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April 24, 2018 at 8:15 pm #4580Rana GoodmanKeymaster
Stepping away from my usual I wanted to tell you, not only about our amazing Crystal river cruise vacation. I have been on many cruises and have traveled to many different locations in my lifetime. Although many of my friends have told me how lovely river cruises were, I never really understood the concept of it, but I must admit, never have been so relaxed as on this trip.
Cruising down the Danube River was so tranquil and the information we gathered from each tour guide seemed to be more interesting than the last. We learned about flood levels, the lasting effects the war has had of people of all faiths. It was especially interesting to spot, when visiting churches, which ones were totally unscathed by the ravages of the war while you could still see bullets holes in building around them.
We spent two day touring Budapest and learned so much but I think one of the most touching moments came at the very end of day two when we stopped by to see a memorial called “Shoes on the Danube”. Sometimes also called “Shoes on the Danube Monument of Art”
This memorial was to acknowledge the deaths of 3,000 Jewish residents that had been rounded up by the Hungarian Fascist in 1943, shot on the banks of the river and thrown in where they fell. This site had been set up to commemorate their deaths and to honor them. Our guide told us there is no anti-semitism to speak of nowadays.
We also went to visit a spot called “the Hero’s garden”, it featured, among other things
a huge stained-glass wall is dedicated to Sir Nickolas Winston, (from Wicopedia) *Sir Nicholas George Winton MBE (born Wertheim; 19 May 1909 – 1 July 2015) was a British humanitarian who organised the rescue of 669 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War in an operation later known as the Czech Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”). Winton found homes for the children and arranged for their safe passage to Britain. The world found out about his work over 50 years later, in 1988. The British press dubbed him the “British Schindler”. Sir Winston died recently but was featured in a film clip on Facebook a short time ago
when (I believe ABC) featured him at a theater in England. They asked if there was anyone in the audience that owed their life to him, if so would they please stand. Everyone in the theater did so. It was one of the most touching clips I had seen in years.
To say this journey was an inspiring trip would be putting it
mildly, I could go on for days telling you of all the things we saw and showing you the many photographs we took, especially of churches… I have never seen so many spectacular ones which were, amazingly unscathed by the war.
As I stated in the very beginning the idea of River cruising has really captured my attention after this trip, not that I’m tossing aside regular cruises, but checking out the options of these smaller ships I see what other wonderful options we have.
The United States has the Mississippi, there are river cruises from Amsterdam through the Netherlands and Switzerland. Or the Dutch and Belgian waterways down the legendary Rhine River and lots more.
Do you want to try something REALLY different? Get a group of 66 of your best friends or club pals together and charter a yacht for an all inclusive trip to the Adriatic and beyond… Believe it or not, the cost is not more than a regular “all inclusive cruise line”…. Call me, I will tell you how.
The “final curtain” of the trip was the concert we went to at a fantastic mansion, formerly the Wenckhelm Palace in Budapest. The group was called “the Princesses of the Violin,” three stunning young women as talented as they were beautiful. The concert was fast paced, full of fun yet classy and classical. About 55 people from the cruise attended and the standing ovation at the end of the musical selection showed the ladies that good music knows no language barriers.
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