The morning was spent on a guided bus tour of the town followed by a delightful walking tour of old town & castle.
Visited the site of Hitler's Nürnberg rallies. A vast area, now largely decaying, but easy to imagine the scope and scale of the events.
The old castle area dates back to the Holy Roman Empire and had incredible views over the town below.
The "old town" (largely rebuilt, having been flattened in WW2) had a lovely open square and lots of charming shops (Closed on Sunday).
Set sail at 12 noon. Time to relax before dinner.
The small town of Melk hosts the most enormous Benedictine Abbey, atop a large hill. The most surprising thing about it (given that all these places are full of beautiful art and architecture) is that it is still a working school. Not a seminary, but a school for everyday local children with no denominational restrictions.
Perhaps because of this, the place has a great feeling of being "alive"; so many old abbeys and churches feel so cobwebbed.
The little town is typically quaint with some pleasant small shops, bars and cafés.
Sailed for Vienna at lunchtime.
Docked right in the centre of Hitler's childhood hometown. Not Passau's fault.
It's a lovely small town at the confluence of three rivers, the old town effectively being an island. Small shops and traditional builds occupy one end and contemporary shopping malls, Starbucks and McDonalds the other. Guess which we thought more pleasant.
Docked so close to the centre, we skipped the guided walk and just strolled around. Nice in many ways to have time to explore on your own.
Passau's cathedral has a massive pipe organ, and at noon, we joined the tour group for a recital. Loud! Call me a pleb, but it seemed mostly discordant noise for the sake of it, and the music selected was by "great" musicians like JS Bach.
Good journey, if a bit frantic!
From Cardiff, KLM to Amsterdam as usual a straightforward flight, except it was (for the first time we've used it) late. And we were already on minimum transfer time. Now we had 30 minutes!
Made it to the gate for the onward flight to Munich with 5 minutes to spare, but were pretty sure the luggage stood no chance at all. Wrong! Schipol is Dutch efficient, and there were our cases.
The sun is out. The beer in the café, whilst we wait for a flight to arrive from Heathrow, is cold, and it's only 11:30am local.
Just after 12:30pm off we go by bus (4 passengers - 49 seater bus!) and onto the ship by 2pm and lunch on deck in warm, bright sunshine. Excellent start.
And it just got better!!
It’s 4pm and the phone rings. They'd like to offer us an accommodation upgrade to a Junior Suite. Two room cabin, separate living and bedrooms, an enormous TV in each room, champagne on ice on the table, a much larger veranda. Plus staff to help with the move.
A very pretty town, with an "old town" dating back to the Romans. It was the northern outpost of the Danube legions facing down the Germanic tribes on the other side of the river.
Sausage being cooked in what is claimed to be a very long established kitchen. If only I wasn’t already too well fed!
After a morning orientation walk and lunch we strolled back for a good look around. What a lot of churches and a cathedral of major proportions.
The town became the home of Schindler (of list fame) after the war as it was designated a place for dis-placed citizens. Also it was home to Pope Benedict although he was never its bishop.
In many ways unremarkable, and yet charming and hospitable.
The evening included the "frequent flyers'" reception; far more generous in terms of food and drinks than any previous vessel.
Docked in Vienna late afternoon. Early dinner today as there's a Mozart/Strauss concert this evening - not for us!
Instead we've decided to cause shock and horror amongst the North Americans by venturing out alone into the night and visit Wien's Prater, made famous many (too many) years ago by the film "The Third Man”.
The subway (U-Bahn) is so simple to use. The Lines have colours and numbers and the map is conceptually the same as the London Underground. One station stop to the Prater.
It's massive. Alton Towers with no admission charge!
Given time of year and time of night it's quite quiet for an amusement park, but worth the trip. Some of the rides are heart-stopping just to look at.
Oh to be young and reckless again!
Fairly standard City tour day. Start with a bus guided tour around the Ringstraße and a walking tour around the centre. We opted to opt-out of the walking tour and strolled around the shopping area ourselves.
Unremarkable really. Most large cities are beginning to seem the same to us, with just a few shops showing any reflection of where you are in the world.
St Stephen's Cathedral dominates the centre and is very impressive (but as someone said earlier, seen one…)
The afternoon, however, was much more Viennese. We went with a small group to be shown around the "Farmers' Market", which has been on the same site for centuries. Very different to so many others. The quality and range of produce, beautifully displayed made it a fascinating way to spend the afternoon.
Our final day.
Budapest is a lovely city, divided by the Danube into Buda on the hills and Pest below. We enjoyed a city tour visiting Hero’s Square in Pest and St Matthias Square in Buda.
In the afternoon, we were taken to the Jewish Quarter, to visit an Occupation Museum, the Synagogue and then take refreshments in a “typical” Jewish Coffee House.
The Synagogue was home to a very moving memorial to Hungary’s holocaust and the Museum portrayed an image of Jewish collaborators - not at all complimentary.
Home tomorrow. We’ve had a marvellous time.