Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bratislava then Vienna

We woke early after cruising all night through Hungary. This is the top deck of the boat where I came out to see the sites and read a book that my friend Debbie gave me for my birthday. The Middle Place is a quick, easy, read about dealing with family and illness.

There are 11 locks to pass through on the trip from Budapest to Passau and here we approach "Gabcikovo" the first and largest of the locks.

 John was making sure the ship was not getting too close to the cement wall of the lock . "Is 5 inches too close?" They hook the ship up to 3 points along the wall and the hooks move up with the boat as the water rises.
They had 3 big river boats in the lock with us, and we are 410 feet long.  The lock is 902 ft. long by 112 ft. wide and the water rises 59 feet. Did I mention we are 5 inches away from the wall?

Here we are at noon coming into Bratislava in Slovakia.  You can see the Castle fortress in the background all dressed in scaffolding. Many buildings were dressed like this along the way and this city in particular had MUCH construction and renovation going on.  

Here is the bridge the Soviets built that the locals call UFO bridge. Across on the other side of the river you see an apartment city where the people lived in the 1960's and 1970's when in full swing of Soviet rule. The apartments are practical and quite boring looking compared to other architecture around Europe. I guess some of our apartments built around that time are similarly boring.

In contrast you see the beautiful wrought iron and carved work of older buildings.

Another beautiful opera house. I swear there is music on the streets and in the buildings wherever  you go.

We toured Bratislava for about 4 hours, then headed to the ship 
for some yummy food and musical entertainment. A Slavic 
concert master and conductor that could play 7-8 instruments

To bed ... and then we magically wake up in VIENNA!

This cathedral is another built to St. Stephen.  It is in the center of the "Wien" circle and there are horse drawn carriages as well as tourist buses all around. 

It rained on us and we had a wordy, kinda annoying guide, but the city is 
pretty fantastic.

The walking plazas also go in a circle where the fanciful mostly pastel buildings house shops, restaurants, and apartments on the upper floors.

We went into Mozart's apartment and were sorry we waisted our time. Apparently Mozart lived in many cities and apartments . Just ask someone in our last city or our next city and they'll point out his house.

In the afternoon we took a bus to Schonbrunn Palace. A similar style to Versailles in France, it was pretty fabulous inside. The art, walls, lights, fireplaces, wood floors, ceilings, and more were impressive.

Here is an example of the large dance, meeting hall on the 3rd floor.

This whole wall is done in burled wood. The many pictures are surrounded with elaborate filigree gilded in gold. Rococo style is
evolved from baroque. It is frivolous and includes swirls and 
fancy carvings in frames, art, furniture, and other small details
in the room.

The fireplaces can't be opened in the main rooms and are instead stoked and filled from behind where the servants can access them without entering the room.

Then there are the gardens.  Baroque in nature, everything is symmetrical.  As far as the eye can see, the gardens go on and on. 
Also on the grounds is a zoo, restaurant, orangerie, school, and nearly anything else royalty could use.

We finished off the night with a concert in another big, cool, old

A quick stop in a city that could use some more of my time.


  1. That last one...of the vine-covered pathway...makes me want to climb right into the photo!

  2. You forgot the part about being lost in Vienna and being rained on. Which direction was it back to our guide? (I'm not correct that often with you so can you give me some cred?)