The second week of our Amsterdam to Budapest was equally as good as the first if not even better as we settled into the routine. Breakfast, walking tour, lunch, another walking optional tour OR rest, dinner, cruising and begin again.
As we left the Rhine and Main rivers behind and traveled through the Main Danube canal (man-made to join the Main river with the Danube we sailed through some amazing scenery.
Due to falling river levels our captain made the decision to sail through night past Regensburg to get us past a very low stretch of water. This meant hearing the ship push through the gravel at times during the night but he got us there so we didn’t have to leave the cruise early and bus the rest of the way. Still another low water stretch to navigate north of Budapest.
As we had past our next tour during the night while beat the falling river this mean an hour half bus ride back to the beautiful Regensburg (Latin: Ratisbona) a city in Germany, Bavaria province. Munich approx. 125 km from Nuremberg 105 km from the Bavarian Forest and the Jura mountains meet.
We visited St. Peter’s Cathedral, which is the thirteenth. Century started to be built in the Gothic style, but only in the nineteenth century. Century completed courtesy of Ludwig I of Bavaria (tower two, based on the original plans).
The Stone Bridge (Steinerne Brücke), which was built between 1135 and 1146th The today oldest existing bridge over the Danube.
Back on the bus and on board for dinner it was such a bonus to get to see some of the countryside
that would not have been seen if the river was at usual levels.
The next stop was Passu where we disembarked for our full day Romantic Austria Tour. 15 of us set of through the hills of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. It is just how I imagined it to be, one beautiful sight after another, everywhere you looked to was picturesque and green. We visited place like Mondsee St Wolfgangs and St Gilglen. we had two hours to lunch and explore St Wolfgang we decided on Wiener Schnitzels at the pub washed down with local beer. This is a day that will be long remember and hopefully one day we will come back for a longer stay.
After the day in the bus we caught up with the ship at Linz and even drove past the balcony where Hitler gave his speech to the people of Vienna ( something they don’t like to discuss and are embarrassed about even to this day).
We spend the day or so resting and just enjoying the river before we arrived in Vienna where were doing another walking tour. Our guide wandered us through the old parts of Vienna and highlight for me as we were passing the stable of the famous Spanish Riding school the Lipizzaner stallions they came past us to head out for their training session. Pure luck and in right place right time to get a perfect look at the guys prancing their way to work.
After another night cruising we were in Bratislava in Slovakia this was one of my favourite places along the river , we had the usual morning guided tour through the old town with whole afternoon free time. It was brilliant, my four little girls are going to look so good in their outfit purchased from the ultra modern shopping plaza, such a contrast to the old town.
The low water finally got us and we were sad to say goodbye to the Avalon Impression before boarding buses for the three and half hour bus ride through Hungary before board the Avalon Vista for our last night on board. The transfer was so well handled by the staff and crew of both ships. There was no impact on us at all in fact it was an absolute bonus to see so much more of Hungary than we expected.
Budapest is a story in itself, what a beautiful interested and lively city. We loved our couple days here and loved exploring everywhere on foot and the tour by night to see the lights was so worth staying up past my bedtime.
All in all it has be a wonderful trip and as I write we are closing the bags and heading to the airport after a super night in the Sofitel, our room overlooked the chain bridge across the Danube and the Royal Palace was standing resplendent across the river. The view from our room at night was truly breathtaking. A very perfect ending to a trip of a lifetime filled with too many highlights to remember them all, thank goodness I will be able go back over this blog and absorbed all we have done and seen. Thanks to everyone that has followed along this journey with us
NB I will add more detail to each post once I am home and have a bit more time
I will make these look better when home – out of time now