Actually, only 5 days of this 17 day trip were cruising along the river. That bit was very nice indeed, right up to Viking’s usual high standards. We would have liked the cruise to have lasted longer – there was certainly no issue with water levels.
Overall, we enjoyed the trip hugely. Full of fascinating places and history, at times sobering, always educational, and pretty full-on.
We were both very impressed by Berlin, Cracow and Warsaw. The salt-mines were an eye-opener, as were the museums at Auschwitz-Birkenau in an entirely different way. The hotels in Berlin and Warsaw (Westin and Sofitel respectively) were great.
We were less impressed by the hotels in Prague and Cracow (Hilton Old Town and Radisson Blu respectively). Actually, Prague was a bit of a let-down, having had such a positive build-up. Absolutely rammed, to a large extent with Poles on national holiday, which made getting about difficult. It’s also rather scruffy with an misguided sense of its own importance. Glad we’ve seen it, though.
It also put into perspective much of the history that had bored me rigid at school, particularly the Reformation. Being so much older and seeing it for yourself makes you realise that this was actually a Very Big Deal.
In the blog, I forgot to mention that the reason we has selected this trip initially was for Jean’s 70th birthday on 22nd May. However, we were advised by the agent at the time that this might be a bit tricky due to potentially low water levels, which meant that we brought it forward. It was obvious that the notes were stuck on the system, so Jean’s birthday (and, weirdly, our wedding anniversary) were celebrated in every hotel and onboard ship, despite her birthday being weeks away! Andreja and Marius, the guides at the end of the trip, even bought us a couple of Warsaw mugs to celebrate! They retain pride of place for our morning lemon and ginger tea….
In a general sense, everywhere was easy to get around, and we always felt safe. Credit cards were accepted virtually everywhere, but both the Czech Republic and Poland use their local currency as opposed to the euro (koruna and zloty respectively). Weather was generally chilly, with a piercing wind at times.
We’d both recommend this trip. It ain’t restful, but you do learn a lot and you are very well looked after.
Our next trip is on 20th June to south-west Spain, to see an area I have never visited. Hopefully you will come along with us for the ride, which should also be eductional and full-on, but a lot warmer!
Until then, goodbye for now.