A Travellerspoint blog

Hallo AmaLea & My First Oktoberfest

First Day on the Danube cruise

semi-overcast 13 °C

This longest day by far in 2018 was on the 11th of November. Prague— as entertaining as it was— all but pooped me out and after a stroll in wedges in Regensburg , I was ready to call it a night. BUT- oh no, this was the official EMBARKATION DAY. It was time to check in, un-load, sort out all the garb and what-nots in my roll-on and backpack in the stateroom closet, freshen up and get ready and festive for Oktoberfest in the town of Vilshofen !

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EMBARKATION... There she was waiting for me at just about sunset...the beautiful AmaLea. She had make her debut earlier in the year. What a vexing vessel — so sleek on the exterior and so comfy within! Her flair was subtle but elegantly artful with autumn leaf carpets and Gustav Klimt paintings adorning walls. Adorned in her interior Side note: 443 feet long and is 38 feet wide. Her sister is AmaKristina, a new charmer of the major European rivers who has been garnering much clamor along with Lea.

Check-in process was a breeze. Staff was prompt, super accommodating and smiley as one who expect for a top-notch luxury cruise liner. After a brief visit in my stateroom, off I went to the huge event tent set up for Oktoberfest. A local Vilshofen song and dance group all decked out in leiderhosen, bundhosen and all got all the cruisers who were not jet-lagged (and coach-lagged) in a jolly mood. Slowly but completely, I washed a whole stein of beer down and ate a stift brick in the form of a pretzel. I just can't call that thing a pretzel. Terrible- and no mustard to get it down., no warmness. That twisted brown thing could have sent me to the orthodontist office!

Otherwise, my short stay in Vilshofen was a delight. This town was colorful on its surface, just as Prague was but unlike the latter city, Vils was sleepy. No great noise or hoopla about this place— just peace and quiet along with quaint shops and an array of odd placed sculptures like the
"Book of Wisdom".

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My take away: BIER ! (German Beer) I await for the next Germany visit to experience a good Bavarian pretzel.

Posted by Marinarena 16:11 Archived in Germany Tagged danube germany cruise german cruise_ship oktoberfest klimt vilshofen danube_cruise amalea ama_waterways Comments (0)

A fond stroll into the past : Remarkable Regensburg

2nd Pre-Danube Cruise Stop

After bussing it 3 hours from big town Prague— with a burger break at a Czech McDonalds— I arrived in Germany. My very first German town to explore was Regensburg, a well preserved medieval gem at the confluence of the Danube (Donau), Naab and Regen rivers. Though it may be in the shadow of big city Munich, Regensburg is a dearly lauded part of Bavaria. Here is where I met the Danube for the very first time.

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From the old stone bridge to distinguished Dom of St Peter, a stroll in Regensburg enchants in Alstadt (old town). In between, I was snapshot crazy for the pastel colored wall surroundings— comparable to the one in many Prague neighborhoods. Call me a peculiar Californian too accustomed to blah-blah Spanish tan architecture everywhere. Hues of limey-green, lemony-yellow and peachy-orange throughout town enthrall me. No matter the cold weather, there is a warmness felt from the pastel wall surroundings. Back to the Dom— the only Gothic cathedral In Bavaria— what a striking edifice, a more muted beauty made of limestone. I peaked inside for about 5 minutes while a service was just commencing, then exited. A silvery human statue greeted me nearby. Maybe I should have drop a few Euros in this hat- or not.

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What I adored the most in Regensburg- the feeling of Italian! I had just left Italy 3 days prior entering Germany. Regensburg was reminiscent of Rome and Florence with an emphasis on Greco-Roman architecture throughout the town.

It's no wonder why Regensburg has been deemed as the" northernmost extension of Italy".

Ultimately though, Regensburg is lovely in its own right.

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My Take Away: Regensburg, an elegant dish of Donauwaller on a bed of beets— scrumptious.

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Source: Suddeutsche Zeitung Magazine

Posted by Marinarena 14:37 Archived in Germany Tagged danube germany europe regensberg dom_of_st_peter Comments (0)

Gaga for Praha

Pre-cruise in Prague

semi-overcast 17 °C

Emerging as a mega European destination, Prague, Czech Republic was the first stop of my official Danube Cruise trip.

  • **Note: The Danube river does not actually touch the city of Prague, rather, the Vltava, flows through here. However, Prague serves as the major city of interest for pre-land ventures of Danube cruise itinerary.

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Prague (locally known as Praha) lives up to persistent travel industry world bruhaha. Yes, it's high tourism is getting pigeon-like annoying and the traffic is especially crazy in Staré Mesto (old town). Tip: Go off season as I did, autumn season or perhaps any point from April- May would do to avoid crowds and the bitter cold temps.

Praise for Prague is strong especially coming from architecture aficionados, eclectic foodies and those who admire what is deemed offbeat.
Czech ( "Check" ) me as all these types aforementioned.

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Cornucopia of arch-awesome style: Prague flairis present from one ulice (street) to another: from the Gothic ( as in the Astronomical Clock), to the Romanesque (Basilica of St George) to the Baroque (Strahov Monastery) and other styles constructed all throughout the city. It was worth taking several minutes of figuring out to pay for a Metro to arrive to New Town attraction, ultra modern Dancing House. This whimsical, curvy architectural masterpiece by Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry is all the more mesmerizing to ogle up close.

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Food & drink wise: Beer (pivo) is considered like a meal here. Prague people are passionate and proud about their pivo. Best thing here it's very cheap in most areas- about 1 euro a pint (about 26 koruna). Prague people are also partial to eating meat. Pork knuckle is good grubbin' . Goulash is also popular on traditional food menus. Vegetarians don't have to fret though. Thanks to Prague's international appeal, there are many restaurant choices for vegging out, especially Asian options. Here's the thing: Try to avoid indulging in over-hyped street food staple, trdelnik. Yes, the cake-on-a-stick does smell good, like fresh donuts. No, it's not a true Czech sweet. Save your koruna on it. Be Czech authentic and don't give in to tourist-trappy tendencies.

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Offbeat stuff: Prague is peculiar as hell. One realizes before long that the city has a great sense of humor about itself. Quirkiness pops up all about town. Let's see: there are the Yellow Penquins molds along Charles River; creepy, giant, robot-y Babies on Praha parade and the downright vulgar/ hilarious sculpture display outside Kafta Museum of two peeing males (latter two sculpture creations by avant garde artist David Cerny). An amusing aspect to Prague and Czech Rep is the love of puppetry. Handmade marionettes— goofy and ghoulish looking figures— are featured in about every souvenir shop in town. City graffiti works here are on the remarkable side, not utterly inane spray displays. The Lennon Wall , a dedicated to beloved Beatle John Lennon and a symbol of freedom and hope , is a well-noted city point of intrigue. One would think Prague takes itself seriously with its stately looking institutions - but then you seen all the Thai Massage parlors that seem to outnumber Czech cafes.

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My take away: if an entree item, Prague would be a porky Praha sandwich- a hot dripping, meaty slab of indulgence. And of course, it would be complemented with pivo.

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Posted by Marinarena 15:09 Archived in Czech Republic Tagged prague beer capital europe czech praha vltava czech_republic pivo citylife bohemia czech_rep charles_river Comments (0)

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