BRATISLAVA TO BUDAPEST

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On the way to Budapest to meet the River Voyager, our home for the next 16 days, our pre-extension group enjoyed a wonderful community-hosted lunch in the tiny village of Dunaalmas, Hungary.  We were greeted by the villagers dressed in traditional Slovakian costumes, and one of the little girls held out a basket of freshly baked flatbread with garlic butter, similar to Indian naan.  Next, we were given glasses of locally-produced liquor to enjoy before watching flat bread and strudel-making demonstrations.  Some of the group rolled up their sleeves to assist, but I got a kick out watching the older of the two girls teaching her little sister the fine art of making strudel.  At her young age, she was already an expert at handling the dough.

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Lunch was traditional vegetable and beef soup served in a crock with a pastry cap baked over the top.  Along with some tasty local wine, we were completely satisfied.  Then, the strudel was served.  It kept coming, and coming!  In all, we had three types of strudel:  cottage cheese, apple, and cherries with poppy seeds.  It was amazingly delicious (especially for not being chocolate!), and we were overwhelmed by the feast we had been served.

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Needless to say, the remainder of the bus ride to Budapest was quiet.  Very quiet.  I think most of our group crashed on the bus for an afternoon siesta.

Upon arrival to Budapest, we were welcomed aboard by the entire staff of the River Voyager, Vantage Travel’s newest riverboat in their fleet.  Just thirteen voyages old, the 175-passenger (and 46-crew) vessel looked sparkling brand new.  I was impressed at how much more beautiful and technologically updated it was compared to the previous Vantage riverboats I had traveled on in the past.

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What we didn’t know until just recently is that we came very close to not being able to cruise the Danube at all.  Just two days before our sailing, the river level was too high from flooding for riverboats to be able to pass under the lower bridges.  If that had still been the case, we would have had to be bussed from place to place—not our idea of a river cruise!  Needless to say, all of us aboard the River Voyager feel extremely fortunate to be able to cruise the Danube, Main, and Rhine!

 

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