Cruising the Danube


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Kongo returned a week ago from a two-week river and land tour through Central Europe to the areas on or near the River Danube. The Danube originates in Germany’s Black Forest and flows 2,872 kilometers to end in the Black Sea. Along the way it passes through four capitals (Kongo visited three of them) and ten countries. Kongo travelled from Budapest, Hungary to Regensberg, Germany and than went up the Rhine-Main canal to Nuremberg. There was a side trip to Salzburg and the final three days were in Prague which is not near the Danube at all. Everything else was on or within sight of the river.

The picture above was taken in Budapest looking up river on the Danube from the Buda side of the Danube. Despite the blue cast caused by late afternoon lighting and a bit of Photoshop, the Danube is not blue, despite the best musical intentions of Johann Strauss.

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In Roman times the Danube marked the end of the empire. Beyond it lay Huns, Magyars, Goths, Vandals, and the hordes of Genghis Khan. It’s pretty tame today but there are stretches of river in between towns and villages where the forest comes down to the water’s edge and you can almost imagine a bunch of sketchy characters from the beginning of Richard Crowe’s Gladiator lurking in the shadows.

The Danube is classified as an international waterway and is also the second longest river in Europe (behind the Volga). Through an extensive system of locks and canals large, freight-carrying vessels can navigate from Amsterdam to Istanbul and all over in between. The locks enable river craft to go up and over the continental divide as part of the Rhine-Main canal network.

Watching other traffic on the river is always interesting. In the picture below a small freighter sharing space in a lock with Kongo’s boat is also a floating home. If you look closely you can see the playpen on the after deck next to the family car. In the pilot house we could see the children playing.

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The Walhalla Memorial shown above sits above the Danube about 12 km south of the German city of Regensberg. Modeled after the Parthenon, the memorial was completed in 1842 by Prince Ludwig who was newly installed as Prince of Bavaria and wanted to honor and emphasize the accomplishments of German-speaking people going back more than 2,000 years. Inside are plaques and busts of famous men from German history.

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In the photo above, the AMA DOLCE flies her house flag, the ship flag, and the flag of the country where she happens to be at the moment. in this case it’s Germany.

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Along the river are never ending scenes of small villages and churches.

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There are more than 25 locks between Budapest and Nuremberg. Here Kongo goes through one of the locks that will raise the ship more than 40 feet to the next level. The locks facilitate controlling the river levels, control flooding, and ensure the Danube is navigable year round. In the picture below Kongo hops off the ship to play on a small bollard built into the dock wall. He’d best be spry about getting back aboard!

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Travel safe. Have fun.

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4 Comments

  1. […] Cruising the Danube (travel-monkey.me) […]

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  2. […] Cruising the Danube (travel-monkey.me) […]

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  3. dan2053

    Thanks for the great article. We did the Budapest to Prague run (in less than 12 parsecs?) on the AMADanta last fall and had a great time. It was our first river cruise and your observations and tips were spot on. And we saw the same barge with playpen and car on the front deck. We hope to go back and do a cruise on the Rhine in the future. Safe Travels!

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    1. Wow. Sounds like you had a great time. We had an equally enjoyable trip on the Rhine. Recommend that you get to Amsterdam a few days early to enjoy the city and definitely sign up for the extra days in Lucerne and Zurich!

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