This week we are still on our Viking River Cruise on the Danube River from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. We are having an amazing time, and I can't wait to share some of the real-life travel and adventures we have been experiencing this week.
If I am completely honest, I am so turned around on what day it is I have had to look at my cell phone to see if it is Monday or Tuesday or who knows what day. We also keep having to check what time it is at home, so we don't call my parents at 2 am in our excitement to share a story with them.
Travel and Adventure Diary - Viking River Cruise
Sunday - Cesky Krumlov
Today I fell madly deeply in love with Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. I had honestly never heard of this city before we started planning our Viking River Cruise.
I have of course heard about Prague, but that is really the only Czech city I was slightly aware of. After spending the day in Cesky Krumlov, I am in LOVE!
I want to book more Viking River Cruises or an extended stay in Cesky Krumlov, so I can spend more time exploring the small alleys and walkways in this city.
We took a gentle walking tour for the day so we could see what it was all about. It ended up being perfect because it gave us more time to explore the city on our own.
I can't wait to share some of the hundreds of pics we took during the day. Don't worry we won't share all of them..most likely 🙂
One life lesson that we were reminded up during this day trip is to buy the souvenir when you see it. John saw a $3 Euro bottle of wine at a Czech gas station and decided to wait to get it until we were on our way back to the ship.
Well, we never stopped at the gas station again. Oops!
Monday - Melk, Austria and Wachau Valley
The morning started in Melk, Austria with a walking tour of the famous Melk Abbey. I honestly almost didn't make it on the tour. I woke up feeling blah and completely run down. I was really close to just pulling the blankets over my head and hiding out for the morning.
It was one of those mornings that the thought of moving is just painful and you don't want to do it. After a few minutes, John convinced me to at least go on the walking tour and that I would regret it if I didn't. Dang it he was right! I still didn't feel a hundred percent, but I sucked it up and went on the walking tour and enjoyed it.
This was on the toilet paper dispenser in the abbey...it made me giggle way too much. I am either regressing to a 12-year-old boy or way too tired. 🙂
When we got back on the ship I crawled back in bed for an hour and tried to sleep off whatever was happening with my body. The afternoon was spent cruising the Wachau Valley which made for a chill day sitting on the top deck.
I bundled up in all my winter gear and watched the world go by. One of the highlights was the crew bringing Baileys and hot chocolate shots as a treat for guests. These tasted like a million dollars while sitting outside in November.
The evening was spent drinking Austrian wine on a Wachau Valley Wine Tasting Tour. I figured why not wipe out whatever bug was in my system with wine.
It couldn't hurt to at least try and see if it would work. We had the BEST time on this excursion.
Even not feeling 100% I couldn't help but laugh, drink, and just have so much fun. The guide Trinka and the winemaker got along so well you felt like you were watching a pair of siblings play off each other.
This may have been the best excursion we have gone on in a long time. I would do it again just to interact with Trinka and the winemaker again. Plus the wines were pretty darn delicious so that was a bonus.
The winery produces the house wines on the Viking River Cruises that we have been enjoying with lunch and dinner. One of the cool things about cruising with Viking is wine and beer are included at lunch and dinner.
I know you are wondering why I am sharing a pic of the back of people's heads. I get it.
This pic to me shows the Viking difference that we experienced during our cruise. The woman on the right is Nina the concierge from the Viking Vili.
The woman on the left is a passenger. A Viking staff member went with us on almost all of our tours. They take pics to show off on the ship with highlights of the cruise and they have fun with the guests. It was so cool seeing a staff member have fun with guests and hang out with them.
Tuesday - Vienna
Woke up to an amazing sunrise and swans outside our room..seems like a good way to start the day.
Fresh baked croissants and jam made onboard = I ate WAY too many croissants this trip! BUT I LOVED THEM!!
So hopefully the walking tours make up for all the yummy goodness.
OH Vienna! I wasn't sure what to expect from Vienna. I knew it was the largest city in Austria so I pictured it is really just a big city. Imagine my surprise when immersed in the middle of the city is gorgeous architecture and more Christmas lights than I could imagine.
Sadly the Christmas lights don't get turned on until Friday, and we will already be out of town. Thus we need to return to Vienna and see them during Christmas at some point soon!
My family has a competition to see who can visit the most Hard Rock Cafes. It has been going on for probably 20+ years. You can imagine my joy when our walking tour went right by the Vienna HRC.
I might have giggled as I uploaded pics to my Mom's Facebook page and let her know we got another one. This was the 2nd one we have seen this trip! We also checked off Munich. Woot!
Confession: We came back from our walking tour and promptly fell into bed and took a really long nap. We could have spent more time in the city but both John and I were worn out. We literally walked in from the tour, put on our pajamas, and face planted in the bed. I woke up and it was dark outside and we had slept for hours. Our bodies were telling us we needed to just slow down for a few minutes.
Randomly I saw this quiz on Facebook and decided to ask John his answers. It was hilarious hearing his answers.
WITHOUT prompting, ask your spouse these questions and write EXACTLY what they say.
•What is something I always say?
•What makes me happy?
Starbucks Chai tea
•What makes me sad?
•How tall am I?
5 ft 4
•What's my favorite thing to do?
