About Me

My photo
Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Monday, August 10, 2015

Viking River Cruise

On our stay in Amsterdam before the cruise
we fulfilled a lifetime objective of 
visiting the restored Rijkes Museum, 
a splendid all-day experience.

The works of the Dutch masters
were displayed in the great hall
in separate enclaves for the most famous,
leaving room for photos of their paintings.

But we have taken an oath
never to travel out of the country again.
The outgoing day was difficult;
the return passage was nearly impossible.

In between were highlights and disappointments.
The promotional literature summoned up seeing
beautiful vistas while slowly gliding down the rivers
with occasional stops at interesting venues.

The reality was an unbroke regimen of 
herding large groups of passengers into buses,
then dropping them off for two hour walks
on cobblestone streets through medieval villages.

The guides spoke nonstop into walking radios
on the local history of governance and disasters
through the centuries, and on the lives and
scandals of the royals and clergy therein.

Naturally, we ignored the lectures and
took pictures constantly inside and out.
Fortunately, the dates of each shot will
help us to remember where we were.

We focussed on the churches,
ranging from lofty cathedrals and
brilliantly decorated rococo chapels
to somber reconstructions of WWII ruins.

Highlights included climbing up to a genuine castle,
walking through a walled town in a modern city,
and a slow tour through Buda and Pest, with
lights ablaze on the major buildings.

At one point, we were so exhausted
that we had to take a day off to remain
on the ship while the hardy tourists 
walked around Bratislava in the rain.

A low point was our transfer from one ship
to another, because the low water level
prevented our first boat from transiting
the locks on the Main River canal.

Although the food was somewhat bizarre, 
we enjoyed sitting with different people
who came from all over the U.S.A. and
as far as Australia and New Zealand.

The ship itself was super clean, with
service provided by bright youngsters
of many nationalities, who smiled constantly
and were anxious to respond to our requests.

Our conclusion is that the Viking River Cruise,
as it is currently operated, is beyond the
capabilities of most elderly people like us,
and should be marketed as such.

No comments: