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Old 08-11-2015   #16 (permalink)
cb1
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Your photos are better than the brochure.
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Old 08-11-2015   #17 (permalink)
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Really wonderful report with stunning photos. A million thanks for sharing!!!
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Old 08-12-2015   #18 (permalink)
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Tuesday, Day 3 - Melk, Austria

Melk, Austria is a little village in the Wachau Valley that exists primarily because of the Abbey that sits atop the village. It is a Benedictine Abbey, founded I think in the 1100's, and restored in the 1700's. There are still 30 monks in the Abbey, 15 of them in residence and the others at surrounding parishes. There is also a school of about 900 children - it was vacation time, so we didn't get to see the kids, that would have been fun.

As we cruised up to Melk, the Abbey came into view



Cute little pub/store on the way to the Abbey



Abbey entrance



Courtyard



Frescoes on the ceiling of the "ball room"



I thought this was cool. The windows lead to the room up high where the band played for entertainment. You open and shut the windows to regulate the volume of the band. We could use this at some weddings I've been to...



Corridor where rooms are for guests



This is NOT my photo. We weren't allowed to take photos in the library...there are 10,000 books and manuscripts in 10 rooms. Unbelievable.



The "chapel"....holy cow



The most GOLD we saw in any church on the trip. Just breathtaking.





Ceiling frescoes in the chapel



Cadaver of an unnamed saint.....ewww!!



View of Melk from the Abbey



Pics around the abbey





Then, walking down the hill through the town of Melk back to the ship...











Ice cream break!!!





Here we are, back at our ship, the Viking Njord....which wasn't SUPPOSED to be our ship. A little snag, to say the least.....more on that tomorrow, the day in Passau, Germany.

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Old 08-12-2015   #19 (permalink)
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During this trip from Budapest to Nuremburg, the ship went through 27 locks. The majority of them raised us up to the water level, but a few lowered us down. Lots of them were overnight, and sometimes the feeling of the ship "tucking in" to the lock woke us up for a minute.

I found these locks to be fascinating - an engineering marvel.

We went through this one after we left Melk on our way to Passau, Germany.

As we approached the lock, we sidled up to a sister ship. Yes, we are going to fit in there....





Once they raise the wall behind you, the water streams down the front of the lock, which is slowly lowered while the ship rises up with the water.



Getting up there



Just about to the top!!! There is a ship in the distance waiting to go the other way.



Great stuff!
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Old 08-12-2015   #20 (permalink)
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Loving your report. Doing a Viking cruise has been on my radar lately.
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Old 08-13-2015   #21 (permalink)
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I must get a brochure a week. I thought it would be a great trip,and after reading Debbie's report I have to figure out a way to do this. And soon.
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Old 08-13-2015   #22 (permalink)
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Thanks for this Report... I should know more of these cities since I live closer but actually I don't, therefore your Report is very interesting to me! I have only been to Vienna for a daytrip with a friend and we were overwhelmed by all those big majestic buildings. Nothing small around there...
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Old 08-13-2015   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb1 View Post
I must get a brochure a week. I thought it would be a great trip,and after reading Debbie's report I have to figure out a way to do this. And soon.
My MIL has a great saying.... she's Irish Catholic and 95 years old....

"You're gonna be dead a long time."

Go for it
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Old 08-13-2015   #24 (permalink)
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My brother-in-law will be 78 this year.After inviting them to Playa many,many times I finally said "When DO you think you're going to come with us?". We had a great time.
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Old 08-13-2015   #25 (permalink)
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Wednesday: The ship-switch day.

So... before we left on this trip, we got an email stating that we would not be taking the ship we thought, due to low water levels in the Danube. The ship we took was identical (I think they all are) to the one we were scheduled to take, and at the onset in Budapest, we were warned that if it didn't rain upriver during our first few days out, we would indeed have to switch ships. There was a section of the Danube that was impassible due to the lack of rain an unusually high temperatures they had been having.
This section was between Passau and Regensburg, Germany. So...we left Melk on Tuesday evening, and sailed to a small town called Linz, where the ship docked on Wednesday morning; we couldn't dock in Passau even though we could get there, because the docks were full.

Viking did a wonderful job getting us through this glitch - the worst part of it was we had to pack all our stuff up, after having painstakingly figured out where to put everything in these rooms. We packed our bags early in the morning, left them in our staterooms, and boarded a bus for Passau. this was a 1-1/2 hour bus ride, but we arrived in Passau around 10am, and the drive was on the riverbank, and very scenic. We were able to get the day in Passau, and then boarded a bus again for another 1-1/2 hour bus ride to Regensburg, Germany, where we boarded our ORIGINALLY intended ship, the Viking Freya. Our luggage awaited in the exact same staterooms...so really, it was just a minor inconvenience. It could have been much worse - we heard stories of ships on the Rhine losing 3-4 days and being bussed to hotels for half their trip. After all, if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, there's not much you can do. *shrug*

Since we had a bit of a shortened time in Passau, I don't have as many pictures. However, this is where I realized that I need to go back to Bavaria! What charming towns we saw, and Passau was a gem. They call themselves the "Northernmost town in Italy" - of course, Italy is far off. But walking down the streets of Passau, I heard Italian being spoken as often as German, but I still don't know why there are many Italians in Passau.

