The most appealing aspect of river cruising is being in a different city every day theoretically in the middle of the city as the cities all started based on proximity to the river. While the cites were great we still had too many bus rides and the ship didn’t always stay in the city all day.
After a day in Budapest (discussed in a previous post), we went back to Vienna for a very long day. The 1st half of the day was a walking tour through many of the areas we had visited on our own stay in the city. The second half of the day was a tour of Schonbrunn Palace. The tour was fine, but too crowded. The gardens around the palace were also very nice. In the evening we went to a Mozart/Strauss concert. The musicians were stunningly good and the music was truly special. A very entertaining evening. I had forgotten how great classical music was, especially live.
The next day was a bicycle ride tour through the Wachau Valley area. The leader of the tour was a small woman but she alienated many of our group by being too harsh and critical of the slower riders. It was also very cold and wet that day. But we did have a nice stop in a small town in the valley that was fun to walk around.
The Passau stop was another very cool little town with a cathedral that featured a large organ and an organ concert. Not really my thing but many in our group really enjoyed it.
Regensburg would have been a great place to spend a lot of time. Unfortunately the ship only stopped there for a few hours in the morning. After that our choices were to stay on the ship as it moved to another location, or take a bus ride to the Weltenburg Abbey, which we chose. We chose the Abbey which was a good visit and great choice until we found out our ship was delayed by poor river conditions and over-crowded locks. So after the Abbey we got on another small ship for a scenic river cruise. After that our ship still wasn’t in position so we bused to another small town to wait for our ship. After more that 2 hours in a basement restaurant we boarded another bus and finally got on our ship late that night.
Nuremberg provided the best excursion I have ever had. It was based on visits to the famous old Nazi rallying grounds plus a museum next to it, followed by a tour of the courthouse for the Nuremberg trials. Seeing these things in person that I had only seen on film was great, but the biggest reason the tour was great was the ability of out tour guide to give extra details and put things into perspective.