First of all, I cannot believe I did not write about this wonderful trip we took this past summer. I guess the timing of a 14 day trip immediately followed by a longer trip to CA got me off track. Plus I have had a few other issues that have taken quite a bit of time. Regardless, we had a wonderful trip, I took tons of photos, we met some really great people. So on with the show.
WE ( yes capital letters) have never been cruise people. Many of our friends have tried for some time to get us to try, so a river cruise was our decision. After much research, we decided on the Viking River Cruise company. Really happy with this decision. The booking agents and staff were extremely helpful. We made all our plans months in advance. The Budapest to Amsterdam cruise is extremely popular so it was important to book a long time in advance. For our comfort we choose a two room suite, which turned out to be perfect. BTW, the cruise can be booked from Amsterdam to Budapest, but since we have visited Amsterdam, we choose to start in Budapest with a few days advance stay to enjoy this city.
Having arrived a few days early, we were able to explore the Pest side as well. St. Stephans basilica is fantastic, lots of shops, many parks with monuments to war heroes as the population overthrew the occupying Russian forces. Many more sites on this side, but for us the area in the Buda side was more relaxing, and enjoyable with a coffee shop that has been operation for over 200 years.
Our tour traveled up river from Budapest, continually passing one after another story book like village or hilltop castle. City stops included Vienna, The Wachau Valley, Melk, Salzburg, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamburg, Wurzburg, Wertheim, Cologne to list a few. We enjoyed every stop, even though I made a side trip to the emergency room to get some meds for a sinus infection. All came out very well. The architecture of the regions changed as we moved from Hungary to Austria to Germany. The farther north the more half timbered houses. One of the real treats was seeing working Windmills as we neared Amsterdam.
So for us, this was a great experience. The riverboat experience is wonderful, made good friends on board, fellow passengers as well as staff. I feel while we may be not quite ready for an ocean cruise we will be taking other river boat cruises in the future.