October 3, 2015 at 10:13 am #665
My wife, Kay, and I just returned from a river cruise on the Danube through Eastern Europe–The Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria. Fantastic trip!
- It’s interesting to see how countries have fared after the break-up of the Soviet Union. The Czech Republic and Slovakia seem to be flourishing after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia, but Serbia is finding the going much harder after the violent disintegration of Yugoslavia. Bulgaria was economically dependent on the Soviets, and are still looking to the European Union to help it recover.
- Interesting that some people of our generation still recall the communist days with a hazy reminiscence of job stability. Younger people, on the other hand, look towards the freedom and the days when my generation stops voting!
- The trip opened my eyes to the positive influence of the European Union, which encourages fiscal responsibility, human rights, democratic governments, and open borders while providing external financial investments to boost the economies of the poorer nations. Hope Greece doesn’t pull down the house of cards!
October 14, 2015 at 8:32 am #695
My husband and I also took a Danube cruise recently. We were on Viking Cruise lines, starting in Budapest, then traveled through Austria and Germany, ending in Nuremberg. We were in Budapest for three days before the cruise, and barely had enough time to see what we wanted.
One thing that impressed me about the whole tour was the layers of history, and how they are periodically almost (but not quite fully) scraped clean for the next layer. The medieval layer was there in a few imposing buildings, or the vaults below our hotel in Buda. There was some Renaissance stuff as well, but most of the historical things dated from the Baroque era. They had pretty much cleared everything to make way for the exuberant architecture and decoration of that era.
I’ve been to England several times, and there the medieval and renaissance layers are more prominant, with much less Baroque.
When we got to Nuremberg, there were photos of the city right after WWII — almost entirely leveled, then rebuilt to keep much of its historical character.
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