Passau is on a peninsula, where 3 rivers meet. The Ilz, the Inn, and the Danube.

NOT my photo:



Another Saint Stephen's Cathedral. He's big over there We heard an organ concert in the church, it was beautiful. HUGE organ, and pipes all over the church.







After the concert, they took us to lunch in town, since the ship wasn't there... what a great job the place did, I think it was weinerschnitzel and cabbage, yumm. And bier, of course.

Some photos around the town of Passau, before we boarded the bus for our second ship:

Umbrella decor











Every town has a "castle on the hill"



inside another, smaller church





I couldn't resist this one....think the dog in back was the model??



CUTE CUTE cafe sign...under the name of the cafe, it says: "A tiny Venice in Passau". Sign is half German, half Italian....



Along this stretch of the Danube, it floods. A lot. Often. Unlike this year when it's very low. They aren't permitted to have residences on the first floor of buildings - only commercial space. Apartments don't start until the second floor....because no one can get insurance!!

The markings on this building tell it all - that's a tall doorway to the left. 2013 was a bad year.

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Old 08-13-2015   #26 (permalink)
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Oh yeah, and we bought a cuckoo clock in Passau. This is the ONLY thing we bought on this trip - we are not big shoppers, have had more than our share of trinkets from trips....but this seemed perfect, since the town we live in, and our house, have a bit of a bavarian flare to them. Wish I could find a picture, it's a great clock, with a guy sitting in front of the chalet drinking beer, and he bangs the beer on the table when the cuckoo clucks.

Caught up with the ship somewhere between Passau and Regensburg, unpacked (AGAIN), and had a bavarian dinner night. To compensate for the inconvenience, the ship announced an open bar all night.....BIG DEAL!!! We already HAD that!! But man, people came out of the woodwork to slurp up the booze that night.......

Tomorrow - Regensburg and Kelheim

Here's a photo I took from the "living room" of the suite into the bedroom. Hilariously bad, but I couldn't figure out how to photograph these rooms. They are quite small.

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Old 08-14-2015   #27 (permalink)
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Now we are at.... Thursday, I think. Everything's running together!

Today we spent in Regensburg and Kelheim, Germany. Another big town/small city in Bavaria - this one has a University with 30,000 students, so it's a bustling place. Again, history, pride, and beauty abound. The amount of restoration that's been done in these cities is amazing.

We spent the morning in Regensburg. I really want to go back to this area, have I mentioned that??

Spires of St. Peter's church, central landmark of the town



Side of church, being restored, of course







Ancient Roman wall from 179AD!!!





David and Goliath painted on a building....apparently Schindler (as in, Schindler's list) lived here


Old Town Hall - picture roman leaders on this balcony


Entrance to the Old Stone Bridge, which was completely covered for restoration. Couldn't even see it. This is the kind of architecture that my town has...it was founded by Bavarians in the 1920's.



New Town Hall - with a Rathskellar on the first floor! Perfect



Pretty street scenes













AAHHHHHHH the Wurstkuchl!!!! The Sausage Kitchen!!
This place dates back to the middle ages. It's the oldest restaurant in Germany - right on the shores of the Danube, and it's a gem.



Instead of going to the ship for lunch, we ate here. You sit, they take your order (there are about....3 choices .... 6, 10, or 15 sausages). 3 kinds of beer...and that's it. Comes fast and I don't think I will EVER eat a Johnsonville bratwurst again without drooling for one of these. This may have been the best meal we had on the trip, in its own way.



Let me tell you about this rye roll and the sweet mustard, and...OH MAN, I can taste it....

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Old 08-14-2015   #28 (permalink)
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After lunch, we took one of our few "optional" excursions - a ferry ride from Kelheim on the Danube narrows, which is the narrowest yet deepest part of the river. There were beautiful rock formations along the way (400 foot chalk cliffs), and we ended at the Weltenburg Abbey, where again there are still some monks in residence who have brewed dark beer there since the 1100's!! Interesting for monks, eh??

On the way to Kelheim, we visited the Liberation Hall, a monument that towers way above the town. This isn't my photo, because AGAIN, it was mostly covered at the bottom for restoration



View of Kelheim and probably Regensburg from the monument. That's the Danube!



Cruise through the narrows







Weltenburg Abbey on the left



Church in the Abbey



I thought I took more pix at the Abbey, but apparently not...

Back to Kelheim to a biergarten for a snack and a bier!!



Oops - ate some pretzel before the photo



Pretty vines on the building



and on those vines...



So I guess they were pear trees!!!

Exhausting day. Tomorrow - Nuremburg, Germany!!
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Old 08-16-2015   #29 (permalink)
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great report and pictures......and the bonus Notre Dame hat.
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Old 08-16-2015   #30 (permalink)
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Great photos! Looks like a fantastic trip.
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