•What do I do when you're not around?
Fret, worry about me
•If I become famous, what will it be for?
Drinking chai tea and the blog
•What makes you proud of me?
Where do I start...
•What is my favorite food?
Cheese, brie cheese
•What is my favorite restaurant?
•Where is my favorite place to visit?
•If I could go anywhere, where would it be?
Galapagos or South Africa
•How do I annoy you?
Rubbing the back of my arm, tickling me
•What is my favorite movie?
Sweet home Alabama
•Who is my celebrity crush?
LOL, So many of these answers are right on. I would like to think that I am taller than 5'4 but I haven't measured myself lately. Granted when your husband is 6'3 I am pretty sure you always feel short.
Wednesday - Bratislava
Thursday - Budapest
Happy Thanksgiving from Budapest, Hungary!!! Country #55 for me and a new one for John also!
We did a bus/walking tour of Budapest to start the morning. This was the perfect way to get our brains wrapped around this large city spread out on two sides of the river.
The bus tour took us through the Buda side which is the hilly side. We had the chance to see the famous sites and then head back to the Pest side, which is flat, for the rest of the day.
Still in Birkenstocks....
So happy we decided to get pedicures on our way to the airport before this trip. I have been showing off my toes way to much to not have cute toes.
This afternoon we soaked our cares away and turned to prunes while relaxing in a hot thermal pool.
We also went into a sauna that was between 80 to 100 degrees Celcius. We lasted maybe a minute! I tried a frozen plunge pool. The first time I made it to my ankles and had to get out.
Then I told myself I was there and I had to do it...I made it to my chest and that was more than enough for me. Holy *!!** COLD!
We celebrated Thanksgiving on the Viking Vili. The chefs made a Thanksgiving feast for everyone.
It was our last night on the ship and actually really sad. We had spent 10+ days with many of the people on board and we were sad to not see them again. The night was spent with a lot of hugs, laughs, and exchanges of emails/addresses.
One thing about being on a small ship is you don't have a choice but to be social and meet amazing people.
I know you expected a pic of turkey but this cake won the night for me. HELLO YUM!
The other sad part about it being our last night = Packing. UHM...were did all of this stuff come from and how are we going to fit it into suitcases. The Christmas markets = lots of fun gifts = I don't know were it is all going to fit.
Friday - Budapest
This is Flor, our rockstar waitress/friend/amazing person! She kept us smiling and laughing every day on the Viking Vili. She was so funny and I love that John is almost as tall as she is when he is sitting down.
She might be small in stature but she more than dished it back to John which was perfect. I LOVED IT! Flor was so much fun and I really hope we get to see her again soon.
Packing, breakfast, and then we were off the Viking Vili and headed to a hotel. So I have to admit something...
I completely misjudged what day we actually departed the ship. For some reason, in my head, I thought we left the ship on Saturday and went straight to the airport.
Thankfully earlier in the week it dawned on me that we actually left on Friday. We took a cab to the Marriott in Budapest and they thankfully had space for us and let us check-in at 9 am.
Bonus for having status with Marriot - early check-in and lounge access with a killer view. They also upgraded us to a room with a view of the river and Buda Castle.
Oops Mom, we did it again. LOL!
As soon as we were in the room I face-planted on the bed and slept for 2 hours. I was out! I am not sure what hit me but the bed was crazy comfy and I needed to bond with the pillows.
Thankfully I only slept a couple of hours so we didn't miss the Budapest Christmas Market! So much fun! So much good food. Oh my gosh, the food. We ate our way through the market.
Confession -We fell asleep by about 730pm! We were out.
Saturday - Heading home
4:30 am we met up with our taxi driver to head to the airport. Probably a good thing we went to bed at 7:30 pm last night.
The day was spent flying, waiting around, flying, and trying not to lose my mind.
John found macaroons that perfectly matched my travel bag. I don't think he planned it but it was a fun treat. Probably not the healthiest of breakfast but they tasted amazing.
We stood in the middle of a gift store counting out the last of our Hungarian Forint to see if we had enough to buy anything. Trying to use it up so we didn't bring it home.
We spent hours at London Heathrow airport. Somehow I totally missed the memo that we had a 4-hour layover.
We did manage to get pics with a Harrod's Bear and Buckingham Palace Guard. Sort of. 🙂
The flight from London to Seattle was long and slightly painful. The gentleman next to me smelled like he had bathed in cologne.
I ended up getting a pretty bad headache and having to meditate a bit along with taking some pain pills. Sadly neither John nor I managed to get any sleep.
By the time we reached Seattle, I was done. We grabbed a Starbucks Chai which tasted so good! Thank god for a bit of caffeine to push me through to getting home.
I crawled on to the flight from Seattle to Spokane and was sound asleep before we even took off. I woke up when we landed in Spokane. Seriously hoping I wasn't snoring or drooling on the flight.
Don't think I made it more than 15 minutes at home before I curled up in bed and was out.
In case you missed them check out our other weekly diary posts
Week 2 = The start of our European adventures
We were guests of Viking on the Viking Vili. All opinions are my own. Pretty sure no one else would talk about my toes or my Birkenstocks or post selfies like I do 🙂