22 OCT 2010: Ed. Note: When we learned Ilona Kauremszky was taking a river cruise with her mother, we thought it might be interesting to have Mrs. Kauremszky tell us her own version of the trip. She agreed and so in this and the previous article, we are delighted to be able to present the Heart of the Danube both from the perspective of a seasoned travel writer, and through the relived memories of a traveller ‘going home’ after a lifetime away.

A beautiful dream came true when my darling daughter Ilona surprised me with an amazing river cruise on the Danube. I have not been on a ship since I arrived in Canada as a little girl.

I must say our ship was luxurious and fit for a king. The ship’s captain along with his crew were most pleasant throughout the whole cruise!

The room we occupied was beautifully furnished. Also it had a balcony where one afternoon Ilona and I decided to relax in our plush armchairs, sipping on a glass of wine while we were enjoying the breathtaking view, the pretty little towns, and the beautiful mountains we were passing by.

In the ship’s lounge at 4 o’clock, tea was served with miniature sandwiches and pastries or you could sip your favourite drink while listening to Zoltan playing softly on the piano. All the meals were superb. The service was excellent. We also participated in the most memorable tours.

Our first tour was in Budapest and that has brought back memories. For me in my heart the city hasn’t changed but in reality it has changed a lot.

We visited the famous Fisherman’s Bastion with a bronze St. Stephen of Hungary on horseback - Hungary’s first king. From these historic steps we were able to enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of the city, with its Parliament across the Danube, the bridges over the river.

We also visited the street my family lived on, the school I went to and later we returned to Pest for an afternoon coffee at the elegant Café Gerbeaud where we indulged in a decadent torte accompanied by an aromatic coffee topped with whipped cream.

Our cruise was like a symphony, the music of the Danube carried through our other stops. In Vienna we enjoyed a concert, tasted Sacher torte at the famous Sacher Hotel and saw the home of Sisi from the Hapsburg Dynasty. They lived at the Schonbrunn Palace.

Durnrstein felt like a little village in my childhood. The hillside medieval town was familiar. I used to summer with my relatives who lived along the Austrian border in an idyllic setting surrounded by mountains and thick green forests.

At Melk, it was the huge abbey that was most impressive. We toured the rooms and peaked inside their library with books dating back to Gutenberg and earlier.

Linz was lovely but Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, was even better for me. As a little girl my parents always played classical music. My mother played the piano and also belonged to the Kodaly Choir in Toronto. And my father loved classical music in all its forms.

Our final stop was in Passau. We discovered the final resting place of Gisela who was the wife of St. Stephen, Hungary’s first queen. Gisela was born in Passau.

With this fragment of history our circle was closed. I would like to thank Uniworld River Cruises and all the crew on this beautiful ship called the River Beatrice for making it the most memorable cruise they provided for all of us.

I do recommend everyone, young and old that this is the most wonderful way of spending a beautiful week or two of holidays in comfort and luxury without getting tired. Not to mention the beautiful part of our world we discovered along with its history.

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Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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