued”

  1. Pat, you’ve convinced me: I want to go to Salzburg and stay in that hotel! I’ve also done a (different) Viking cruise of the Danube and have a whole different set of pictures and stories. SO MUCH history along there!
    I suspect that the pennyfarthing required a mounting blog, as horses did. Or else the proud owner’s servants held it upright for the master to climb onto. *G*

    Reply
  2. Pat, you’ve convinced me: I want to go to Salzburg and stay in that hotel! I’ve also done a (different) Viking cruise of the Danube and have a whole different set of pictures and stories. SO MUCH history along there!
    I suspect that the pennyfarthing required a mounting blog, as horses did. Or else the proud owner’s servants held it upright for the master to climb onto. *G*

    Reply
  3. Pat, you’ve convinced me: I want to go to Salzburg and stay in that hotel! I’ve also done a (different) Viking cruise of the Danube and have a whole different set of pictures and stories. SO MUCH history along there!
    I suspect that the pennyfarthing required a mounting blog, as horses did. Or else the proud owner’s servants held it upright for the master to climb onto. *G*

    Reply
  4. Pat, you’ve convinced me: I want to go to Salzburg and stay in that hotel! I’ve also done a (different) Viking cruise of the Danube and have a whole different set of pictures and stories. SO MUCH history along there!
    I suspect that the pennyfarthing required a mounting blog, as horses did. Or else the proud owner’s servants held it upright for the master to climb onto. *G*

    Reply
  5. Pat, you’ve convinced me: I want to go to Salzburg and stay in that hotel! I’ve also done a (different) Viking cruise of the Danube and have a whole different set of pictures and stories. SO MUCH history along there!
    I suspect that the pennyfarthing required a mounting blog, as horses did. Or else the proud owner’s servants held it upright for the master to climb onto. *G*

    Reply
  6. I was in Salzburg last December and got to go to some Christmas markets and a Krampus parade. I loved it. Traveling does open your mind and understanding in so many ways. It really makes the world large and small at the same time.

    Reply
  7. I was in Salzburg last December and got to go to some Christmas markets and a Krampus parade. I loved it. Traveling does open your mind and understanding in so many ways. It really makes the world large and small at the same time.

    Reply
  8. I was in Salzburg last December and got to go to some Christmas markets and a Krampus parade. I loved it. Traveling does open your mind and understanding in so many ways. It really makes the world large and small at the same time.

    Reply
  9. I was in Salzburg last December and got to go to some Christmas markets and a Krampus parade. I loved it. Traveling does open your mind and understanding in so many ways. It really makes the world large and small at the same time.

    Reply
  10. I was in Salzburg last December and got to go to some Christmas markets and a Krampus parade. I loved it. Traveling does open your mind and understanding in so many ways. It really makes the world large and small at the same time.

    Reply
  11. Again, thank you for letting partake of a virtual tour. Those puzzles (that give me views of some of the places all you wenches venture to) have given me a wonderful night view of Budapest.

    Reply
  12. Again, thank you for letting partake of a virtual tour. Those puzzles (that give me views of some of the places all you wenches venture to) have given me a wonderful night view of Budapest.

    Reply
  13. Again, thank you for letting partake of a virtual tour. Those puzzles (that give me views of some of the places all you wenches venture to) have given me a wonderful night view of Budapest.

    Reply
  14. Again, thank you for letting partake of a virtual tour. Those puzzles (that give me views of some of the places all you wenches venture to) have given me a wonderful night view of Budapest.

    Reply
  15. Again, thank you for letting partake of a virtual tour. Those puzzles (that give me views of some of the places all you wenches venture to) have given me a wonderful night view of Budapest.

    Reply
  16. A mounting block might do it, since they were frequently found. I cannot imagine a freespirited biker followed by a servant on wheels. 😉 It’s possible to climb up, if one had really good balance. I don’t!

