On Cruising the River Danube: Part 4 of 4

This is the last installment about the cruise we took on the Danube River this past summer. It was a fabulous trip. Besides recommending it, we look forward to our next river cruise (whenever and wherever it may be).

When moving downriver from Germany, changes in socio-economics in easily seen. Especially in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. However, these countries also offer many wonderful sights to visit. This part travel from Belogradchik to Bucharest

 

Belogradchik, Bulgaria

Located atop the foothills of the Balkan Mountains, Belogradchik is a small town with two unexpected sites: interesting natural rock formations (Belogradchik Rocks) and an ancient fortress built within the rocks (Belogradchik Fortress).

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Cetate, Romania

Describing our several hours in Cetate is difficult. Listening to the poet who was a dissident during Romania’s Communist era was enlightening. To me, the part of Cetate that we saw felt like a commune – but it isn’t. They grow many of their own crops, nurture their own livestock, make wine from their organic groups, and promote their own art. Here’s Cetate’s website.

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Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

We spent the day on a bus trip into Bulgaria from Rousse. As the City of the Tsars, Veliko Tarnovo is home to castle of Bugarian kings. After lunch, we hiked up to the castle for wonderful views of the city and surrounding region.

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Arbanassi, Bulgaria

Located above Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanassi is a village with an old church that has unique frescos. Because photography was not permitted inside the Church of the Nativity of Christ, click here for a link to Google Images search result.

 

Bucharest, Romania

After disembarking the ship in Oltenita, Bucharest is about a 90-minute bus ride. As Romania’s capital and largest city, Bucharest is busy. To me, it’s a big city without much to offer. Sure their is the second largest Parliament building in the world, the Avenue of the Fountains, old palace, and a vibrant Old Town sector, but our highlight was the food tour we took in the evening through a local neighborhood.

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Hope you enjoyed the 4-post trip down the River Danube. I don’t know if I’ll return to Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania, but I’m very glad that I got there at least once.

Previous Posts

Part 1 (Prague to Linz)
Part 2 (Melk to Budapest)
Part 3 (Budapest to Iron Gates Gorge)

On Cruising the River Danube: Part 3 of 4

 Please excuse the interruption, but a beach walk will return next week. 

………..

Because we cruised 75-80% of the Danube, parts 3 and 4 of this series features the lower Danube -downriver from Budapest  through Hungary to Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. This portion of the river is less travelled by river cruisers.

 

Budapest, Hungary

As I mentioned in the previous post, Budapest was our halfway point. We hiked the top of a hill on the Buda side for an awesome view of the city. Visited the nearby Cave Church. The view of Budapest at night is spectacular, and a must-do for visitors.

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Pecs, Hungary

Located about a 40 minute bus ride from our dock in Mochas, Pecs (PAY-ch) is Hungary’s fifth largest city. It’s early Christian necropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of interesting archeological excavations.

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Belgrade, Serbia

I recall Belgrade as the capital of Yugoslavia. Although not dominated by the Soviet Union, Marshall Tito had a different view of Communism – so Yugoslavia remained an arm-length from the USSR. Belgrade pleasantly surprised me.

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Donji Milanovac, Serbia

This small town served as a base for the 20-minute bus ride to an archeological site (Lepenski Vir) dating back to 6000 BCE. That’s old! Thought is that the culture worshipped the mountain. Before docking in the town, the ship passed the museum. The actual site is now well below the water level.

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Iron Gates Gorge

The Iron Gates is a spectacular natural beauty separating Romania and Serbia. From the time we entered the region at 7 AM, there’s no better view than from the ship’s top deck. For me, this region served as one of my top highlights of the trip.

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Previous Posts

  • Part 1 (Prague to Linz)
  • Part 2 (Melk to Budapest)

On Cruising the River Danube: Part 2 of 4

Both the previous post and this one focus on the Upper Danube River. This happens to be the section that most river cruises take (between German and Budapest) in one direction or the other. This post features from Melk to Budapest.

 

Melk, Austria

Melk Abbey majestically sits above the city of 5,000+. Founded in the 11th Century, this UNESCO World Heritage site is magnificent inside and out. Here are two Google Images searches: Exterior; Interior: plus a 4-minute video from Rick Steves.

