River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam 2017

 

 

What's covered?

Our river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. On the recommendation of Trailfinders, we chose APT, a company we were familiar with from our Australia and New Zealand trip last year. They did a really great job as covered in the Summary.

11 June - Off to Budapest and an Evening Cruise

The cruise was on an APT ship and they arranged a chauffer driven pickup. The driver was very professional and got us to the airport in good time. The flight was pretty much on time all the way but we were the last ones to meet our pickup in Budapest as our luggage was late off the carousel.

Our cabin was better than we had expected after our sea cruises as we thought that being on a smaller ship it might be a bit cramped, in fact it was a better size in many respects.

After dinner, there was a cruise along the river and Budapest is a particularly lovely city at night.

Photos

Margaret Bridge

Elizabeth Bridge

Chain Bridge

 

Liberty Bridge

 

Parliament Building

 

Former Royal Palace

 

Technical University

 

12 June - Tour of Budapest and then off to Vienna

The 140 passengers were split into four groups. The tour was a mix of driving and walking. We met at 12.45 to return to the boat and set sail for Vienna, some twenty three hours away.

Gill booked for a massage later in the week and we dined at the Chef's Table in the evening. There were just two tables of twelve for a special menu and it was excellent. Booked again for next week!

Photos

 

Statue of Liberty (Budapest version)

 

Opera House

 

KGB Building

 

Heroes Square

 

Art Gallery

 

 

Holocaust Memorial - Steel Silver Birch

Synagogue

 

Fishermans Bastion

 

St Mathias Cathedral

 

13 June - Vienna

After travelling through several locks overnight, we arrived in Vienna just before 1pm. In the afternoon we were bussed into the city for a walking tour after which we returned to the ship for dinner. In the evening we we taken back in to the Palace of Liechtenstein for a private concert performed by The Palace Orchestra. The palace was restored in 2013 and the gilding alone required 54,000 hours of work and used 150,000 sheets of gold leaf weighing 1.5 kilos.

Photos

A fishing lodge alongside the river

Passing through one of the locks.

Parliament Building

Opposite

The Cathedral

 

Technical authors who follow my site will know I sometimes suggest using the term "redrabbit" to find out what files the term ends up in. I was amused to see this red hare!

 

 

At the Palace of Leichtenstein

 

14 June - Bratislava

We chose the coach trip to Bratislava in Slovakia and were lucky enough to get front seats on the coach and one of the best tour guides we have ever encountered. George (Jurai) had a wealth of knowledge that he imparted with a great sense of humour. At one point he told us we might meet some politicians where we would be walking. Without a pause for breath, we were told to watch our valuables! After a driving tour of the city, we then went on a walking tour before being given a couple of hours for lunch and some free time.

Photos

 

 

 

15 June - Durnstein and Melk Abbey

We woke to find we were moored at Durnstein so after breakfast we walked into this traditional Austrian village. Today was Corpus Christi so the cobbled streets were strewn with grass and there was a parade.

After lunch the ship set sail for Melk where we chose the Melk Abbey tour rather than the tour of the town itself.

Overnight the ship moved on to Linz.

Photos

Durnstein

 

Between Durnstein and Melk

 

 

Melk Abbey

 
 

If you could see the height of this building above the Danube, these high water marks would be even more remarkable.

 

16 June - Train to Salzburg

From Linz we had an exclusive train journey to Salzburg and then back to Passau, the ship having sailed on during the day. The train journey was aboard the Majestic Imperator, a recreation of one hundred year old carriages. This trip is exclusive to APT as they book the train for the whole season, which helped save the operator from financial difficulties.

Photos

We understand this is the oldest convent still in use

 

 

 

One of the Sounds of Austria singers on the return journey

A railway worker's idea of health and safety on a hot day

We arrive back at Passau

17 June - Regensburg

We sailed overnight towards Regensburg but we were behind schedule. The train yesterday had returned late causing us to miss a slot for one of the locks. Our cruise director arranged for us to stop at Bach from where we were coached to Regensburg as that would get us there quicker than on the ship. Whilst the passengers were then back on schedule, the ship sailed on to Regensburg where we rejoined it after our tour.

Photos

 
   

The evening entertainment back on the ship was an electric violinist

 

18 June - Nuremburg

Nuremburg was the most damaged city in Germany during World War 2 and our guide explained how it had been rebuilt to look as much as possible as it did before the war, at least as far as the facade of the buildings was concerned. Behind the facade the buildings were, of course, constructed to modern standards.

Photos

Aquaduct

 

Tiered tanks to balance water in lock

 

Inside Hitler's Party Rally "Building". The roof was never constructed as the manpower was required elsewhere.

