This post could easily be called what I did on my summer vacation, but I think that would be understating the recent vacation my husband and I took to Europe. This is my third trip to Europe and I must say it far exceeds my first two trips and what I expected from this trip.
This time around we decided to try a river cruise and we sailed down the Danube River and the Rhine River. We traveled on a Viking River Cruise which held 156 passengers. The trip started in Budapest and ended in Amsterdam.
We enjoyed the usual sights and smells one would find on this kind of trip such as the incredible pastry shops, the fabulous architecture, the wonderful iron work, but, oh, there was so much more. I can't tell you how exhilarating it was to go to the dining room for dinner and see swans swimming right up to the window I was sitting at. There was all kinds of natural wild life indigenous to the area that came right up to our sailing vessel.
When we got to the Rhine River, we came upon castle after castle. I have never seen anything like it. One must remember that much of this whole region was bombed during World War II, and it has been rebuilt in such a way that is true to the original architectural charm of centuries past.
The gardens were magnificent as well as the incredible statuary everywhere we went. I never got tired of seeing it and photographing it.
We also saw a lot of modern art and sculpture which blends perfectly with the old.
I must have photographed over a hundred doors. Some of these doors are 500 years old and yet they have been preserved and valued over the centuries.
Our cabin steward made us about seven of these amazing towel origami animals. Isn't this critter so cute? My first one was a swan that greeted us right after we saw the first swans outside the dining room.
One of our final stops was Kinderdijk in Holland. We had a great tour of these enormous old windmills that are still functional today. The entire trip was an immersion in the culture, the land, the history, and, quite frankly, a little bit of heaven.
If you ever have a chance to enjoy a trip like this one, I highly recommend it. This was not like traveling the big cruise ships. This was a small group of like minded travelers enjoying a true trip of a lifetime, and Viking made it fun and interesting. I came home feeling so renewed and energetic and that's what vacations are really for.