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NNs Adventures We have traveled over the years but will be retiring in 2017 and want to spend more time traveling the world. We've been to Turkey, Sri Lanka, Africa twice and a number of trips to Europe and St Lucia. Kathleen/Thom Ennen

Danube River Cruise 2016

AUSTRIA | Tuesday, 2 August 2016 | Views [193]

Our Danube cruise started Monday afternoon, 1 Aug after a long/delayed flight from DC with lost luggage coming into Budapest. Anne and I walked up to the palace overlooking the river and had a very long walk before boarding the AmaSonata at 3:30. Had a fun start with a welcoming celebration and champagne and hors d’oeuvres and then a terrific dinner at the Captain’s table. They seemed to select the women travelling alone. The captain is a youngish Hungarian who trained as a transportation engineer, and then went to “sea” as a sailor before getting his license.

Tuesday was a relaxing day with a walk to the market, which we had also gone to on Monday, in Pest and then a coach ride up the hill to see the views from Buda overlooking the impressive Parliament building on the Pest side. We relaxed in the afternoon as I kept hoping my luggage would show up before the boat departed at 5. It came at 4:45, finally, and we pulled away from the docks.

We ran all night to Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. If I had known it, I would have looked out, as apparently we went through a lock around 3AM. We docked at 9 and went off on a “hike” up a modest hill to the great fortress/castle overlooking the city. Again great views from up high!!   We then headed back to the boat by 12:30 to depart for Vienna.   We passed through a lock shortly before reaching Vienna.

We spent most of Thursday walking around Vienna seeing the old parts of the city and went to a Mozart/Strauss concert after dinner. We departed at 11 pm and headed north for the next leg of our journey. We immediately went under several very low bridges.  Much of the superstructure is lowered, including the wheel house. It drops hydraulically about 3 feet or so into a well. It can go slightly lower but then the captain has to open the hatch over his seat and put his above the wheel house to see and steer!

Friday included a stopover in Durnstein Austria as we travelled through the Wachau Valley. The valley is the perfect climate for wineries and growing apricots. There’s an extensive cottage industry making all things apricot, including soap. We participated in a small tasting of apricot brandy, liqueur, jam, chocolate covered dried apricots (yum!) and roasted apricot seed kernels. We climbed up the steep hill to the old castle to get views of the valley before departing. We stayed aboard for the afternoon, while it rained and rained. We went through 2 locks again. We stopped for a short while in Grein to pick up those who had toured to the Melk Abbey. We departed 11:45 to travel overnight to Linz, Austria.

We started Saturday with a walk up to the palace near the river which again offered great views of Linz, which straddles the river. We departed the tour to go through the museum which had a great number of different exhibitions ranging from medieval and renaissance art to a hall with technology over the last century. Our tour guide from the morning told us how to get to the very prominent two spired white church on the hill on the other side of the river. We got our tickets and rode the tram up just in time to find a nice café overlooking the Danube valley where we enjoyed great beer! I had goulache soup and Anne had a cheese and fruit plate. We climbed up a bit more to the church for more photos of the view even though it was still hazy from the almost mist from the morning.

After returning to the ship and taking a brief nap, the day had turned into a very nice afternoon and we thought it would be fun to take a bike ride. We rode south/east until the point of land ended and a channel went into Linz along a path very near the river. We found a path up to the top of the levee where there was another path that we followed back to the ship. A brief but very nice 35 minute ride and the bikes on the ship are very nice! We departed Linz after dinner and headed for Passau.

On Sunday morning, after transiting through several locks, we arrived in Passau. It was a very misty morning with difficult views of the castle on the hill top and the small town at the confluence of three rivers.  We joined the morning walking/hike to the castle of Passau. It was a bit of a steep walk up but the views from the ramparts were spectacular. When the sun finally came out, it was perfect!!!!

We returned to the ship for a noon departure. The first bridge out of Passau was so low, the wheel house dropped as low as possible and no one on the top deck could stand up. The wheel house cleared the bridge by no more than 3-4 inches!!! We later learned the river rose 6 feet in the last 24 hours. The current is fast and full of debris. If it had risen any more than it did we very possibly would have had to take a bus from Passau to our final destination, Vilshofen.

We left Passau for Vilshofen, entering our last lock about an hour after departure. It was a beautiful summer afternoon and a bit of a sad one as we had to pack and get ready for an early departure tomorrow. The bags have to be out of our rooms at 7 and we need to be on the bus to Munich at 8:30. We will miss our journey on the Danube, a perfect experiences on Amawaterways’ AmaSonata. Great team, great crew, great experience. Farewell.

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