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We’re back from a really lovely vacation, a river cruise on the Danube. In advance of the full report, a few comments.

Days away: 9

But they seemed to go by in a flash.

Number of cities visited: 8

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Melk, Austria
  • Linz, Austria
  • Passau, Germany
  • Regensburg, Germany
  • Kelheim, Germany

Plus the airports of Munich, Germany and Amsterdam, Holland.

Temperature range: 3c to 20C

It started out quite warm and sunny in Budapest, then cool and sunny, then cloudy, rainy, back to cloudy, and finally around to cool sunny, then warm and sunny again. Typical spring. No snow, at least.

Number of off-boat meals: 1

(Not counting airport and airplane meals.)  That one was a fantastic lunch at the beautiful Cafe Centrale in Vienna. Otherwise, we partook of our included onboard meals. And fortunately, except for a few failed efforts here and there, those were pretty good. And sometimes very good—the roast duck, roast lamb, and grilled prawns on risotto were highlights.

Number of countries’ wines we tried: 4

  • In Hungary, we visited a wine store, learned quite a bit about their industry, and my parents purchased a wonderful pinot noir that they opened on-board.
  • In Bratislava, Jean and I visited a wine bar for Slovakian wine, which we enjoyed. But most impressive was the price: 1 Euro a glass (about $1.40). In a restaurant.
  • Onboard, they served Austrian wine, red and white, in quite generous amounts. We also tried a few other varieties in Melk.

That’s 3 of the 4. The last is Chile, as that’s what KLM serves on their flights. (It was pretty good, too.)

Most surprising highlight: Melk

Pretty well everywhere we visited had something worthwhile, and certainly a number of places we wished we had more time for (notably Budapest and Linz), but I have to say the Melk exceeded all expectations. It’s a very small town, and had one tourist attraction that I knew of: The Abbey. So, we went to see the Abbey. We figured it would be some old building with a few interesting artifacts.

But it just blew us away. One of the most interesting, original sites I’ve ever visited. I’ll describe more when I have pictures to go along with it, but here’s an idea (a Wikipedia photo):

Melk Abbey library

That’s the library. And it’s not even the best part.

Number of photos taken: 0

By me, at least.

Jean took about a million-billion, though, so I’m not too worried about lacking visual memories of our journey.

Our on-board claim to fame: Dancing

There was a live band nightly. There was a small dance floor. We took advantage. People noticed (apparently in a positive way). Can’t let those dance lessons go to waste.

Number of books read: 3.5

  • The High Road by Terry Fallis (so I could read a novel about a Canadian federal election while being away from the actual one)
  • E A Novel  by Matt Beaumont (so I could read a novel entirely written in emails while having no access to my own)
  • What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell (that’s the half)
  • Journey to the Edge of the World by Billy Connolly (the book that kept Jean engaged while “stuck” on board)

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