At dinner that first night in Vienna, there is an optional wine tasting at Heurigen Wolff. Heurigens are wine taverns that serve their food family-style. They usually have lively music, such as an accordion band playing traditional Viennese songs, a rustic décor, and may have outdoor seating in an open courtyard. Heurigen Wolff is one of the oldest, opened in 1609, and definitely the most famous Heurigen in Austria. Music, wine, locals, and history, all in one spot! Heaven!!!
But the next day, I will be on cloud 9! We have a lecture on Musical Vienna and then a classical concert that evening. During the day, we could either visit the Art History Museum OR get a tour of Schonbrunn Palace. I’ll have to research those options but I would love to see the world’s oldest zoo at the Schonbrunn Palace. Either way, I will NOT be missing the concert that evening!
The next day, we arrive in Budapest and … you got it … another city tour, where we will be seeing St. Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. These two places are actually right next to each other on a hill! Despite its name, Fisherman’s Bastion is not next to the water. It was named for the guild of fishermen that was responsible for defending that stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages. It looks beautiful! There is a viewing terrace with seven towers, lots of stairs and walking paths there, and between St. Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion, there is a bronze statue of Stephen I of Hungary mounted on a horse. Yes, another day with lots of walking but this will be the last one and, for that very reason, I’m sure it will be a sad but enjoyable day.
The next day, we disembark and fly home. I think by that time, we will be totally exhausted and ready for that flight back home, just so we can give our legs a break! But I would not miss this trip for the world. Seeing Nonnie’s friends again, making new ones, and watching Ed experience the slow pace of a river barge trip, with periods of activity during each stop, will be the highlights of my entire trip.
Nonnie couldn’t go on her trip, so this will be my way of making the trip for her. There are so many things she is missing nowadays and enjoying a history-laden trip like this one would be at the top of her list. I’m sure she’ll be watching though. I do know that I will be thinking of her every time I have a drink on the top deck of the river barge, every time I hear music, and every time I share a laugh with one of her River Barge Buddies. I’m equally sure that I will shed a tear occasionally but that’s ok. She would understand, at least for a minute or two. Then she’d probably frown, tell me to knock it off and get on with sightseeing as much as possible because you may never come back this way again. Enjoy it while you can!
I will enjoy it, Nonnie, and Ed and I will toast you long and often, especially with your River Barge Buddies. We will also toast Eddie Conrad for trying to keep your River Barge Buddies together. Oh, yes, and, just like you, we will take lots of pictures and I’m sure I will print off lots of information about the places we will visit, but I draw the line at taking the depth charts of every part of every river with us!