Prague has the most picturesque town square with pastel coloured buildings and would be an absolute delight in the winter time. The majority of the people were friendly but there were a few who would not look at you and were very serious – I think this may be a legacy of their communism era.
Our hotel had a two Michelin star restaurant – the food was out of this world and the staff were so professional, nothing was ever a problem for them. I would rate them 5 stars. While there, Jim and I decided to walk back to our hotel after a tour of the Municipal building. Apparently it should have taken us 20 minutes to walk it, but 1hour and 10 minutes later we found our hotel – I just about kissed the footpath outside of it.
The main centre is made up of little alley ways and I think we walked around in a circle because we passed a busker singing in Czech at the beginning and when we passed him again one hour later he was singing in English. Jim said, “My god we've been lost that long the busker has learnt English!”
The next day we visited Terezin Concentration camp, which was the second last one to be liberated by the Russians after the Second World War. It was a humbling experience and after going through the cells, solitary confinement cells and the execution yard all I could think was that we have a good life with not much to complain about.
We left Prague by bus and headed down the highway to Budapest to catch the ship (never say boat apparently, didn't want to upset the Captain). The highway was made up of concrete sections and all the way to Budapest it was a bone rattler. You may be shocked to hear but I think the Bruce Highway was better than it!!
We are currently sailing down the Danube River – we left Budapest on Sunday and docked in Vienna for two days. Budapest has the most magical buildings along the river and at night when they are lit up, it felt like we were in fairy land. Something I didn't know about the name Budapest, it means high (Buda) and flat (Pest) and that's how the city has been built.
We docked in Vienna (OMG) what a city! I think Jim and I walked around with our eyes and mouths wide open for the whole time we were there. We could not believe the history and beautiful buildings and this is the home to Mozart, Strauss, and Vienna Boys Choir to boot. We had our own private concert preformed by some of the musicians from the Vienna Opera and it was at the opera house. I believe music is part of their DNA – we were also lucky enough to have three of the Vienna Boy school choir sing for us. They are different from the Vienna Boys choir, but I don't think you could tell the difference.
Vienna is a city of wealth – that was easy to see and also an extremely clean city. I did not see any litter or graffiti and there are street cleaners always walking around cleaning. They are also a dog loving city. We went to a shopping centre to have a look around and they are allowed to take their dogs shopping – I mean into the department stores and cafes!
Jim did the tour to the Lippizaner White Horses while they were training. They are all stallions and have powerful movement in their legs. It takes 10 years to train them and the riders are trained with the horses for the same period of time – it's like dressage on steroids.
We set sail again on Wednesday and stopped in the vineyard area of Durnstein – an amazing statistic of this little township is that the population is 300 and the tourist numbers per year is 1.5 million! It would have to be the envy of a lot of places in Queensland.
From Durnstein, we are headed to Melk in the afternoon and will be visiting the world famous Benedictine abbey which has been in operation for 900 years. From there we will be headed towards Salzburg, the home of the Sound of Music.
I just have to tell you this it's very funny if you know Jim well. We have a butler service as part of our room on the ship and his name is Artur – lovely chap – but Jim calls him George! “George” also happens to be a personal trainer and has offered to whip Jim into shape. I think George has his work cut out for him – in the few days of knowing the butler is a personal trainer, Jim could write a book on 1000 excuses not to take up George's offer.
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