Wednesday, 18 July 2012

7 day cruising the Blue Danube                                      
22 April 2012
"Imagery" had 140 passengers and 30 crew on board - affectionately called a "space-ship".
There were two decks with cabins for passengers. Each cabin had a full height wide sliding door that opened with a railing.  At the front of the top deck was the Lounge and at the front of the second deck was the Dining Room. There was a lower deck for staff and some passengers but these only had portholes. There was a sky deck where we could relax in the sun or have a BBQ lunch.

Enjoying the sun deck
Atrium on board "Imagery"

Breakfast and lunch was buffet style. Afternoon tea was served.  Dinner was a 4 course meal with unlimited wine served at the table. Seating was open so we were able to meet different people as we wished. Self serve coffee and tea at any time. There was entertainment each night.
We cruised the Blue Danube at night and berthed at a variety of places during the day giving us an opportunity to visit and explore the towns and cities.  There were included tours during the day plus some extras if one wanted to visit other places. One hardly knew we were moving - we just glided through the water and so low!
Leaving from Budapest we cruised to Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz, with an extra tour to Salzburg, back to Passau, Regensburg. Coach to Prague where we spent 3 days.

Avalon "Imagery"
Our cabin - No 204

Peter chatting with the Captain
An entertainer in the Lounge
Relaxing in the Lounge

Buffet where breakfast and lunch was served 

We experienced our first lock early.  We went into the lock and sat there tied up alongside the huge concrete wall.  The gates closed behind us.  It took 15 minutes for the water level to rise, then 10 minutes later we were able to proceed over the top of the barrier. We went through a total of 19 locks.

In a lock waiting for the water level to rise before we could go forward

Our vessel was right up against the lock wall

23 April 2012
Our first stop was at Bratislava, the Capital of Slovakia - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  A coach took us up the hill to the War Memorial and Castle. We walked through the old city.

Mozart conducted his first public concert in 1762 at age 6 at Palffy Palace. (Creme building far right)
Bratislava Castle
24 April 2012
The next day was spent in Vienna, visiting Hofburg Palace, Spanish Riding School, Opera House, St Stephen's Cathedral. It was getting warm after the cold of Scandinavia. We visited Schoenbrunn Palace and its beautiful grounds. We enjoyed an Apple Strudel demonstration at the Imperial Bakery, followed by Viennese coffee and apple strudel.

Interior St.Stephens Church, Vienna

Ruth & Rob, Peter & Joy enjoying apple strudel and viennese coffee at Imperial Bakery

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

26 April 2012
Visited another UNESCO World Heritage Site - Durnstein. A quaint little village in a wine growing area. King Richard 1 was imprisoned in the Castle high on the hill which is now in ruins.

Durnstein - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Castle ruins where King Richard 1 was imprisioned

26 April 2012
Melk Benedictine Abbey dwarfed the village of Melk.  It was spectacular.  The Library was enormous with books of many languages. The Chapel was like St Peter's in Rome.

Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey Altar

Former Dining Room at Melk Abbey
27 April 2012
We took a 10 hour day tour to Salzburg, first visiting Modessa and the Cathedral with its elaborate black ebony and gold where Hollywood filmed the wedding of "Sound of Music".
We drove through the Lake District with the snow capped alps closeby.

Modessa Cathedral where "Sound of Music" wedding was filmed
Peter & Joy in Modessa Cathedral

Lake District, Austria
We visited Mirabell Gardens and fountains in Salzburg where "Do-Re-Mi" was sung, where "16 going on 17" was sung and where von Trapp children ran in and out of the trees. We walked through the cloisters where Maria sang "I have confidence" and the Cemetery where von Trapp family hid from the Nazis.

Mirabell Gardens where "Do-Re-Mi" and "Sixteen going on seventeen" was filmed

Cloisters that Maria ran threw singing "I have confidence"

St.Peter's Cemetery where "Sound of Music" was filmed

Salzburg is famous for Mozart's birth place, the family home he grew up in and his statue. The weather was getting hot and we did not have summer clothes!

Mozart's birthplace. His family lived there 1747 - 1773
The home where Mozart grew up 1773 - 1780
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 17 January 1756 - 5 December 1791

28 April 2012
Regensburg is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and architectually beautiful.  There was much festivity in the Town Square as they celebrated the beginning of the beer season. The Mayor broke open a keg  and the beer steins were filled. We enjoyed a Bavarian lunch of sausages and saurerkrant at a 900 year old Historic Sausage Kitchen.  Walked over the Old Stone Bridge.  It was 28C and we got sunburnt.
Eating sausages & saurerkrant in Regensburg

Historic Sausage Kitchen in Regensburg

Roman, Romanesque & Gothic architecture in Regensburg
 We enjoyed the Farewell Dinner - a reminder that our cruise was about to end.                     

MS Imagery farewell desert
Farewell Dinner

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