    Reply
  17. A mounting block might do it, since they were frequently found. I cannot imagine a freespirited biker followed by a servant on wheels. 😉 It’s possible to climb up, if one had really good balance. I don’t!

    Reply
  18. A mounting block might do it, since they were frequently found. I cannot imagine a freespirited biker followed by a servant on wheels. 😉 It’s possible to climb up, if one had really good balance. I don’t!

    Reply
  19. A mounting block might do it, since they were frequently found. I cannot imagine a freespirited biker followed by a servant on wheels. 😉 It’s possible to climb up, if one had really good balance. I don’t!

    Reply
  20. A mounting block might do it, since they were frequently found. I cannot imagine a freespirited biker followed by a servant on wheels. 😉 It’s possible to climb up, if one had really good balance. I don’t!

    Reply
  21. Oh fun, luck you! There was a Christmas pageant in a small town nearby that I would have loved to see, but the guide said the crowds were enormous. And yes, travel broadens one’s perspective.

    Reply
  22. Oh fun, luck you! There was a Christmas pageant in a small town nearby that I would have loved to see, but the guide said the crowds were enormous. And yes, travel broadens one’s perspective.

    Reply
  23. Oh fun, luck you! There was a Christmas pageant in a small town nearby that I would have loved to see, but the guide said the crowds were enormous. And yes, travel broadens one’s perspective.

    Reply
  24. Oh fun, luck you! There was a Christmas pageant in a small town nearby that I would have loved to see, but the guide said the crowds were enormous. And yes, travel broadens one’s perspective.

    Reply
  25. Oh fun, luck you! There was a Christmas pageant in a small town nearby that I would have loved to see, but the guide said the crowds were enormous. And yes, travel broadens one’s perspective.

    Reply
  26. I started traveling late about 12 years ago and have now aged out of the physical ability to continue. Fortunately, in that time I managed to check off every place on my bucket short list. It was so worth it! In some way, I feel like twice the person I was before these experiences, as if I’d lived an extra life along the way. Not feeling sorry it’s over, as these days one can very effectively armchair travel almost everywhere, just very happy I had my opportunities. Not a day goes by without triggering one or more happy memories. I’ve truly been blessed.

    Reply
  27. I started traveling late about 12 years ago and have now aged out of the physical ability to continue. Fortunately, in that time I managed to check off every place on my bucket short list. It was so worth it! In some way, I feel like twice the person I was before these experiences, as if I’d lived an extra life along the way. Not feeling sorry it’s over, as these days one can very effectively armchair travel almost everywhere, just very happy I had my opportunities. Not a day goes by without triggering one or more happy memories. I’ve truly been blessed.

    Reply
  28. I started traveling late about 12 years ago and have now aged out of the physical ability to continue. Fortunately, in that time I managed to check off every place on my bucket short list. It was so worth it! In some way, I feel like twice the person I was before these experiences, as if I’d lived an extra life along the way. Not feeling sorry it’s over, as these days one can very effectively armchair travel almost everywhere, just very happy I had my opportunities. Not a day goes by without triggering one or more happy memories. I’ve truly been blessed.

    Reply
  29. I started traveling late about 12 years ago and have now aged out of the physical ability to continue. Fortunately, in that time I managed to check off every place on my bucket short list. It was so worth it! In some way, I feel like twice the person I was before these experiences, as if I’d lived an extra life along the way. Not feeling sorry it’s over, as these days one can very effectively armchair travel almost everywhere, just very happy I had my opportunities. Not a day goes by without triggering one or more happy memories. I’ve truly been blessed.

    Reply
  30. I started traveling late about 12 years ago and have now aged out of the physical ability to continue. Fortunately, in that time I managed to check off every place on my bucket short list. It was so worth it! In some way, I feel like twice the person I was before these experiences, as if I’d lived an extra life along the way. Not feeling sorry it’s over, as these days one can very effectively armchair travel almost everywhere, just very happy I had my opportunities. Not a day goes by without triggering one or more happy memories. I’ve truly been blessed.

