Day four dawned chilly but nice. Every day on the VAR you have choices of where to eat breakfast. Starting at 6:00 am for us early risers is the buffet on the Aquavit Terrace. There is coffee, juice, a selection or breads and croissants, coldcuts and cheese, and some wonderful small pastries. The dining room opens at 6:30 and there you can get eggs cooked to order and a morning mimosa if you like. By the time everyone finished breakfast our excursion in Krems, Austria was ready to head out. We got assigned to busses and headed to the wonderful Gottweig Abby for a tour. It is a beautiful place with a library about 130,000 volumes, and the abbey houses antiques and rare coins. There is an amazing graphic art collection as well. The Abbey is a UNESCO world heritage site and current 40 monks live there. Our guide was wonderful about explaining its history and how the monks support themselves today. The abbey has been producing wine since 1083. We did see an introductory film with further history of the Abbey and learned that Viking had made a large donation to the Abbey and really had exclusive rights to take their guests on this tour. Congratulations to Viking for doing this. We walked the grounds and saw the beautiful church. Around noon the busses took us back to the ship. After lunch the rest of the day was spent sailing through the beautiful Wachau Valley.
The sun was out and we sat on the top deck and Dawn, our cruise director, gave a running commentary on the castles and towns we were passing. It was truly beautiful and what I thought the Danube trip would be like from seeing all their commercials. It was a nice lazy rest of the day and then we ate again, lol. That evening Dawn led a dance contest in the lounge and Sylvia, who played the piano each evening, entertained. She is a great pianist.
The next morning we arrived in Passau. As they did each morning Viking had arranged a tour of the city for everyone who was interested. In Passau it was a walking tour which was fun. The tour wound up at St. Stephens Cathedral and the really great part of the tour was a half-hour organ concert in the cathedral. The organ has over 17,000 pipes and 240 stops. Now I am not expert on organs or organ music but this was wonderful.
Viking had arranged some optional tours this the day including one to Salzburg, another was an e-bike tour which one of the people in my group took, and yet another was to a Bavarian Beerfest. Still another option was to stay in Passau for the afternoon. The trick on that day was our ship had to leave the dock in Passau at noon. So Viking had to make arrangements, which they do so superbly, for all those optional tours and for those who just chose to stay longer in Passau to meet the ship later in the afternoon further up the Danube. Our ship took a little longer to get to the pick-up spot and it had begun to rain so all those on excursions were sitting in the busses for a little while by the time we got there but despite that they all had smiles on their faces when they boarded the ship. Clearly the excursions were great, even getting a little damp on the e-bikes. Viking is great with scheduling and logistics but clearly they don’t control the weather.
Tags: Danube Cruise, Gottweig Abbey, Krems, Passau Cathedral, Viking