Equipping myself for travel goes well beyond packing. The prelude to visiting France and the World War II D-Day landing beaches was a four-hour college professor’s seminar followed by 500 pages of Winston Churchill’s history.
On arrival day in Paris, attention is commanded by the city sights of the Seine, the Louvre, and Eiffel’s icon.
Continue reading Day1: Paris Stroll
What does one do on the last night of the trip? Consider that our 6:10am flight means a wake-up time of 2:30am, luggage placed in the ship’s hall by 2:45am, and all-aboard the airport bus at 3:30am.
Early to bed? Stay up all night? That debate was on-going when we learned the ship would be moved to another dock after dark and the captain was going to give us one last showing of Budapest’s best. Continue reading Night12: Budapest Bright
‘Tis our last day in Europe. The people here have been most accommodating; the streets sometimes not so much?
It is a marvel to encounter the English-speaking ability of the folks across Eastern Europe. I had very little reason to learn bits of Czech, Austrian-German, or Hungarian; it wasn’t necessary. How can they master their language and grasp ours so well? English is hard, as this example might demonstrate: Continue reading Day12: Bow, Bow, Budapest
The first question asked is, “Which is Buda and which is Pest?” Budapest is one city, but once there was a separate Buda from Pest (sounds like a limerick is about to begin, but no). It is quickly established that one side of the Danube, which the Hungary maps label Duna, is Buda, the other Pest. How is one to remember?
The dominant landmark of Budapest is the magnificent Parliament Building on the east river bank. At all times it is easy to discern if you are on that side. So our memory mnemonic uses that very name, Parliament, to remember that ‘P’ also stands for Pest. Parliament side is Pest side; it’s as simple as that. Continue reading Day11: Budapest beginnings
Winston Churchill said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” I similarly found Bratislava, Slovakia, to be a perplexing conundrum of puzzling mixture, a stimulating stop.
As we sailed downstream on the Danube, the first offering of this town is an ultra-modern bridge tower. The town’s castle is atop a hill just across the Danube, each staring at the other. A sign at the loftier begins, “The Bratislava Castle has been inhabited since the late Stone Age.” Continue reading Day10: Bratislava is Churchill’s Russia?
One of the more historic cities in the world flaunts her art, beauty, and culture, presenting a character that must be all her own. At every stop on this trip we hear about the significance of Vienna in the culture, goods, and rulers across much of Europe. Now we get to see this grande dame.
We found that the fullness of Vienna cannot be absorbed in the day and a half that we have here; perhaps not in a week or two. It is a place against which we are destined to compare other major metropolises of the world (I would prefer to change that spelling to metropolii, but I shall conform to the dictatorial edicts of the dictionary). It is bustling, artistic, grandiose, friendly, and more compact than it first seems. We once again walk throughout the inner city on tour and on our own, seeing as much as possible and capturing a bit on our cameras. Continue reading Day8: Viva Vienna
A rainy day in Mozart’s birthplace can still be a fine day. Continue reading Day6: Salzburg