Home From our Viking River Cruise on the Danube
Carol and I are just home from a fabulous cruise on the river Danube with the folks at Viking River Cruises. Further, because we’ve heard and read such wonderful reports about Budapest, we went a few days early and spent a few days exploring the city and enjoying the fabulous Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest.
To make this trip even more fun, we brought along 6 of our Roaming Boomers Travel Services clients. Together, the eight of us explored the sights, enjoyed fabulous meals, and quickly reveled in the camaraderie that we found in our group.
As we shared this upcoming trip with those that know us well, we found a few turned-up noses as we shared our destinations. While most have heard good things about river cruising, and Vienna and Salzburg were easily recognizable as desirable; destinations like Budapest, Bratislava, Durnstein, Melk, the Wachau Valley, and Passau were foreign to their understanding, and therefore suspect.
So, before I dive into sharing our many wonderful photographs and stories, let me first tell you why we chose to invest our time and money into this particular trip.
Why this trip?
As I mentioned above, we’ve heard wonderful things about Budapest from trusted resources. Plus, the travel photographer in me was itching to do some photography in the area.
- Carol and I are BIG fans of river cruising, and we had yet to sail with Viking River Cruises. Having firsthand experience is valuable to us to share in our website, and it helps us to become more valuable travel advisers to our Roaming Boomers Travel Services clients.
- As this was a Christmas Markets river cruise, again, the travel photographer in me was dreaming about capturing beautiful night shots in the colorful Christmas Markets set up in each of the city’s central squares.
- It offered us a wonderful opportunity to invite folks to come along with us. We’ve done a number of small group trips now, and we find it to be a complete blast.
- Rivers were the highways of Europe in centuries past, and the Danube is certainly one of the greatest of Europe’s rivers. We saw this as a wonderful opportunity to see Europe from a completely different point of view.
- While we’re big fans of Western Europe, this gave us the opportunity to experience a bit of Eastern Europe for the first time. It’s one thing to read about life behind the Iron Curtain, it’s completely another thing to have a conversation with someone who lived under the Soviet’s domination for most of her life.
- The idea of intermingling with the locals in their Christmas Markets was very appealing to us. Not only did we get to sample local cuisines and crafts, but we got to do it in a very festive and colorful setting with the locals. We’ve learned that interacting with the locals breaks down stereotypes and bigotry. And, interacting with a local with a bratwurst in your hand is a very easy way to make this happen. Big fun! 🙂
Well, that’s why we went. And, now that we’re back, we can tell you that we had a fabulous time and can confidently recommend this experience for your bucket list.
Stay tuned for much more…
Disclosure: our river cruise experience was provided by the kind folks at Viking River Cruises, and our hotel stay was provided by the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. Thanks!
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