Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Almost Over!

Today is the last day of our Prague to Budapest cruise. A river cruise is very different from an ocean cruise. Our riverboat, the AMA-Dolce glides easily over the waters of the Danube. Most of our cruising is done at night with daily tours at ports of call. Land tours from our ship are divided into Gentle Walkers, Walkers and Active Walkers. The included tours are just an overview of a city but there are optional tours which are more in-depth.  Visits to destinations like Vienna are frustrating because one day is not nearly enough to fully appreciate the beauty of the the city.
Ceiling of the concert hall.
In Vienna, we paid for two optional tours. We visited Schoenbrunn Palace, the principal residence of the Hapsburgs and The Daun-Kinsky Palace for an evening concert of the works of Mozart and Strauss. The Vienna Residence Orchestra provided music, arias and traditional dance for about 2 hours.
Tours are aimed at the general public. My music teacher friend may not have appreciated the performance as much as my sister and I did but the experience was well worth the money. At Schoenbrunn, my nimble-footed sister climbed to the highest part of the garden to take advantage of photo opportunities while I was interested in reading about the history of the Hapsburg family.

On our river cruise, there are only 145 guests. Sister and I are in the younger group but she managed to find a group of people to hang out with when I wanted "quiet time." We made friends with two elderly widows who were taking their first major trip together without their husbands. A small staff, a single dining venue, and one entertainment option a night make this a convivial voyage.
An onboard toast.

Central European cities are incredible destinations for those who love history, culture and music. Opera houses, theatres, art galleries, grassy city parks, coffee houses and small bars are everywhere! Paris will always be my chosen city but Vienna, Prague and Budapest are very enticing as destinations for further exploration.

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