Tuesday, July 03, 2012

A Day in Brataslava

8:34 Sitting on the outside patio in the front of the lounge, just about to pass under a bridge. Got up around 6:45. Slept well except for the fact that the bed's comforter-blanket is heavy and oppressively warm.

Interesting observation (well, I think it's interesting): I'd assume we were traveling downstream, yet there is an obvious strong current going in the opposite direction. Watching two very attractive crew members (nationality...that is language...unknown) washing windows between the patio and the main part of the lounge. Everyone on the crew and staff are professionally friendly and courteous.

Joined at dinner last night (I always try to get an empty table...that way I don't have to ask anyone if I can join them) by a couple from Oklahoma City and one from somewhere in California. Both obviously very well off, as I'd imagine are the majority of passengers (cruises ain't cheap). Both are grandparents many times over; much talk of children and grandchildren and colleges they've attended. Nice people, but little to relate to.

The husband of the couple from California is definitely the boss, showing obvious displeasure with his wife, a small, dyed-black haired woman named Betty.

I find if I keep a napkin in my hand at all times close to my mouth when I talk, I don't have to embarrass myself by drooling, which eating always seems to produce.

I see a town in the distance...we've been passing through forest on both sides of the river since I got up.

9:15 Just signed up for two events in Vienna tomorrow...a tour of the Schoenbraun (sp?) palace, and a Mozart/Straus concert in the evening. Picked up a street map of Bratislava.

10:26 Just back from a mandatory safety drill, where all passengers reported with their lifejackets on for a head count. Obviously, the Viking Prestige is not a registered U.S. vessel, since all U.S. flag ships must have this drill before leaving port. You'd think Viking would have taken notice after the capsizing of that huge passenger ship off Greece before they had a chance to hold their drill. Well, on a river cruise, the bottom of the ship would hit the bottom of the river before the water came over the upper deck.

10:51 Sitting in the Library while the steward (of whom I got a photo) cleans my room. I asked him for a lighter blanket—the one I have is oppressively heavy and hot; he says that is the only weight blanket they have. I must be brave.

12:30 Arrived Bratislava. The first tall building visible says “Microsoft.” Ah, those insidious Americans! Buffet lunch on the patio in front of the lounge. Lots of food and it all looks delicious...sigh. I had flank steak with horseradish sauce, a nice mousse, and a beer. Period. Oh, yes, plus water to wash down every swallow of the flank steak. We anchored next to...by that I mean cheek-to-jowl...with another river cruise ship, not Viking. To go ashore, we will have to walk through the other ship to reach the shore.

5:15 Just returned from a bus/walking tour of Bratislava. The poor slavs...they've had it rough. An interesting city. I think I mentioned that tour travel has its good and bad points. Today demonstrated the bad. I was sitting on the left side of the bus. Everything of note that we passed was on the right side, and it's impossible to get any sort of photo aiming past people sitting in the seats directly across from you. And it was hot. Really hot. Muggy hot. When I got back to the ship and took off my clothes, they were all damp, and even some euros I had in my shirt pocket were damp.

And then I tried to get on line to post this blog and todays photos. No internet. Went down to the lobby to ask, and should have realized what they told me...apparently being tied up directly beside another ship interferes. So I'll have to wait until we sail at 8. “We could ask the captain to leave early,” the woman at the desk said. I think she was joking.

9:11 Back from dinner. Pleasant time...actually getting to know some people. Shipboard food is, I understand, excellent. I had a shrimp and avacado appetizer and a panna cotta desert, plus, of course, a beer. We'll be leaving Bratislava at 1 a.m. for Vienna. I've signed up for an excursion to the Schonbrunn Palace and, later for a Mozart and Strauss concert. A busy day.

Stay tuned.


Matthew said...

Uhhh... The city is actually Bratislava, not Brataslava.
People living there are Slovaks, not Slavs. Slavs are many nationalities from Russians to Czechs to Poles to etc.

Matthew said...

Uhhh... The city is actually Bratislava, not Brataslava.
People living there are Slovaks, not Slavs. Slavs are many nationalities from Russians to Czechs to Poles to etc.

Dorien/Roger said...

So sorry, Matthew. The "Brataslava" was the fault of my fingers, but I appreciate the Slovak/Slav distinction.

Mollie said...

Interesting distinction Matthew made. I'm a Czech and a Slav then.
I'm reading your trip blog, R, and it is such a pleasure to do so--because it's a trip my friend is taking (inspiring!) and you are such a stupendous writer! Thanks for sharing yourself. Safe travels & good times, dear! XX