Sunday May 18 -- Bratislava and on to Budapest
It was raining again for our early morning tour in Bratislava, Slovakia. We started the day on shore with a bus tour and were quite surprised how pleasant the city was.
We were driven to up the Bratislava Castle and had a walk around mostly to see the outside of the Castle and for the view of the city. We reboarded the bus for a drive down to the old city. We walked around the old city with the guide pointing out houses and various places of interest. However, we found our interest was with the many bronze statues around the old city, in particular, a statue of Cumil (the Watcher) peeking out of a manhole in the street. We later walked back to the ship and were underway again around noon, heading towards Budapest, our last stop.
Our journey to Budapest was a long one, taking most of the rest of the day. We passed through the largest lock on the Danube around 3:30 and went on a tour of the Viking Idi wheelhouse just before we exited the lock. The lock is so big that there were four other ships in with us, another cruise ship and three barges. It had rained all day to that point and Joey joked that once through the lock it would be sunny. He was correct, the sun came out just as we cleared the lock!
We were invited to join Anne and John in their cabin at 6:00 for a glass of champagne. We did not know that they had one of the two large staterooms at the back of the ship. Their friends, Pat and Larry, have a cabin like ours. It was interesting to see the large stateroom that Anne and John had. It was very nice, but as it was situated over the engine room, it was quite noisy and there was considerable vibration in comparison to our cabin. We all enjoyed a glass of champagne and some cheese before heading to the Captain's Dinner.
Unfortunately our captain was ill, so the second in command was in the lounge to welcome everyone. We had another glass of champagne in the lounge and then went to dinner. It was a six course meal, a choice of appetizer and main course, but the rest was set. It was all very good and we were quite stuffed by the end.
After dinner, many of the passengers went to the sun deck to see the view of Budapest as we sailed into the city at night. For once it was not raining and was relatively warm. In the distance, we could see the lights of the seven bridges coming into view. With the bridges and all of the major buildings lit up, the view of the city from the river is probably the most stunning view one can have on a river cruise ship. It was spectacular, especially the parliament buildings on the east shore. It is hard to describe but it was magical to see!