    Reply
  31. Thank you for your marvelous tribute to the benefits of travel! When we’re young, we’re so tied down with family and by lack of money that it’s often difficult to explore. So you are fortunate to have had the chance to fill your bucket list. And I’m glad your memories are strong.

    Reply
  32. Thank you for your marvelous tribute to the benefits of travel! When we’re young, we’re so tied down with family and by lack of money that it’s often difficult to explore. So you are fortunate to have had the chance to fill your bucket list. And I’m glad your memories are strong.

    Reply
  33. Thank you for your marvelous tribute to the benefits of travel! When we’re young, we’re so tied down with family and by lack of money that it’s often difficult to explore. So you are fortunate to have had the chance to fill your bucket list. And I’m glad your memories are strong.

    Reply
  34. Thank you for your marvelous tribute to the benefits of travel! When we’re young, we’re so tied down with family and by lack of money that it’s often difficult to explore. So you are fortunate to have had the chance to fill your bucket list. And I’m glad your memories are strong.

    Reply
  35. Thank you for your marvelous tribute to the benefits of travel! When we’re young, we’re so tied down with family and by lack of money that it’s often difficult to explore. So you are fortunate to have had the chance to fill your bucket list. And I’m glad your memories are strong.

    Reply
  36. In the past, I worked for FEMA and got to travel all over the US. Yes there were disasters (or I would not have been there) but I also got to see other things and most of all the people. I loved meeting so many terrific people.
    I would love to be able to travel the world, but alas, that is no longer an option for me.
    I thank you so much for the pictures, the descriptions and your enthusiasm.

    Reply
  37. In the past, I worked for FEMA and got to travel all over the US. Yes there were disasters (or I would not have been there) but I also got to see other things and most of all the people. I loved meeting so many terrific people.
    I would love to be able to travel the world, but alas, that is no longer an option for me.
    I thank you so much for the pictures, the descriptions and your enthusiasm.

    Reply
  38. In the past, I worked for FEMA and got to travel all over the US. Yes there were disasters (or I would not have been there) but I also got to see other things and most of all the people. I loved meeting so many terrific people.
    I would love to be able to travel the world, but alas, that is no longer an option for me.
    I thank you so much for the pictures, the descriptions and your enthusiasm.

    Reply
  39. In the past, I worked for FEMA and got to travel all over the US. Yes there were disasters (or I would not have been there) but I also got to see other things and most of all the people. I loved meeting so many terrific people.
    I would love to be able to travel the world, but alas, that is no longer an option for me.
    I thank you so much for the pictures, the descriptions and your enthusiasm.

    Reply
  40. In the past, I worked for FEMA and got to travel all over the US. Yes there were disasters (or I would not have been there) but I also got to see other things and most of all the people. I loved meeting so many terrific people.
    I would love to be able to travel the world, but alas, that is no longer an option for me.
    I thank you so much for the pictures, the descriptions and your enthusiasm.

    Reply
  41. Lucky you, Patricia! This all looks fantastic. I have visited two Danube cities – Ulm, in Germany, and Budapest. They were both wonderful. Ulm has an immense cathedral that miraculously escaped WWII bombing, and Budapest is simply marvellous. You can go on a mini-cruise up and down the Danube. I loved the castle, the art collections, the opera and the food served in mediaeval taverns.
    I can’t resist mentioning that Elizabeth Craven visited the Danube too, and wrote a romantic story about one of the castles she saw there, the Castle of Dierenstein. The story, a short novel, is called The Solder of Dierenstein.

    Reply
  42. Lucky you, Patricia! This all looks fantastic. I have visited two Danube cities – Ulm, in Germany, and Budapest. They were both wonderful. Ulm has an immense cathedral that miraculously escaped WWII bombing, and Budapest is simply marvellous. You can go on a mini-cruise up and down the Danube. I loved the castle, the art collections, the opera and the food served in mediaeval taverns.
    I can’t resist mentioning that Elizabeth Craven visited the Danube too, and wrote a romantic story about one of the castles she saw there, the Castle of Dierenstein. The story, a short novel, is called The Solder of Dierenstein.

