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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Monday, July 17, 2017

Viking River Cruise

Yes, we got home safely. We flew from Budapest to Amsterdam, had a three-hour lay over, then flew ten hours on KLM Royal Dutch Airline to San Francisco. I took a sleeping pill and slept for four hours after a cocktail called the Flying Dutchman, hors d’oeurves of salmon tartar, delicious chicken and peas, Sauvignon Blanc and ice cream and a bit of elegant brandy. It was a great way to fly. Remember we went business class.

On July 1 we got on our boat called the Viking Ve. The Ve is named after a Viking God. I’m sure you are overjoyed to know that. Our room had a window overlooking the river so we could watch the passing castles, trains, bikes, barges, speedboats that appeared going up and down the rivers and riverbanks. Factories and building sites also were on the banks. One cannot miss the ever rolling green of the trees and vegetation lining the banks for miles. We were surprised to see green vineyards growing on steep terraces near the riverbanks.

Our stateroom was compact and efficient. Eliosa, our “servant” cleaned the room while we were at breakfast and straightened up after dinner. She was a very small and cute Philippina, friendly and polite.

On the first night the passengers gathered to get an orientation on the voyage. There were introductions of the captain by the Program Director named Sam. It felt like summer camp. Who came the furthest? How many from New Zealand etc. Then who is the youngest, the oldest? I was the eldest as I was born in 1931. I was rock and roll famous for thirty seconds.

We travelled South and Easterly, touching on Amsterdam, Holland; Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary. Major stops were at Cologne to visit the great Cathedral there; Nuremburg where the WW2 Nazi trials were held; Vienna the city of waltzes, pastries and elegant street; and Budapest, which gave us the greatest surprise, it has the most beautiful buildings, cathedrals, public buildings and they faced the Danube. In most of the cities and towns you have to take a bus from the river to the town center. In Budapest the most gorgeous buildings are on the riverbanks. We had sailed on the Rhine, Mainz and Danube rivers.

I know you are terribly anxious to read about the food on the ship. Breakfast food of every possible kind, juices, hot and cold cereals, smoked salmon. Omelets prepared for you on the spot. Bread, rolls, butter, jam, cream cheese even peanut butter. Lunch – creamy vegetable and beef, lamb and fish soups. Lavish salads and meat and fish courses, wines plus a variety of desserts and cakes as wells as fresh fruit. Three course dinners every evening. Starters of soups, salads and cold meats; main courses of chicken, fish, lamb, beef or vegetarian all with elegant and rich sauces. The portions are modest but you can get all you want. We wanted more spices and herbs. Wine and beer are free, booze, you pay for. Then for dessert, ice creams, pistachio was Ann’s favorite. Puddings, cakes sorbets and fruit and cheese plates. The waiters were attractive and helpful and efficient. I suppose you remember all that.

We had some very interesting people on board. One man invented the app at Motorola. Another invented the post-it at 3Ms. We asked another guy how many cruises he had been on? He said two; this was his first and his last.

We began the trip on June 29, 2017 flying from San Francisco non-stop to Amsterdam o KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The food service and business class accommodations were roomy and restful.  We returned to San Francisco on July 14 learning to enjoy jet lag.


The cruise was delightful in every way. It is cruising in a relaxed manner and sight seeing for easy tourism.

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