On the Donau

While others will rave about the towns and cities that line the Danube, I am afraid that there is a bit of the engineer and mad scientist that just may lurk in my heart. We were told yesterday that there would be eleven locks on out journey; seven of which we would pass through tonight.

Looking out our cabin door just after dark, I encountered a wet wall dark and glistening whose top was not even visible over my head. Ah, I thought – Lock #1. This explained the wall but not why it was less than 10 cm from my nose.

If you remember that I just arrived from Sydney yesterday morning I think you will agree that I had every reason to feel totally exhausted and would deem it sensible that I went early to bed. Of course, this will also explain why I woke first at midnight and arose at 0300. I saw birds, a few other boats moving on the river, several at moorings but most importantly I got to watch out progress through several locks.

It still doesn’t explain my earlier observation: the ship hugged the starboard wall with scant cms between the cement and hull paint.

Oh- the ship is the MS Ariana owned and operated by PhoenixReisen. After rarely using my German in the last three months ( and it would not have been at all were it not for Klaus&Ilona and Andreas&Irina) I would have been completely hopeless. In case you hadn’t guessed, this is a completely German ship. Unfortunately so is the food. (I really and sincerely believe that Germsn cooking operates under the assumption that pork improves everything. Back to a veggie diet as the only safe alternative. 148 passengers = 2 vegetarians)

This is a new -2012- purpose built river cruise boat. The design is interesting – long, flat, essentially three decks, 11 meters wide and with a draft of under two meters. As a result, cruising sling the river is incredibly smooth with barely any motion to be felt. Even when she was turned on her axis so as to be facing up stream when we docked in Melk there was no sensation of rocking or bobbing in the water.

There were a few stores open mostly of the gift, alcohol and clothing variety. Oh, yes – Frau Wolle where I broke down and purchased a ball of fluorescent pink/aqua for a little girls hat.

I’ll stop here and fill you in on Vienna tomorrow.

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