Okay we’re coming to the end of our third E – Europe! Our Enchanting Danube cruise was well worth it and I would recommend it to anyone. Five star accommodation on the River Empress with happy and attentive staff made our journey down the Danube unforgettable. Did you know that there are 11 locks between Passau and Budapest?
We stopped for a day in the beautiful medieaval town of Passau and enjoyed our walk to the cathedral and markets. (Here in Europe our acronym changes to NABC = not another bloody cathedral). The highlights from the other towns include: the 12th century monastery in Melk (with a library of 100,000 ancient books); the fortress of Durnstein with its hundreds of steps; the Mozart and Strauss concert in the Karsalon in Vienna and the covered markets of Budapest.
Our trip has been a great adventure as we travelled through four countries of Europe, four of which are part of the European Union and have Euro currency, and then Bratislava and Hungary which don’t. (one Euro (about $2AU) is worth 230Hungarian forint – so from the ATMs you get notes of 10,000 and 5,000 Forints and all of sudden your bank balance makes you look rich.)
We have been entertained on board by a musical duo (the first violinist and conductor from the Bratislavan philarmonic orchestra) who played violin, piano, piano accordian, pan pipes and other pipes and various flutes. Our captain and manager are Dutch by birth with beautiful accents and bubbly personalities, and although Alex and I were not yet invited to dine with them, we have enjoyed their care and attention.
Our tour director, (name I cannot spell – sounds like Jonje) has been absolutely terrific as our guide and advisor. She is Hungarian born and was delighted to show us the special sites of her home town of Budapest.
The countryside and the lovely small villages are wonderful to see and Alex has enjoyed many a beer in their taverns. We finish our tour tomorrow and then we have a day in Budapest to ourselves before flying to London to begin our final segment – the MLEARN 2008 conference in Shropshire. Oh I am looking forward to a plate of fish and chips – although one just has to taste the local delights – the Hungarian Goulash, the Austrian Schnitzel and the Viennese pastries. (We subscribe to the http://www.wepaidforitwearegonnaeatit.com and our shapes are beginning to reflect our indulgence. LOL)
Next episode will be reported from the town of Telford in Shropshire, UK.