Day 7: Krems in Prague and the Danube Travel Log
Revised: 09/01/2022 8:47 p.m.
- Aug. 15, 2022, midnight
Today was a visit to Krems in the afternoon. But before that, we woke up to the ship entering the Melk Lock and the sight of Melk Abbey in the distance. After breakfast I went to the very front of the ship for the morning’s scenic cruising on the Wachau Valley. We are sailing the opposite direction as our honeymoon, so we had a new perspective. La Professeure joined me as we entered the valley. While we were still in the lock, some other excited passenger was wondering why the front lock gate took so long to open (her first time in a lock), so I had to inform her that the back gate has to close first, and that she would be missing out if she didn’t see it (and leave me alone). So yes, at this point we are seasoned river cruisers.
The program director gave a running commentary on the sights along the valley, all of which we had already heard from our honeymoon. But this time we noticed that the director was clearly reading from a script, with no personal touches. I remember that after describing the statues on top of St. Michael’s church, the narrator said they must be rabbits because last time there were only six. But this time, nothing.
When we docked, we got a half hour to explore Krems before lunch (the only lunch on board the ship on the whole trip) and being bussed to Gottweig abbey. We walked to Parish Church St. Nicholas, all the way to the Hail Mary sculpture, before coming back via the town hall.
Gottweig abbey was a nice visit, but reminds me a lot of Melk Abbey - a big church, some relics, a lot of history, and an extravagant wing. They do have an orchard and make their own apricots and wine. There was a wine tasting at the end of the tour - I would have been bored but there was an art exhibit of works by one of the monks there, so that turned out to be a nice visit.
We caught up with the ship in Telln, and it was a few hours to get to Vienna. During the sailing, we went to the Viking Explorer Society gathering (basically Q&A for repeat guests), and found out that more than half the ship were repeaters, though most repeaters came from ocean cruises. The most experienced guests, on their fourth Viking trip, were… us. It was then that it dawned on us why we were the ones to get the cabin upgrade. The hotel manager gave a speech, partly to sell future viking cruises, but also on the history of Viking cruises, and a frank assessment of the state of tourism. He said that because of climate change, some industry insiders believe that river cruising won’t exist in 20 years. And that Viking considered an amazon river cruise - apparently it’s possible to sail from Iquita to Manus, but then decided to develop the Mississippi cruise instead, and it was under wraps for a long time during its development, during which he had to deny knowledge about it when news leaked. An upper Amazon cruise would be on my bucket list, but the Mississippi is actually a smarter business move, considering their target audience.
When we got to Vienna, it was a mild shock to see 5 Viking ships moored there. I was hoping to go out into the city that night, but was too tired. So instead I looked into what to do during our stay. We’d be here for 2 days. I decided to go to Musikverein for a concert the next night, but not sure what to do the day after that.
We were amused to find out that one of the excursions in Budapest that we’d booked had been cancelled two years ago (since covid), and we just discovered it by browsing through the TV. So the program director had to figure out with Viking headquarters on how to compensate us. This is the second excursion that we can’t go on (the first one being the one to the Danube narrows, which we can’t go because of water levels), but it was amusing to us.
Last updated September 05, 2022
Zappel ⋅ September 02, 2022
I like the idea of visiting a similar route but from the other direction! Somehow seeing things from a new angle really does open up more possibilities.