Danube Odyssey, Part 6

Dreary Bratislava and visit to painters' home

 

 

1.Flights from Memphis to Budapest, Hungary

7. Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace and museums

2. Budapest Hilton

8.  Cruise on Danube River and Durnstein

3. Visit to Holloko Farming Village

9.  Mozart and Trapp family home of Salzburg

4. Budapest area attraction of Szentendre

10. Weltenburg Monastery near Kelheim

5. Visit to 13th Century Cathedral, Synagogue

11. Nuremberg and Nazi monuments

6. Dreary Bratislava and visit to painters' home

12. Flights from Nuremberg to Memphis

 

Index to Photos / Page Updated Jan. 19, 2008 - (More than 200 additional photos taken on the Nolans' two-week cruise through parts of Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia are posted in several Lewis Nolan albums at www.ritzpix.com, a website that requires sign-in)

 

By LEWIS NOLAN

 

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Nov. 17, 2007, Saturday - To Bratislava

 

Today was an overall waste of time. After an early lunch, the boat docked in the capital of the old Hungary city of Bratislava at 11:30 a.m. We took a brief tourbus tour of the downtown area on a horrid day, with snow and ice covering the sidewalks and much of the streets we were on. Betty and I decided to stay on the bus to read our books while most of the passengers took a walking (and slipping and sliding) tour of an old church and saw the outsides of several other old buildings.

 

Later in the day, the bus took us to a private home in a suburban area, where a locally prominent artist and his wife live. His work

Reception at artists' home near Bratislava

Click Colored Type to Enlarge Photo

decorates school books. They were nice enough but their English skills were quite limited. We drank a taste of a locally produced, white wine served with white bread, topped with butter heavily laden with garlic. Thankfully, darkness comes early in these northern climes and we departed fairly early, about 4:30 p.m.

 

It was a long and dreary day that was made worse by the cold. But at least we had another excellent meal on the boat that evening, beginning with the captain's party featuring wine and snacks served in the bar. That was followed by a delicious dinner of sliced, veal tenderloin served with a yummy onion pie and followed by crème brulee for dessert. It was an elegant meal, with the whole crew displayed and introduced by name and country of origin. Most of the cooks were young men from Bulgaria and other onetime parts of the Soviet Bloc.

 

We dined with Don and Mary Dorsman of South Dakota and a Jewish couple from Southern California, Max and Sonia Mittleman. The dinner was splendidly served, with all the waiter staff on display for the captain. Afterwards, Betty happened to be awake when the boat pulled out of Bratislava, capital of the former Soviet possession of Slovakia, population 6.3 million. My thought is that Slovakia would be a dreary place to visit even in nice weather.

 

The guidebook Fodor's writes that Slovakia spent more than 70 years with common statehood with the Czech Republic and centuries under Hungarian and Hapsburg rule. "Bratislava, the capital of Hungary for nearly 250 years until 1784, and now the capital of the new Slovak republic, was once a city filled with picturesque streets and Gothic churches. Forty years of communist rule hid its ancient beauty behind hulking, now dilapidated, futuristic structures. . ."

 

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