This past month, I had the pleasure of being invited by Viking River Cruises on a special trip. Not only was it a cruise, it was a cruise for my mother and myself. It was an opportunity to travel with my mom like we did when we were little.
My mother moved from Poitiers, France when she was a little girl. Her father (my grandfather) was one of seven children and decided to come to the US on his own in hopes for a better life for his family. Spending many of her summers traveling back to France to see her family, she too passed on this tradition of travel to our family. I have fond memories as a little girl going back to my mother's hometown with my parents to visit cousins, explore the different towns across the Loire Valley, and experiencing Paris for the first time. If you've read my bio, you'll see that my love of travel, in large, came from my mother's tight nit relationship with her French heritage and culture.
So when I think of travel, most of my fondest memories have been in France, just like my mother as well. She taught me the importance of travel and how it changes the way we live and think about the world around us. She truly has inspired me to travel the world, just like she had done herself.
This opportunity to embark on a Viking River Cruise with my mom was a lifetime of a trip filled with many memories made. I am ever so thankful to have been able to go on this trip.
I wanted to share some insight on our time on the Romantic Danube Itinerary and what we loved about each stop on the cruise. This 8 day trip had highlights from many countries and is one of the most loved itineraries with Viking River Cruises. If you want to read more on what you can expect on board, go here for the full insight.
See: Chain Bridge, Parliament, Heroes' Square, Fisherman's Bastion, Matthias Church, and Castle District
Eat: A local favorite and found through Eastern Europe, the strudel is wonderful and often served with apples or cherries.
Highlight: We loved walking around the Fisherman's bastion seeing some of the most incredible views of the river. The Danube separates Buda from Pest, but is connected now by multiple bridges like the Chain Bridge.
See: The Opera House, Ringstrasse, St. Stephan's Cathedral, Many Museums, and Hofburg Palace
Eat: Stop by a famous cake house named Demel in the downtown to try an assortment of pastries and cakes. The Schneelball was one of my favorites.
Highlight: We loved walking around the different small streets, trying different pastries and finding hidden gems. We had the chance to see the Spanish Riding School (Lipizzaner Horses) practice which was incredible. The city comes alive at night, so we it was fun to stay a little later going back by way of taxi.
See: Benedictine Abbey
Eat: Grab a gelato from the local ice cream shop and try cassis (black currant).
Highlight: The guided tour through the abbey made for an interesting and historical experience through the many halls and corridors of the scenic abbey. The views from the abbey overlooking Melk were wonderful and a short walk back to the boat was fun through the town.
See: The confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers, town square, and organ concert at the St Stephan's Cathedral.
Eat: A locally owned cafe named Anton's near the heart of the town has lovely pastries and coffee on offer in the quaintest room — one of those off the beaten path cafes.
Highlight: We loved finding the cafe and spending the time walking through the streets — every turn was like postcard.
See: Best preserved Medieval City, 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, and St. Peter’s Cathedral
Eat: Traditional sausage sandwich with sauerkraut and mustard at WurstKuchl next to the river.
Highlight: We took the optional tour to the Weltenburg Abbey by way of cruising down the Danube Narrows which was absolutely breathtaking and scenic.
See: Imperial Palace Grounds, Old Town, Zeppelin Field, and the Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg Trials took place.
Eat: Traditional German gingerbread from the local vendors in the farmer's market or next to the town square.
Highlight: The history is something not to be overlooked in the city, and our guide did a great job of explaining it — a very educational experience. After this part of the tour, the old town was great to find yourself lost in one of the most picturesque destinations in all of Germany.
+ Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of Viking River Cruises. As always, all opinions are own.