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EV Day #44 – Bratislava, Slovakia

Our trip is winding down – just a couple more days…

Today we docked at Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Like many countries in the area, it has medieval roots and has been a part of other countries in its past, including Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

We took a nice walking tour of the city, but it was pretty superficial. I didn’t feel like we learned much, although once again, it was a bonanza of photo ops.

 

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One of the things that is a big deal in this area is their “Golden Pheasant Beer.” We stopped at a little outdoor cafe to order a glass of wine and a beer, and Mr. Tattered (acting like he knew what he was talking about…) ordered a Golden “Peacock” Beer. The poor waitress was so nice. She didn’t even laugh at him (I did that for her!!!)

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EV Day #43 – Vienna, Austria

After the glorious sun yesterday, the rain was a little hard to take, especially in, of all places, Vienna. But, these things are beyond the control of the tour company. We have to just go with the flow. And flow we did. By mid-morning we thought the rain would wash us away! In fact, we were ducking for cover from a total downpour when I saw this store sign and thought it very appropriate!

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Vienna is a big city, and getting around without our group would entail a whole new skill set we were unwilling to learn. So we opted to stick with the group even though exploring on our own sounded like a lot of fun. We might have had it not been pouring down rain. Anyway. We only saw a small part of what the city had to offer, but what we saw was interesting.

Our first stop was Belvedere Palace. The baroque palace was first built as the summer house for Prince Eugene of Savoy. It sustained major damage in WWII, and has been restored. It now houses a museum, and exhibition space. We didn’t go inside, just wandered the grounds a bit, and, of course, I took photos of the exterior and grounds. It was pretty impressive.

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From there we went by coach to central Vienna where we began our walking (in the rain) tour. We’d worn rain gear (unlike many of our traveling companions) so it wasn’t too bad.

We started at the Hofburg Palace, and at the riding facility near it, caught a glimpse of a few of the Lipizzan Stallions. This one was in the warming stall. They are gorgeous animals, and I was feeling badly that we wouldn’t be able to see a performance before Mr. Tattered told me about an article he read recently about how badly they are mistreated, so that disappointment went away.

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From there we wandered downtown to the shopping district. Not sure why that is always included in these bigger city tours. Do you suppose they just want Americans to know they have all the expensive “big name” designer stores, too? I couldn’t care less if I tried…

But I did enjoy the architecture, even in the monsoon!

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Yeah, I could come back here again…

EV Day #42 1/2 – Cruising the Danube and Durnstein

When I left off yesterday, we had spent the morning touring the Melk Abbey. In the afternoon we cruised down the Danube, with an afternoon stop in Durnstein before heading to Vienna. I was all set to show you a few more castle photos, and some great shots from Durnstein, but I got so caught up with shots from the Abbey, I decided to wait and do a whole post on them today, then get on to Vienna tomorrow.

So, a few from along the Danube:

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The rest are from Durnstein, a cute little winery town. Our guide actually owned the winery, and took us on a little train/tram ride through the winery before walking through town.

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One of the things I like about this cruise is that they restock their wine supply with local wines along the way. We have yet to have a bad glass. I am far from being a connoisseur, but I know what I like. And the variety they brought on from this region was very good.

Tonight we had dinner with our guides and had the best time. It was just the four of us, like a double date and we just chatted and drank wine for hours. It was one of the highlights of the cruise thus far!

 

EV Day #42 – Melk on the Danube

We are cruising on the Danube through Austria now. It is a beautiful stretch of the river.

Melk, Austria is the home of a huge baroque Benedictine Monastery, and a tour of it was on our schedule today. After seeing soooooo many lovely old buildings in the past 5 weeks, I’m kind of surprised that I continue to be awed, but I am.

It sits high on a hill, with an amazing view of the surrounding area.

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I REALLY wanted this lighting fixture to come home and live with me…

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Perhaps the most spectacular part of the Monastery was the library, the only room we saw where we were unable to take photographs. I could have spent hours photographing the old, frayed books. As it was, I was lining up the photos I would take in my mind’s eye…unbelievable.

