We began our trip in Prague , Czech Republic—the gateway city into medieval Europe. Major sites included

the world famous Astronomical Clock, the Charles Bridge, as well as the Franz Kafka and Mucha Museums.  We

saw how the nobility lived centuries ago by touring ancient Sychrov Castle. In Bratislava, we could view of

countries:Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany.  Taking the tourist train to it was a lot of fun. 

      We were soon in Vienna, Austria—home of world famous symphonic composers. While St. Stephen’s Cathedral

was a must see, a stop at the ancient Demel Coffeehouse to sample famed Viennese pastries was also

compulsory!  We visited the Hoffburg Palace and its associated Spanish Riding School, finishing with the House of

Music Museum.  We soon began our actual river cruise on the Danube (no, it is not blue), soon passing a statue of

Richard the Lion Heart (who had been imprisoned in the castle above until a kingly ransom was paid).  A major

tour of 900 year old Melk Abbey, established as a Benedictine monastery in 1089, allowed us to glimpse its

medieval library of 70,000 books (mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries).  Our first German city stop was Passau,

home to St. Stephen’s Cathedral (housing a 17,774 pipe organ). This ancient city (1099 AD) is also famous for its

glass museum.

      Regensburg, Germany’s largest medieval city, has Stone Bridge (oldest in Germany, built in 1100s). But the

city is older by far, having been a Roman fort (179 AD, when Marcus Aurelius was emperor).  St. Peter’s Cathedral

was quite beautiful. Next up was the Danube Gorge—the narrowest part of this famous river.  A smaller vessel

deposited us at Weltenburg Monastery, Germany’s oldest monastery (600s AD).  Its brewery is also famous for its

dark beer, made from a recipe 1,000 years old!  Finishing our sight-seeing, we enjoyed apple strudel and a

Bavarian Kaffeklatsch in a home-hosted visit in the village of Beilengries.  

      The next morning found us in Nuremberg  Bavaria’s second largest city and home to Adolf Hitler—Zeppelin

Field once drew 100,000 participants to “Heil Hitler”.  This city was where high-ranking Nazi officials were tried

for war crimes after WW II. Nearby Bamberg (902 AD), home to Germany’s Enlightenment period, provided lighter

fare.  Its 2,000 monument buildings form Germany’s largest group of historic structures.  For more Germany

pictures, go here.