Do you have a bucket list or dream list or trophy list? I believe we need to start checking off items and not wait until we “retire”. Take the opportunity to create the memories now. My wife and I just got back from a river cruise. We had never done any type of cruise together. The thought of being on a ship with 1000’s of people does not excite me. The AmaLea is a beautiful new ship and only had about 150 passengers and 50 crew. That intimacy really appealed to us and that you are cruising down the river, not on the ocean. There was always something cool to see. I have to admit that much of the nature scenery looked a lot like where we live in Tennessee.
We started with a couple nights in Prague before we set out to meet the boat in Vilshofen, Germany for our tour down the Danube. On the ride to Vilshofen through Czechoslovakia we noticed that all the bill boards had been covered with the Czech flag.
Our driver told us the regular ad billboards had been covered up. They were found to be a distraction that caused accidents he said. I wish they got rid of the bill boards here! On the way up we stopped for a drink and a breakfast sandwich at McDonalds and found ice is not used much in drinks there. They also charge individually for a ketchup packet.
On a bike ride around Vilshofen we saw a man with in his garden. When we got closer we realized this was not just any garden. He spoke no english and was proud to take a picture. This man was dedicated to Gnome Culture on a massive scale as you can see.
Our cruise itenerary: Passau, Linz, Weissenkirchen, Vienna, Bratislava and then Budapest. We traveled with a couple who are good friends and that was something we had not done before on a long 12 day trip. Prague was wonderful and we really enjoyed walking and taking an e-scooter tour around the city. What strikes you us as an American is the graffiti. It is literally everywhere on the majority of buildings. We noticed the same thing in Buenos Aires last year only worse. We are lucky that is not happening much on the in the USA on nice buildings. I see it on railroad cars but not much on buildings.
Walking in Prague we saw a McDonalds that was in a building from the 1500’s. They had simple put a small “M Logo” on the original sign for the building. Here is a picture of the wall dedicated to John Lennon. This picture is about half of the wall. Also a picture of Wenceslas square that had a some characters to take pictures with like Times Square. I noticed a few street performers on the trip – a guy playing guitar and singing, woman playing a trumpet, man playing clarinet – but over all not many and I did not see any performers that did a big show and gathered people around like you see in the states.
One of my new friends on the ship Nicholas from Innsbrook, Austria was a historian and pointed out the troughs coming out of this building. That was how they got human waste out! He said umbrellas were invented not to shield you from rain or sun but from the waste! High heels were block of wood that they would put on their shoes with straps so not to step in ii with their shoes.
The river cruise was a terrific way to see many cities and not have to unpack. The food was outstanding as well as the service. The staff was from all over Europe and was very interesting. The captain set the tone and was helping to load and unload the bags when we were leaving ship and the next passengers were arriving. I was impressed. We were wondering if there were going to be some other “younger” cruisers! Good news is there were and we had a great time with the evening entertainment provided.
I am not going to take you through every stop. We felt that once you see several beautiful city centers, old castles, amazing buildings and squares and churches…..you get it. They do tend to run together.
One day we will look back on moments and unique experiences. Sometimes they happen by serendipity and sometimes you need to plan ahead. I would recommend a river cruise like this and it is certainly a worthy adventure to put on your list. What is next for you?