    Reply
  43. Lucky you, Patricia! This all looks fantastic. I have visited two Danube cities – Ulm, in Germany, and Budapest. They were both wonderful. Ulm has an immense cathedral that miraculously escaped WWII bombing, and Budapest is simply marvellous. You can go on a mini-cruise up and down the Danube. I loved the castle, the art collections, the opera and the food served in mediaeval taverns.
    I can’t resist mentioning that Elizabeth Craven visited the Danube too, and wrote a romantic story about one of the castles she saw there, the Castle of Dierenstein. The story, a short novel, is called The Solder of Dierenstein.

    Reply
  44. Lucky you, Patricia! This all looks fantastic. I have visited two Danube cities – Ulm, in Germany, and Budapest. They were both wonderful. Ulm has an immense cathedral that miraculously escaped WWII bombing, and Budapest is simply marvellous. You can go on a mini-cruise up and down the Danube. I loved the castle, the art collections, the opera and the food served in mediaeval taverns.
    I can’t resist mentioning that Elizabeth Craven visited the Danube too, and wrote a romantic story about one of the castles she saw there, the Castle of Dierenstein. The story, a short novel, is called The Solder of Dierenstein.

    Reply
  45. Lucky you, Patricia! This all looks fantastic. I have visited two Danube cities – Ulm, in Germany, and Budapest. They were both wonderful. Ulm has an immense cathedral that miraculously escaped WWII bombing, and Budapest is simply marvellous. You can go on a mini-cruise up and down the Danube. I loved the castle, the art collections, the opera and the food served in mediaeval taverns.
    I can’t resist mentioning that Elizabeth Craven visited the Danube too, and wrote a romantic story about one of the castles she saw there, the Castle of Dierenstein. The story, a short novel, is called The Solder of Dierenstein.

    Reply
  46. As I’m from Munich I’m very happy you liked your journey through Bavaria, Austria, Czek Republic and Hungary. Did you know that in the early middle ages Austria was a part of Bavaria?
    I’ve been many times in Salzburg even if it is a bit crouded with tourists. For us it’s mostly the place where Mozart was born and lived through his childhood. Salzburg for us is more a baroque town than an medieval one. Especially the huge Dom was built in the 17th century as other churches too. What amazes us locals most is the fascination of the American guests by the locations of the Sound of Music movie. Not far from Salzburg lies the monastry of Mondsee where the wedding took place. There you can get screenshots and so on as picture postcards. On my first visit there I couldn’t place the pictures and thought they we’re taken of a Habsburg wedding till I read the inscriptions. In the meantime I too have seen the movie. In Austria and Germany another movie with German and Austrian actors about the same story of the Trapp family is better known and a little more realistic than the American version with Julie Andrews (I think).

    Reply
  47. As I’m from Munich I’m very happy you liked your journey through Bavaria, Austria, Czek Republic and Hungary. Did you know that in the early middle ages Austria was a part of Bavaria?
    I’ve been many times in Salzburg even if it is a bit crouded with tourists. For us it’s mostly the place where Mozart was born and lived through his childhood. Salzburg for us is more a baroque town than an medieval one. Especially the huge Dom was built in the 17th century as other churches too. What amazes us locals most is the fascination of the American guests by the locations of the Sound of Music movie. Not far from Salzburg lies the monastry of Mondsee where the wedding took place. There you can get screenshots and so on as picture postcards. On my first visit there I couldn’t place the pictures and thought they we’re taken of a Habsburg wedding till I read the inscriptions. In the meantime I too have seen the movie. In Austria and Germany another movie with German and Austrian actors about the same story of the Trapp family is better known and a little more realistic than the American version with Julie Andrews (I think).

