Well I hope everyone is doing well despite the pandemic. With this in mind, I will continue to share some that I might have shared with some of you before and others for the first time. This vacation was part land and part river boat. The tour was organized by Grand Circle Tours therefore all members of this group aboard the river boat Aria were traveling with GCT as they own their fleet of boats. We started out in Czech Republic for the land portion, and stopping in Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary along the Danube river. As you know I generally travel with friends ranging from two to six and on occasions could go to eight. This particular post I am doing in memory of one of my traveling partner who recently passed unexpectedly. This was her first trip of many with us, after a friend introduced her to us.
We arrived in Praque and was greeted with a traffic jam during our bus ride to the hotel. We soon found out that the traffic jam was not because of regular rush hour traffic but some form of demonstration. We had one main guide throughout the trip and met local guides at each destination. On this particular tour we were divide into four groups led by four separate guides. The entire groups traveling on this itinerary met on board when we got to Linz.
We made it to our hotel without any major incident. During our stay in Prague we rode on their cabled buses and even rode on their subway. We paid a visit to the remarkable Vitus Church with such detailed architecture not to mention the interior.
Traveling around, the city was clean and people seemed friendly and there were many visitors in town.
A major attraction on the southern side of the old town was the astronomical clock which chimes on the hour and is quite a production and draws a crowd. When it strikes on the hour a parade of the twelve apostles is set in motion. The main display occurs where the double clock faces (astronomical clock) are depicted in the picture below.
We took an optional tour to a town outside of Prague unfortunately I can’t remember the name, could have been Golcuv Jenikov, it rained for a good portion of the drive but driving through the countryside was pleasant. Luckily it eventually stopped raining so we could explore the town on foot. One of the highlight of this tour was our visit to a sort of tavern where we had some live entertainment. The owner, Mr. Mallory was a main participant in the entertainment. Beulah certainly had a great time dancing with Mr. Mallory and our local guide.
We traveled by bus to this beautiful town of Cesky Krumlov in the south of Chez Republic, on our way we passed this beautiful display of opium poppy that appeared like a land covered with a blanket of poppies.
Cesky Krumlov a medieval town that sits on the banks of the Vitava River surrounds the Prague Castle is very picturesque and designated a UNESCO site.
Take a look around this town
Traveling with GCT a home visit is generally included here was no different as we stopped for lunch at a home in a beautiful residential area.
We headed to Linz where our boat awaited for our trip down the Danube. We made a stop in Melk where some of the guests visited the well known Melk Abbey. Docking in Viena gave us a chance to experience a little of Vienna and Salzburg. We were only able to see the church where scenes fromThe Sound of Music was filmed in a far distance but was able to visit the site where the puppet show was filmed. It is interesting to see the place
and to reflect on how it appeared in the film. We also caught an opera production at one of their music hall venues(Grosser Saal).
Made a stop in Bratislava
The victory memorial represents the liberation of Bratislava by the Soviet forces when WW II ended. Michael’s Gate is a preserved medieval fortification and is one of oldest building in the city. Cumil depicts a sewer workman, named Cumil which means watcher.
Some of the views we had as we sailed the Danube through the Wachau region.
Our final port of call was Budapest, Hungary and the first impression was the magnificent architecture particularly the Parliament building. This building is so imposing beautiful at nights when lit.
We traveled on the Chain Bridge to cross the river to the hill Buda section from the flat section of Pest. From the hill there is great view of the surrounding areas.
While atop of the hill in Buda we explored and as usual I am always fascinated by architecture. St. Stephen was the king who brought Christianity to Hungary. The pointed structure is The Fisherman’s bastion where you can get a panoramic view from the terraces.
We took an optional tour about an hour drive from Budapest to Kalocsa for a Puszta horse show and lunch. We had lunch in a picnic setting with live entertainment. The chefs seemed happy to prepare goulash in that big pot.
After lunch the group was picked up by a horse drawn wagon, that was fun. While waiting for our ride to arrive one of my friends took a liking to a new friend.
Our Captain gave us a treat on our last night as we sailed along the what I would call the promenade of Budapest again in the daylight the architecture is amazing but at night awesome.
We always enjoy our trips with our group and will miss our friend Beulah who had a great memory for names of people we met on our trips. She could give you the details of events to include names we would always call her if we forgot a detail of an event. She was our pharmacist because she would always have something to take care of an upset stomach, pain, a bruise etc. interestingly she was more prepared than the nurses in the group. On this trip she celebrated a birthday aboard in style. We will miss her dearly.