Monday, September 09, 2019

Cruising the Danube



For our second week in Europe we enjoyed a river cruise along the Danube. This was our second cruise with Avalon Waterways and we have only good things to say about it. Delicious food, attentive staff, wonderful excursions, and so much more. We loved being able to slide open our stateroom windows and lean over the railing to watch the water drift by. 

All river cruise boats are roughly the same width and length because of the lock system along the rivers. Balconies have to fit within that width and Avalon came up with the great idea of having the windows slide fully open to give the sensation of a balcony without losing space within the room. 


On our first morning we woke up to the sight of green forested hills, utter quiet, and a small village, Engelhartszell, dominated by the Trappist Monastery. Founded in the late 1200s, the monastery has had its ups and downs with changing politics, religious differences, and fires. 


Tim and I took an early morning stroll around the village of well-tended homes and gardens. The blue building above is so beautifully maintained with its detailed paint work, and was built in 1598, according to the sign. 


Later, we toured the Monastery and learned more about its history. The church is a beauty, rebuilt in the 1700s in Rococo style. The ceiling fresco above contrasts dramatically with the one below. 

In the 1950s a fire destroyed part of the interior of the church, including one of the ceiling frescoes. The monks were told there was no money for restoring it in the style of the other frescoes, so a local artist, using the same paint colours, created a cubist fresco in 1957. I like the way it reflects the changing times of history although the differences were quite startling when I first walked into the building. 


In the grounds of the monastery is a garden and park that is open to all, and a playground and aquarium designed to educate visitors about the ecology of the Danube and the surrounding landscape. 


The monks began producing beer and cheese to augment their living. Although the production is now done by others as the monks are aging, the beer is still produced locally. We tasted three of them - I barely sipped as I don't really like beer at all. However, the cheese was great! They also produce a local apricot schnapps, and we brought a bottle of that home with us. 


In the afternoon we set sail downriver. Beautifully kept fields slipped by, cows munched contentedly, and the occasional castle dominated the hills. It was pure relaxation and loveliness. 

Linking to Mosaic Monday hosted by Angie of Letting Go of the Bay Leaf. 

25 comments:

  1. So much beauty! It sounds like it was a trip of a lifetime. Blessings!

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  2. That part of the world is so beautiful!

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  3. It really is amazing to see buildings that old and so well maintained. I love the descriptions of the places you visit...helps me understand what it would feel like to be there. I have the new Louise Penny book to start today! YAY!!!

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  4. So glad to hear Avalon came through for you again, as I said we thought them somewhat better than Viking! Glad the cheese was good - I'd be with you there dear, beer not a favorite, but cheese always delicious!
    Mary -


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  5. So glad to hear Avalon came through for you again, as I said we thought them somewhat better than Viking! Glad the cheese was good - I'd be with you there dear, beer not a favorite, but cheese always delicious!
    Mary -


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  6. I've always wanted to do a river cruise, so it is lovely to read about your trip.
    The frescoed ceiling is so very beautiful.

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  7. Avalon sounds like a great option! Beautiful scenery for sure.

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  8. It really does sound lovely...pure relaxation.

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  9. What a lovely cruise. I must remember Avalon. We have talked of doing this, but so many travel dreams it is hard to pick what next. Whenever I hear of someone traveling on the Danube I think of the Blue Danube music I once played on the piano. What a beautiful adventure.

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  10. My hungarian grandfather talked of the Blue Danube all the time. I love the photos you have shared! I don't like beer and have never had one!! Even a taste is repulsive to me. Don't know why. Tequila doesnt bother me at all!

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  11. Lorrie - I love the German/Swiss style of building that always features flowers at the windows. So lovely. I can see why that cubist fresco caught you off guard. I think I would have preferred they paint the ceiling a simple color, but that's just me! That schnapps will come in handy as the colder weather starts to move in. I laughed out loud at your reference to the "occasional castle" - yep, that's Europe! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

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  12. What fantastic images! I love the old buildings so much and the church is just wow!


    My Corner of the World

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  13. Taking a riverboat cruise looks like fun, and very tasty. - Margy

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  14. I've always thought a river cruise in Europe would be rather nice. Looks like you enjoyed it. Happy travels and thank you for visiting my blog this week.

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  15. Hello, wonderful photos from your river boat cruise. There is so much to see, lovely sights along the river. The monastery is beautiful. Wishing you a happy day and new week!

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  16. ...wonderful architecture, I love the blue building with the window boxes!

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  17. Have been blessed to experience that trip too but on a different boat but like you very impressed with the food, staff and ship.

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  18. I had the Blue Danube waltz playing in my head while I viewed your lovely images!

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  19. I have a River cruise on my list too, so very interested to see your photos and hear of your trip on the river. I have wondered if the cruise was too busy and not enough time to relax and enjoy the scenery. I will do some research now on Avalon as they seem to get the thumbs up by you and others. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. A Cubist interpretation of a Roccoco mural, very cool!

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  21. Absolutely Stunning, Lorrie, the flower filled window boxes are so lovely, I agree pure relaxation and loveliness. Thank you for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Sue,

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  22. It looks and sounds a lovely River cruise / trip.
    Your photographs look so good, and so much to see.
    Thanks for sharing them with us.

    All the best Jan

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  23. Oh I enjoyed your shore excursion ... thank you for sharing. You got a more in-depth look at places along the Danube than we did in our overview. ... good info about the line you chose as well.

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  24. Sounds like an amazing trip. A river cruise sounds wonderful and the perfect way to travel and see the sights.

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