    Reply
  48. As I’m from Munich I’m very happy you liked your journey through Bavaria, Austria, Czek Republic and Hungary. Did you know that in the early middle ages Austria was a part of Bavaria?
    I’ve been many times in Salzburg even if it is a bit crouded with tourists. For us it’s mostly the place where Mozart was born and lived through his childhood. Salzburg for us is more a baroque town than an medieval one. Especially the huge Dom was built in the 17th century as other churches too. What amazes us locals most is the fascination of the American guests by the locations of the Sound of Music movie. Not far from Salzburg lies the monastry of Mondsee where the wedding took place. There you can get screenshots and so on as picture postcards. On my first visit there I couldn’t place the pictures and thought they we’re taken of a Habsburg wedding till I read the inscriptions. In the meantime I too have seen the movie. In Austria and Germany another movie with German and Austrian actors about the same story of the Trapp family is better known and a little more realistic than the American version with Julie Andrews (I think).

    Reply
  49. As I’m from Munich I’m very happy you liked your journey through Bavaria, Austria, Czek Republic and Hungary. Did you know that in the early middle ages Austria was a part of Bavaria?
    I’ve been many times in Salzburg even if it is a bit crouded with tourists. For us it’s mostly the place where Mozart was born and lived through his childhood. Salzburg for us is more a baroque town than an medieval one. Especially the huge Dom was built in the 17th century as other churches too. What amazes us locals most is the fascination of the American guests by the locations of the Sound of Music movie. Not far from Salzburg lies the monastry of Mondsee where the wedding took place. There you can get screenshots and so on as picture postcards. On my first visit there I couldn’t place the pictures and thought they we’re taken of a Habsburg wedding till I read the inscriptions. In the meantime I too have seen the movie. In Austria and Germany another movie with German and Austrian actors about the same story of the Trapp family is better known and a little more realistic than the American version with Julie Andrews (I think).

    Reply
  50. As I’m from Munich I’m very happy you liked your journey through Bavaria, Austria, Czek Republic and Hungary. Did you know that in the early middle ages Austria was a part of Bavaria?
    I’ve been many times in Salzburg even if it is a bit crouded with tourists. For us it’s mostly the place where Mozart was born and lived through his childhood. Salzburg for us is more a baroque town than an medieval one. Especially the huge Dom was built in the 17th century as other churches too. What amazes us locals most is the fascination of the American guests by the locations of the Sound of Music movie. Not far from Salzburg lies the monastry of Mondsee where the wedding took place. There you can get screenshots and so on as picture postcards. On my first visit there I couldn’t place the pictures and thought they we’re taken of a Habsburg wedding till I read the inscriptions. In the meantime I too have seen the movie. In Austria and Germany another movie with German and Austrian actors about the same story of the Trapp family is better known and a little more realistic than the American version with Julie Andrews (I think).

    Reply
  51. I hadnt realized there was an Austrian version of Sound of Music! I should think it was a LOT more realistic. G Im more interested in history than movies but the guide did point out the differences between what we saw and the reality. That was entertaining.

    Reply
  52. I hadnt realized there was an Austrian version of Sound of Music! I should think it was a LOT more realistic. G Im more interested in history than movies but the guide did point out the differences between what we saw and the reality. That was entertaining.

    Reply
  53. I hadnt realized there was an Austrian version of Sound of Music! I should think it was a LOT more realistic. G Im more interested in history than movies but the guide did point out the differences between what we saw and the reality. That was entertaining.

    Reply
  54. I hadnt realized there was an Austrian version of Sound of Music! I should think it was a LOT more realistic. G Im more interested in history than movies but the guide did point out the differences between what we saw and the reality. That was entertaining.

    Reply
  55. I hadnt realized there was an Austrian version of Sound of Music! I should think it was a LOT more realistic. G Im more interested in history than movies but the guide did point out the differences between what we saw and the reality. That was entertaining.

    Reply

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