 


 

Opposite Zeppelin grounds

Road in Nuremberg named after former Israeli Prime Minister

Courtroom 60 - Nuremberg trials

Views from the castle

 

Around town

 

Photo of war damage to cathedral

The cathedral now

 

19 June - Bamberg

In contrast to Nuremberg, Bamberg suffered virtually no damage. After a guided walk, we enjoyed some free time in the shopping area.

Photos

 

The Rose Garden

Note the Wedgwood house

Council Offices

 
 

 

A memorial to the man who tried to blow up Hitler

Area known as Little Venice

 

Dinner at The Chef's Table

 

20 June - Wurzburg and Rothenburg

Today's tour options were walking tours of either Wurzburg or Rothenburg (pronounced without the H). As we were going to be moored long enough to go on the Rothenburg tour and then have our own time in Wurzburg, we decided that Rothenburg was the better option. Rothenburg is considered the best preserved medieval town in Germany and we would not argue with that.

In the afternoon we walked into Wurzburg but Gill found the 30 degree heat too much and returned to the ship. I was looking for a few items of shopping and not only found all of them, I also found some extra items that were good value. However, the heat was such that I soon followed.

Photos

Wurzburg Castle as we arrive

Rothenburg

 

Need a cuckoo clock?

Inside one of Kathe Wholfahrt's Christmas Shops...

... arguably one of the best I have seen anywhere

 

 

The windows open on the hour to show figures drinking wine

 

 

Back in Wurzburg

21 June - Miltenburg

We arrived in Miltenburg about lunchtime. With a forecast temperature of 35 degrees, we decided to forego walking around this small town.

22 June - Rudesheim, Rhine Gorge and Andernach

We had moored overnight at Rudesheim and in the morning we took the "train" ride to the gondola, one of today's tour options. After that the ship set sail for Andernach passing through the Rhine Gorge, arguably one of the prettiest parts of the cruise. I have never seen so many castles so close together and we were warned we would be ABC'd out. (Another Blooming Castle, or similar!)

In the late afternoon we moored at Andernach where one of the cruise highlights awaited us, dinner at Namedy Castle, hosted by the owner, Princess Heide von Hohenzollern. Between courses we were entertained by Yuhao Guo, one of the Young Piano Masters who perform at the castle. His performance was excellent and we could happily have listened to much more. It was a wonderful evening.

Photos

Rudesheim

 

Rhine Gorge

Lorelay Rock...

... the narrowest and deepest stretch of the Rhine

 

Andernach

Namedy Castle

 

 

Princess Heidi

A Rick Stone lookalike (Chris from Tasmania with wife Sally)

 

 

Click here to see and hear a small part of Yuhao Guo's performance. Play may pause once or twice on wifi.

23 June - Cologne and Bonn

Having been to Cologne on previous visits to Germany, we opted for the trip to Bonn - a more compact city.

Photos

Cologne Cathedral

 

Bonn

 

 
 
 

Back in Cologne

 

Rick's lookalike in party mode

 

Entertainment provided by fellow passengers...

Click here for the video, it's hilarious. Play may pause once or twice on wifi.

... with music from the ship's hotel manager, Milton, and Kalin on piano.

24 June - Amsterdam

Our final stop! We opted for the canal cruise and it was a very nice way to see Amsterdam. On foot Amsterdam is a very busy city with cyclists coming at you fast and furious.

Photos

   

 

 

 

Needless to say, we had to be taken to a windmill

 

A stork's nest nearby

Rembrandt statue

Amsterdam is a stag night city and today was Saturday!

One of a number of cycle parks. This picture does not capture the full size.

25 June - Home

Sadly our journey comes to an end.

Summary

The organisation of this holiday was faultless, APT could not have done a better job. Everything went like clockwork. We were aware of the APT brand from our Australia and New Zealand Holiday last year and we were grateful that our travel agent, Trailfinders, recommended them for this cruise.

Trailfinders told us that APT's cabins were larger and we were very pleased with our choice. The cabin was a good size as was the bathroom. We knew the tours were all included in the price but we hadn't expected them to be as special as some were. One day they chartered a historic train to take us to and from Salzberg, one evening we were taken to an exclusive concert in a palace and there was the dinner at Namedy Castle with a brilliant pianist.

The cruise director was Cheri Coll and she did a wonderful job. We were never left wondering what would be happening the next day, where to meet up and suchlike. At the same time, things were always relaxed. A real professional. I joked with Cheri that the only complaint was that there was nothing to complain about!

The ship's crew were also excellent. Always quick to deal with any question or get what you needed.

Amsterdam apart, the sun shone everyday. Fabulous holiday.