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Sunday, October 25, 2015

GAWA Day #39: The Beautiful Blue Danube

Last night we had a boat tour along the Danube, accompanied by the Blue Danube Waltz and other works of Johann Strauss II in the background.  The scenes were magical, and you can scroll down to that posting for details.  If you clicked on the music, that came from Stanley Kubrick's 2001, which was released almost half a century ago. This is 2015 and we're nowhere close to sending spaceships to far away places in outer space.  Sure, there is that white elephant called the International Space Station, but watching that movie skewed the imaginations of a few brilliant billionaires about the planet Mars.

The Danube River begins in the Black Forest of Germany, empties into the Black Sea and is the second longest in Europe, next to the Volga.  Perhaps blue might not be the exact color, but the hue is a lot more appealing than the brown, gray or black of the Mississippi, Nile and Chao Phraya.  Perhaps blue green, not crystal clear, but with some clarity better than murky, might be a more accurate description.

How many rivers traverse through ten countries, providing drinking water for 20 million people?  Between today and tomorrow, we will visit three capital cities on the banks:  Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna.

Our day tour of Budapest was totally different and entertainingly educational.  We first visited the Pest side, and here is the Dohany Synagogue, the second largest in the world.  #1?  New York City.  There is a Holocaust Memorial here.

At the top of Buda area is the Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion, the centerpiece of an awesome promontory where views of both cities are spectacular, save for some fog:

I had a stir fried beef for lunch with a beer.  I then took a short nap and awaited the departure.  By the way, did I tell you that two bars on this ship open at 9AM and serve virtually anything you want until midnight?  I picked up a sherry on rocks and went to the sun deck to see us depart Budapest:

That's the Hungarian Parliament Building above.  You'd think, wow, it must be a thousand years old.  Nope.  Built in 1904.  Yet, because of wars, it is one of the oldest European legislative structures.

This takes a minute instead of an hour.  So who's that?  Johann Strauss II.  Since you almost surely didn't know this, his father was Johann Strauss I, who composed the Radetzky March, and III was II's nephew, who also wrote music, but is better known as a conductor.  Here, 2 hours of Johann Strauss II.

Oh, I continue to be a rugby expert.  As I predicted, New Zealand beat South Africa and Australia won over Argentina.  Finals on Halloween, October 31 at 1600 GMT from London.

I must be losing my reading audience, for I haven't mentioned anything American for weeks, although I note that Notre Dame goes to undefeated Temple this coming Saturday, and LSU, now #3, plays at Alabama the following weekend.  Stanford is now the best in the West, and when will Hawaii's coach Norman Chow be fired?  The Patriots, Packers and Broncos are undefeated, but who cares that much.  The Mets play at the Royals on Tuesday in the first baseball World Series Game.  No hurricanes of note.

Tonight was the Captain's Reception, where I met some new friends.  My dinner companions were Char and Patty from the Denver area:

Chef Siegfred of Manila came by for a chat:

I told him that his efforts rivals that of Crystal Cruises.  This was a fine ending to a great day.


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