This afternoon we continued cruising down the Danube. Stay tuned – I’ll add photos tomorrow, since I got a little crazy with photos today! Heeheehee!

EV Day #41 – Passau – Our Last German Port

Today we visit out last port in Germany, Passau. My interest in what we are seeing is FINALLY changing my lack of interest in the trip (if I can just avoid thinking about the food. Oh, and waking up when the boat hits the walls of the locks.) Not so much for Mr. Tattered who swears that without a convincing argument to the contrary, he’s been on his last river cruise. Now instead of dragging, the days are whizzing by – a sure sign I’m having fun. It’s about time! Heeheehee!

Anyway. Lots of fun things to photograph, so I’m in Heaven.

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Wow…there was tremendous flooding on the Danube last summer. We were shocked at how high up it got in town – above the doors!

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The old stone bridge was under construction. Good to see they’re fixing things, but sure wish we could have seen it!

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Just LOVE this photo…looks like a post card!

Cute story…If you’ve read previous posts, you know that our guide, Frans, doesn’t quite understand my photography, but we had a breakthrough today. He said that he has been through all these towns many times, but instead of seeing what he usually sees, he’s trying to anticipate what I might take a photo of! Because of my crazy way of seeing things, I’ve inspired someone else to see through different eyes. I have to admit, I LOVE that!

EV Day #40 – Regensberg

Regensberg is a pretty town. We took a nice walking tour, down the lovely cobblestone streets.

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I was in a mood for “tattered” photos today. Lots and lots of tattered photos. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

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Our guide, Frans, seeing me take this photo…

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…put his arm around my shoulder and asked, “Dear, do we need to get you a doctor?” I’m thinking he meant I have a screw loose! Heeheehee!

He treated us all to chocolates from a local shop. Oh, my. They were SOOOOOOO good. German pastries might disappoint, but chocolates? No. They exceeded expectations!

EV Day #39 – Nuremberg, Germany – YIKERS!

This morning we pulled into Nuremberg, perhaps the city Mr. Tattered was most looking forward to, what with his interest in all things WWII.

The city was nearly leveled during the war, so much of it is now new. But, historic sights were rebuilt as close to the originals as was possible.

Parts of it were kinda creepy. We saw the Nazi parade grounds, and the balcony where Hitler made some of his speeches,

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and the courthouse where the Nuremberg trials took place.

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I regularly hang back from the group to take photos, but today our guide (Frans) was moved to ask what in the world I was taking a picture of when he saw me taking this shot…

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When I told him, he just shook his said. I laughed and said, “my husband agrees!”

We also got an excellent lecture about how WWII and the Holocaust are taught in German schools. I was VERY impressed. This is a country that is not trying to whitewash its ugly past, but to accept that what happened, take responsibility for it, and make every effort to insure that the past doesn’t get repeated.

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From there we headed to Nuremberg Castle (Kaiserburg Nurberg) and a great view of the city below.

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A short walk later we were in the center city square and turned the ring on the “Der Schoene Brunnen” for good luck…

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and watched the figures move in the tower of the Frauenkirche at noon.

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We also sampled the famous “gingerbread” made here at Hauptmarkt, which is really more of a soft spicy scone than what we think of as gingerbread, and contains NO ginger! It was yummo.

When we got a chance to walk around on our own for a little while, we went to a local restaurant and had savory crepes. They were heavier than the crepes we had in Amsterdam, but they were pretty good! It was nice to take a break from the ship fare (which is pretty unimaginative from a vegetarian’s standpoint!)

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Mr. Tattered acted as the “lollipop” holder while our guide tried to locate the bus. He looked SO official!

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Back on board the ship, we continued sailing on the Main-Danube Canal toward the Continental divide, where we would begin sailing “down” the river, rather than “up.”

There was a spectacular sunset.

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The captain lit up the marker for the continental divide, but my camera was totally unimpressed.

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This marks the highest spot we’ll be at, nearly 1,400 feet above sea level from the actual sea level we started at. Yeah, world’s worst photo, but you gotta go with what you have!

Tomorrow we’ll arrive in Regensburg, Germany.

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