Budapest and on to Viking River Cruise

We had decided early on to do some “catch up” on our last day so started off by going to the old Train Station that Audy had remembered. Still there and still old…but a new section built on as well as a huge underground West End Mall…that runs back under the entire busy traffic corner. Then went across the street to the Libri Department store…found a good cap for me and some clothes for Audy…great prices.

Back to the hotel to pack and get ready to board the ship…and left the room about 4 PM to taxi to the boat dock about 1/4 mile away. The greeting from Viking starts at the curb when they get your luggage and take it directly to your room (we had it all labeled in advance)….and immediately felt at home and very comfortable. The folks at the front desk were perfect…check in took maybe 2 minutes.

These Viking River Cruise boats, which are also called shipped, and referred to as a ship by the staff…..are specially made long boats made in Germany…and made for this specific purpose…to transport people up and down and around the Rivers of Europe and the world. Initially designed for the European Rivers…they now are used worldwide, and have become very popular. Viking River Cruises was one of the first to do this…and they are the largest fleet now, and voted #1 by a number of Travel rating services. Clearly #1 at this stage for us.

The first night was introductory…dinner at 7, etc…an outstanding briefing on what was planned for Monday….just a great professional opening experience to start the Viking River Cruise.

Monday started with an early sit down or buffet breakfast in the restaurant, and they only have one big restaurant, but there are options for sit down or buffet, and very well laid out. At 8 we exited the ship and boarded the Mercedes Benz busses for the 4 hour Budapest Panorama Included Tour. . Very well done, and saw areas, such as the Hero’s Square, that we had not seen before…and ended up on Castle Hill at the Matthias Church. This in itself is almost worth the trip to Budapest, but the guide gave us a complete tour of the magnificent church, which sits on the top of the Buda hill overlooking Budapest and Hungary, for that matter. Photos, of which I have many, will attest to both the indoor and outside grandeur. I know this will sound like a record, but one of the most outstanding churches we have ever seen, or been in.

So, in Budapest, 2 magnificent churches, St Stephens Basilica and Matthias Church….the overwhelming Parliament Building right on the river, and the Castle Hill area and Gellert Hill overlooking the Danube River….which is the center of the entire area as it goes under the 9 massive bridges, including the historic and famous Chain Bridge.

The 4 hour bus tour ended up about 30 miles to the north, where we caught up with the Ship and re-boarded….lunch was ready…and off we went up the River…and the days activities on the Ship began. A full schedule from lectures  to a Champaign welcome party to the Captains briefing …all very well done.

Our room is more spacious than and on the Cruise Ship….and each room has a full glass window-wall to view the river and the villages and cities  that we pass. The beds are comfortable; the rooms are so quiet….the bathroom is plenty big, and the storage areas are great.

At this point, for us…this is the nicest set up we have had on the Cruises…can’t wait for the rest of today.

And, Viking Cruises will be added to my list of Cultural Events and Activities that I will be emphasizing…as this is among the very best way to fully appreciate the culture and history of Europe and the world for that matter….this will sell, as it has over the years, and I am happy to be part of “this world”.

After the trip I will start listing the upcoming Viking Cruise Ship trips, programs, tours, etc…and having been on 3 of them within the past year…can give first hand experience thoughts…so stay tune…all for now…Tuesday morning, Dec 12th……


Travel Light….less is more!

Traveling light is the single best way to ensure an enjoyable and stress-free travel experience. Why is that? Here are five reasons why less is more, and I got this from Go Ahead Tours….a partner of ours and they are great.

1…It’s more secure
Packing less lets you avoid checking your luggage. By keeping your bag in your possession, you’re instantly protecting yourself against theft, damage or baggage handling mistakes by airlines.

2…You’ll save money
The less you pack, the more money you’ll save. You won’t have to pay porters to help with your luggage at hotels or the airport, and you’ll eliminate extra baggage charges. Packing light also makes it easier to travel on public transportation rather than in expensive cabs. If you pack light enough, you might even be able to walk (which is good exercise, too!).

3…You’ll be more flexible and mobile
Packing light allows for greater mobility. You won’t have to arrive at airports as early, and you’ll be among the first to leave the airport after your arrival while others wait at baggage claim.

4…It means more time to enjoy the moment
Traveling light is simply a better, more hassle-free way to go: you’ll expend less energy by not hauling a heavy bag with you, and you’ll spend less time searching through multiple bags to remember where you put that city map! With less to pack up at the end of your vacation, you can squeeze every last moment from your trip. Ultimately, you’ll spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your travels.

5…It’s good for the environment
Keeping your luggage light is an important part of traveling in an environmentally friendly way. The less you bring with you, the more you’re helping to preserve the Earth for others to enjoy it.  Traveling light results in lower fossil fuel consumption and fewer vehicles required to move travelers and their baggage.