Thursday, June 30, 2016

Vienna - Waltzing on the Danube

Vienna, Austria  - Cafes, Coffee, Cathedrals, Concerts, Palaces and Gardens.

Clock front

The back of a clock we saw on our walking tour.
Can you tell the time?

Here I am at
St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen's

Another view of St. Stephen's Cathedral with Jim.

Coffee in a Viennese cafe

Schoenbrunn Palace

We toured the Schoenbrunn Palace, home of the Hapsburg Dynasty.
The palace began in 1569 as a hunting lodge for Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II.
In 1775 Empress Maria Theresa added the neoclassical colonnade.

We enjoyed a guided tour of the palace.

Magnificent gardens surround the palace.
This is the rose arbor. 

One of the sweet roses in the rose garden.

Statues and fountains accented the formal gardens.

It is always nice to have another tourist offer to snap a photo.

Where new meets old.

Our time in Vienna ended with a Mozart and Strauss concert.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Melk and Durnstein, Austria - Cruising the Wachau Valley

Next stop Melk, Austria. Cruising the Danube through the Wachau Valley was a real delight to the senses.  The mountains, valleys, vineyards, quaint villages with steepled churches, and castles from times gone by were a delight on a day when the weather was a perfect 10.

Herb garden on the ship's sun deck.
Our chef is deciding what herbs he will be using for dinner.
Vineyards in the background.

We passed lots of river boats.
Evidently river cruising is a big business on the Danube.

Picturesque - castle ruins, terraced vineyards and villages.
Eighteen miles through the Wachau Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to the tour book, the legacy of vintners stretches back as far as Celtic and Roman times. There are more than 30 monasteries that served as vineyards in Renaissance days.

Melk Abbey
900 year old Benedictine abbey.
The abbey is high on the hill above Melk. The baroque abbey has 365 windows, a library with medieval manuscripts and frescoes by Paul Troger.

The Melk Abbey Church.

A view of Melk from the abbey.

Following our morning at Melk Abbey we sailed on to Durnstein.
The castle ruins, high on the hill in the background, is Kuenringerburg Castle.
Richard the Lionhearted was held prisoner here for over a year. He was accused of insulting Duke Leopold V.   Durnstein's landmark the baroque monastery with the blue clock tower makes this scene picture perfect.

Zooming in on Kuenringerburg Castle

A good view of the blue clock tower and castle ruins
at Durnstein.

Kuenringerburg Castle ruins

I visited a local winery for a tasting and tour.
Loved the wine and the tour.

The tour and tasting were so much fun.
I've been to quite a few tastings and this was the best.
Very unpretentious and the wine was really good.

BTW the narrative is based on my notes and tour information. Any errors are unintentional. 

I hope you will join me for our next stop, Vienna.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Our next stop, on our river cruise, was Linz, Austria. As time was limited, we chose to take a scenic ride in a motor coach through the Austrian countryside and into the Czech Republic to the Bohemian village of Cesky Krumlov. 

The Cesky Krumlov Castle dominates the old city.

The castle can be seen from all over the village.

Bears have been kept in the "Bear Moat" since 1707.

Wonderful shops and restaurants were all along the narrow cobblestone streets.

I love the pops of red on this old wall in an artsy area of the old village.

A good view of the castle.

Church of St. Vitus

The Gothic Church of St. Vitus.
Mass was going on as we took a look inside.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic


Monday, June 20, 2016

Passau, Germany

I recently returned from the Danube Waltz -  Viking River Cruise. This was my first river cruise and I hope it will not be my last! Viking took very good care of us.

Our cruise began in Passau, Germany.

The fortress "Veste Oberhaus" was built in 1219.
Following changes over the centuries the castle now has gothic, renaissance and baroque parts.

St. Stephen's Cathedral
Europe's largest pipe organ with more than 17,000 pipes.
Attended organ concert while in Passau.

After a devastating town fire in 1662 the cathedral was rebuilt by baroque architect Carlo Lurago. The stucco works were by Giovanni Battista Carlone and the frescos were painted by Carpoforo Tencalla.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Passau is known as the "City of Three Rivers".
The Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers meet in Passau.

Narrow cobblestone streets

Frescos in St. Stephen's

Passau is located on the German-Austrian border.

The architecture was wonderful.
Rococo and baroque around every corner.

Our ship the Viking Legend

Wonderful detail in the metal and woodwork.

I hope you will join me for the remainder of my cruise.

❤️and peace,Myra