Monday, January 05, 2009

2008 River Cruise: Introduction

In early 2008 I decided I would take my long awaited trip to Europe. I wanted to travel with someone else. I knew I had to see Nuremberg, Germany because I needed to see the place where my novel is set. My original itinerary was to fly into Amsterdam, go to Ghent and Bruges (in Belgium), take the train to Colmar, France to see the Isenheim Altarpiece, do a bit of wine tasting in the Alsace wine region, and finally spend the remainder of my vacation in Nuremberg and Ansbach, Germany.

I couldn't find anyone to go with me. As the time got closer to when I was supposed to leave I got more and more nervous about going alone. I've traveled on my own just fine, but was intimidated about going to the Continent by myself. I had read an article by Arthur Frommer about river cruising earlier in the year and decided to do that. I would still be able to see Nuremberg or at least get a decent overview of it and then go back on my own if I determined that would be a safe thing to do.

I selected a cruise down the Danube River with Avalon Waterways. It was very expensive because I paid the single supplement so I could have my own cabin, but I can tell you now it was worth every penny.

Below is the Itinerary
2.5 days in Prague, Czech Republic
Take a four hour bus ride to Nuremberg, Germany and board the boat there.
A half day bus tour of Nuremberg then back to the boat, boat leaves Nuremberg.
Arrive in Regensberg, Germany, take morning tour, afternoon at leisure
Arrive in Passau, take optional excursion to Salzburg, Austria, meet boat in Linz
Arrive in Melk, Austria for tour of the Abby
Arrive in Vienna, Austria for morning tour, afternoon at leisure
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary, morning at leisure, afternoon tour
Fly home

On top of everything this was a special wine cruise where we had tastings and special wine lectures/tours almost every day. No need to worry about drinking and driving!

One of the first things I realized was that I could easily travel in any of these cities by myself. It would be helpful to know some German, but I felt so comfortable and so many people speak English that I knew I could take those places on my own. Even though I'm still unemployed and ever broke, I'm definitely going back there on my own.

Next post: Prague in the Morning


Lolabola* said...

that sounds fantastic. I can't wait to read more.

I really hope you saw the Isenheim Altarpiece. Seeing it is one of few moments I remember where I turned a corner and stopped breathing from the shock. I really didn't expect to find it so utterly stunning in comparison to any photo I'd seen of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear you had a great time on your river cruise! It looks like you were really able to experience the beauty of the Danube. I've been wanting to take a cruise and looked into Avalon as well. It looks like they are currently offering up to $400 off or more on 2009 Europe river cruises when you book by March 3, 2009. Here are the details: I can't wait to read about your next adventure!