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Wachau Valley

Protected by UNESCO, The Wachau Valley very scenic. A great day to sit on the top deck and watch the world go by.

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Durnstein, Austria

Durnstein is a small town located in the wine-growing region of the Wachau Valley. The medieval sector (with its narrow streets) is full of shops and free of automobiles. I hiked to the Durnstein Castle ruins sitting high above the town that offers wonderful views of the area.

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Vienna, Austria

Vienna – the center of the Hapsburg Empire for 500 years – and the city where classical music is the real king. The city was busy – very busy. Maybe too busy, so the city didn’t grab me as it should. However, that evening we attended a private concert by a chamber orchestra composed of  12 fabulous musicians who sounded like a large orchestra. The evening was unquestionably extra special.

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Bratislava, Slovakia

Whereas Vienna disappointed me, Bratislava captured my heart. I love old-city-sectors in Europe, and Bratislava is my kind of place.

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Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, a vibrant, opulent city, is where 102 passengers disembarked and 104 replaced them as 36 of us had reached our half-way point. Because we spent two-full days there last year as part of our Rick Steves tour, we wanted to do different things. We our visited an exhibit of a Hungarian artist (Miska Roth), toured the Hungarian Opera House (great but under renovation), and enjoyed some Hungarian cake. For more information about this wonderful city, here are links to four past posts: Budapest, Liberty Square, The Bronzed Shoes, and Tidbits.

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Past Post in the Series

Part 1 (Prague to Linz)

On Cruising the River Danube: Part 1 of 4

Our first river cruise was a good one, so thought I’d share a bit of it with you. My first thought was 2 posts: the Upper and Lower Danube – but those posts would be too long with too many pics in each post. (That’s a self-imposed standard.)  So, I’ve decided to spread this trip over 4 posts, but in order of occurrence. This post features Prague to Linz.

 

Prague, Czech Republic

Although not located on the Danube, Prague is a common beginning (or end) point for Upper Danube cruises. We first visited Prague last year at the start of our Rick Steves tour. Because we loved it this city by the River Vltava , we didn’t mind returning. For more details and images of Prague, here’s a past post.

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Terezin, Czech Republic

Until last year’s trip, I had never heard of Terezin until our guide mentioned it. After reading about it in Madeleine Albright’s Prague Winter, and then watching a documentary on it, I couldn’t pass a tour opportunity to visit. Terezin served as a town and a military installation. The Nazis took it over and turned it into a “model city” for interned Jews. It is an interesting, yet horrific, story. I’ve very glad I visited.

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Regensburg, Germany

A bit more than a two-hour bus ride from Prague (and before boarding the Avalon Passion), we spent the afternoon in Regensburg. Because it wasn’t bombed in WW2, it’s medieval city is still intact – and vibrant!

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Passau, Germany

Our first cruise stop was Passau. This city of three rivers is where the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers meet. Interesting how the Inn’s murky water affects the Danube from this point and beyond. (From here down, it’s not blue.) Someone saved a young Adolph Hitler from drowning in the Inn.  After an Old Town tour, we hiked up to the castle for a scenic view.

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Linz, Austria

Linz is one of the larger cities in Austria. Although not one of my favorite stops, my dad was part of the army that liberated Linz in WW2. From Linz, some passengers went to Salzburg. Because my wife is a mega Sound of Music fan, she wanted more than a couple of hours.

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On Murals in Reykjavik

Embed from Getty Images

 

After cruising the British Isles in 2017, we flew to Reykjavik, Iceland where we had an outstanding 4 day/3 night stay. Not only were the tours outside the city spectacular, the city of Reykjavik was a pleasant surprise.

With a population of about 110,000 (approximately one-third of the country’s population), Reykjavik was charming, quaint, active, and unique. Although I’ve already posted about the city, Reykjavik has an outstanding collection of murals! … and Resa would love them!

Although I originally planned a more informative look at the murals, this post (the first of my Closeout Tour) looks at some of the one’s I captured. “Resources” at the end offers links for more information and additional images of the beautiful murals in Reykjavik. Many of the murals in those links are stunning!

Do you have a favorite?

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At the airport (KEF) I was surprised to find this complex mural.

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Resources