The Road Ahead : October 2012
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 32 THE ROAD AHEAD OCT/NOV 2012 TRAVEL DEPARTURE INTERNATIONAL the Nibelungen Bridge. An astounding repository of interactive displays, medical biology, robots, imaging techniques, 3D art, eerie sculptures and computer animation, it's one of Europe's cutting- edge galleries. EUROPEAN RIVER CRUISING A good way to visit Linz is on a Danube cruise. Cruises on the Danube and Rhine take you through the heart of Europe without the need to continually pack and repack. Cruises are interspersed with walking tours of villages and small towns. Look out your cabin window at church steeples, grazing goats, pilot boats, ferries, freighters with cars and bicycles on the back. The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, a modern-day wonder completed in 1992, links the rivers, conveying ships over the Franconian Alps through a series of giant locks. At one point, you can look down on cars and trucks passing beneath as you cross the road on a colossal overhead aqueduct. A typical Amsterdam to Budapest cruise, taking in the two rivers, lasts about 15 days. From the Netherlands, you pass through Germany (including Cologne and the Rhine Gorge, lined with stupendous castles), Austria (with Linz and Vienna) Slovakia and Hungary. Some cruises add a few nights in Prague before or after the river itinerary, Prague being a reasonably short drive from Nuremberg. Quirky delights line your journey. The German winemaking town of Rudesheim in the Rhine Gorge offers Siegfried's Mechanical Instrument museum, a wondrous collection of self-playing instruments. The assemblage includes oddities like Poppers Violinovo, an automatic violin-playing machine. Painstakingly assembled by one collector, Siegfried's is visited by more than 100,000 Rhine cruise passengers a year. One Rudesheim wine restaurant, Rudesheimer Schloss tavern, is known for its wild boar sausages. "We have many wild boars about, so we try to eat them before they eat our grapes," proprietor Heinrich Breuer explained matter-of-factly. Vienna, city of Mozart and great cafés, lies on the Amsterdam/Budapest cruise itinerary -- not to mention the two great cities at either end of the trip. Amsterdam's arty, bohemian atmosphere is highlighted by constant contrasts. The city is forever surprising -- alternately scruffy and smart. Budapest is said to possess more thermal and medicinal springs than any other capital. It certainly seems to possess more gypsy orchestras. Between them lie wonders, ranging from medieval Bamberg to Austria's great baroque Melk Abbey, in the World Heritage-listed Wachau, a valley famed for its production of apricots and grapes. Churches within Melk Abbey are ornate, with adornments heavily encrusted in gold. The monastery's holiest relic, the Melk Cross, contains a fingernail-sized piece of wood reputedly chipped from the Cross of Christ. It was brought to Melk about 1040 and encrusted with gems in 1362 by a Viennese goldsmith. Even in those days, Europe's talent travelled by river. MAIN IMAGE: RIVER CRUISERS ON THE RHINE. ZUGSPITZE. TRAVEL OFFER: Glide through the historic water ways of Europe on a luxury river cruise. RACQ Travel can find the perfect option for you and there is no better time to book than now. There are free flights to Europe up for grabs, with a selection of APT's Europe River Cruise itineraries starting from $6545pp.* Turn to page 3 for more details, or contact RACQ Travel now on 1300 188 542 or travel@racq. com.au. A good way to visit Linz is on a Danube cruise.
August 1st 2012