The Vacation of a Lifetime...Everytime!

Linz and Cesky Krumlov

Voyaging on the Danube River from Budapest, Hungary to Vilshofen, Germany takes you through 12 locks due to the continuing elevation changes as you move north along the river.  The largest lock is between Linz, Austria and Passau, Germany.  We transited many of the locks in the middle of the night so seeing the actual process of maneuvering the ship into the lock, getting tied off, and then watching the ship rise many feet as the water was pumped into the lock was fascinating to see.  Our next stop was the town of Linz in Austria.  This is a beautiful, walking friendly town with grand Baroque architecture interesting shops, restaurants, and several churches.  Linz was a favorite place to write and perform for Mozart and other classical musicians of the time.  We spent a good deal of the time learning about the history and exploring the alleys and squares.  On our way to Cesky Krumlov after we crossed the border into the Czech Republic we stopped in a small village to stretch our legs and take in the local sites.  Once again we were taken by the architecture and surroundings that are so prevalent in these small villages.  The day we were in Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, they were having a Renaissance festival at the castle and throughout the town.  The costumes and atmosphere threw us back into the 14th century.  There were literally hundreds of costumed participants parading out of the castle gates and into the city which was alive with music, food, and beer.  Leaving the area of Durnstein and Melk we left the Danube wine regions and now, even though there was plenty of great wine to be consumed, we were entering beer country.  The remainder of our trip in Passau, Vilshofen, and Regensburg, Germany and continuing on to our weeks stay in Prague, Czech Republic, beer was king.  Some of the best beers in the world are flowing in every venue and on the street with food vendors serving up healthy (or maybe unhealthy depending on how you look at it) portions of sausage, pork, sauerkraut and bread.  The difference in cultures is profound as we visited these different countries in Eastern Europe.  The Hungarians and Slovakian people share a lot of similarities with the Austrians and Germans but when you go into the Czech Republic the culture and language show no similarities.  The Austrians and Germans that we spoke to told us that when they visit the Czech Republic they struggle as much as Americans do with the language.  None the less, the people were wonderful and even with the cultural and language differences you needed no interpreter to enjoy the culinary delights and beer.  We would recommend 1 day in Linz and 1 day in Cesky Krumlov as ample time to explore these areas.