We took a grand cruise from Budapest, Hungary,
west to Amsterdam, the
Netherlands. Our boat traversed
the Danube River, the River Main, the Danube-Main-Rhine
Canal, and then finally the Rhine River. Our trip passed through
Slovak Republic, Austria, Germany, and finally, the Netherlands. The river trip
covered some 1386 km,
starting in mid-Europe, crossing the Continental
Divide, and ending at the North Sea.
This page covers the journey from Budapest, Hungary, to the Continental
Divide on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal.
For the river cruise heading east from Budapest through
Hungary, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria ending at the Black Sea click
Click on any picture to enlarge it.
This is a basic
overview of the river systems of Europe. The left graphic is from our boat
and we visited every city listed except for Basel. The middle graphic is from
the cruise overview and details every city visited. The right photo shows us
at a lock on the Danube. The water mark on the lock's wall shows how much
the boat must be lifted to meet the height of the river. For the entire
trip, we traversed 68 locks.
Jerrold Patz and Naimah Zakaria are on the left, overlooking the Danube
River and the Hungarian Parliament Building. The center photo shows a
detail of the Moorish architecture of the synagogue in Budapest. It claims
to be the second largest synagogue in the world. The third photo is a detail
of the Hungarian University of Science Library. Note its ornamental colored
tile dome. The fourth photo depicts a
piece of the architecture at Fishermen's Bastion, a complex built on the
site of a medieval fish market. The right picture shows Jerrold Patz on the
Chain Bridge with the Royal Palace on the far bank of the Danube.
Bratislava is the capital of modern Slovakia. A major city
on the Danube River, it was called Pressburg by the Germans and Pozsony by
Hungary. The left photo shows part of the 13th Century Bratislava Castle
that overlooks the Danube River. Construction and restoration continue to
this day. The second photo is taken from the castle wall and shows the new
bridge over the Danube. The ugly, block buildings on the far bank are from
the Communist era. The third photo is of the Primate's Palace, rebuilt in
1776 and now used for city administration. The right photo, taken in the main square of the Old Quarter,
shows a whimsical bronze sculpture of a man emerging from a manhole. The
adjacent sign, part of the exhibit, reads "MAN AT WORK".
In the left photo, Jerrold Patz is
standing in front of St Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) in the center of
Vienna, Austria. The cathedral has Romanesque facades, Gothic towers, and
baroque altars. On the right, a plaque marking the location of the 15th
Century city walls of Vienna.
The left photo is a detail of an ornate clock in a
walkway between two buildings in Vienna's heart. The center photo is of a
neo-Gothic coronation church that was at the point where our boat was
docked. The photo on the right is of the Holocaust Memorial in the center
of Vienna. Its stark concrete represents a library with all of the book
spines with their titles turned inward, as if history were backwards. It
is a somber memorial to World War II and Germany's past.
From Vienna, we cruised west to Durnstein, Austria. On the left, we are in a
picturesque spot overlooking the Danube River. The right photo is of the
ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart, King Richard I of England,
was imprisoned in the year 1192.
|After Durnstein, we
traveled to Melk, a town mentioned in the Song of the Nibelungs;
location of magnificent Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe's largest baroque
monasteries. The left photo shows the Abbey as seen from the river, the
middle photo shows Jerrold Patz standing in one of the many libraries within
the abbey, and the right photo shows a detail of the library's ceiling.
Still on the Danube, we leave Austria and enter Germany at Passau where we join the Inn and Ilz
Rivers. This fairy-tale city was founded more than 2000 years ago and has
seen its share of conquerors: Romans, barbarians, Crusaders, Huns, and the
like. The organ on the right is one piece of five within the cathedral of St
Stephan. This is the largest church organ in the world with 17,774 pipes,
ranging in length from millimeters to many meters.
|Along to Regensburg,
we enter another river lock that takes us away from the Danube River
and onto the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (see below). The middle photo is of the
Porta Praetoria, part of the ruins of a Roman fort built in the year 179.
And, on the right, the Benedictine Abbey in Weltenburg, a late-baroque
jewel built in 1716.
Nuremberg is an ancient city with 900-year old ramparts (left). It features
an amazing array of architecture including the Frauenkirche (2nd photo), the
stepped-gable 14th century church whose elaborate 16th century clock (3rd
photo) at noon displays prince-electors to honor their emperor, Karl IV. The
4th picture shows an ornate, gold fountain in the Market Square. It contains
a "wishing ring"; legend claims that those who rotate the ring correctly
will have their wish fulfilled.
ancient, Nuremberg is probably best known for the Justice Palace where the
War Crimes Tribunal sat in 1946.
||Traveling west from
Nuremberg, we crossed the Fanconian Alps and rose some 1332 feet above
sea-level through a series of 16 locks. This canal was started by
Charlemagne in the 9th century, greatly expanded in 1846 by King Ludwig I of
Bavaria, and completed in 1992. The canal allows sea traffic to pass from
the North Sea to the Black Sea.
The Continental Divide marker (both
photos) appears at Hilpolstein, the highest point on the canal. This marks
the point where the river current changes direction (and our boat changed
speed). Water to the west of the marker flows down to the North Sea while
water to the east of the marker flows towards the Black Sea.
certificate was issued to document our crossing the continental divide, and
although we made the crossing at 0800, champagne was served.
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