My river cruise aboard a deluxe Grand Circle river ship included visits to Vilshofen, Passau, Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislave and Budapest. Here are the pages from former editor Carolyn V. Hamilton's travel art journal. Now, not all of the pages are drawings, as the scrap booker lover in her simply couldn't resist attaching ephemera.
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Who saves airline boarding tickets? Well, Carolyn does. Five flights from Las Vegas to Prague, departing at 1:15 am and arriving at 10:30 am the following day.
Prague is the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic. It's bisected by the Vitava River, is the historic capital of Behomea, and has been called, "The City of a Hundred Spires."
Carolyn likes to say that this bust of Franz Kafka "spoke to me." Interesting that the sculptor wrote, "I have always felt that Franz Kafka has all of his work written in his face."
In the Prague Castle, I was attracted to intricate door handles.
In the local language (Czech, I think?) Prague is "Praya." On this day I was particularly taken with the city skyline, our charming, young guide Thomas, and big colored cow statues in the mall. They reminded me of the pig at Pike Place Market in Seattle.
Joyce and Charlie, our traveling companions, listen to a lecture in a lecture hall that used to be a library in a monastery.
In Slovakia we had lunch with a local family. He was a hunter, with the horns of several small animals decorating the walls. He also served us his homemade potato vodka. Somehow, communication - they spoke no English - was smoother after we all drank the vodka.
I learned the fleur de lis was the symbol of the French Bourbon family. Also it was March, with Easter approaching, so there were carved wooden tulips and egg decorations everywhere.
Just couldn't resist adding these colorful czech glass pieces I saw for sale in a shop in my art journal.
In Budapest I had time to draw the interior of St. Steven's Basilica. Later in my ship cabin I added the watercolor.
Notes on a page "The Emerald cut is the oldest diamond cut in the world", Hungarian Lace, more about St. Seven, and a Hungarian postage stamp.
I did this late winter/early spring landscape from the warm comfort of the dining room aboard the river ship.
Here's another picture done from the comfort of the ship dining room. We passed many old castles along the Danube. This one is of the ruins of the Royal Palace of Esztergom, a basilica inhabited from the 11th to the 13th century.
In the old town section of Bratislava, we stepped into a warm cafe to enjoy a hot mulled wine. On the right is the entry to the courtyard of the cafe.
This is where the proprietess said to us, "Oh you Americans and your flavored coffees! If we want apple-flavored coffee, we drink it with apple strudel."
At a concert in Vienna we heard this singer. I just loved her purple blouse! On the same page I added a picture of us in the church square.
This huge sculpture is in the gardens at Belvedere Palace & Museum in Vienna, Austria. The two palaces and the gardens are all in the Baroque style. Belveders is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Vienna we also saw a performance by the Royal Lippizaner Stallions. In the 16th century, the Habsburgs, who ruled both Spain and Austria, desired a big, strong horse for both military uses and in their fashionable riding schools, and founded the line we know today.
These horses have also been featured in movies. Their rescue during World War II by American troops was made famous in the Disney movie, "Miracle of the White Stallions."
Because our trip was in spring and Easter was approaching, it seemed like every shop window was filled with all manner of painted and decorated Easter eggs.
The whole concept of the Easter Bunny and Easter eggs was supposedly brought to America in the 18th century by Germanic immigrants. They saw the egg as a Christian symbol of resurrection.
In a Vienna coffee shop, this large, colorful mural covered one entire wall. I couldn't NOT copy it! :)
A rainy, overcast day cruising the Danube. The landscape on both sides was dotted with ancient castles.
During the Medieval Age, after the fall of the Roman Empire, Charlemagne and other rulers built castles and fortresses here.
One of many little towns that grew along the Danube over the centuries.
A traditional Austrian Dress for sale in a shop window in Salzberg.
Passau, in lower Bavaria (Germany) is a charming town with museums and the Passau Castle. It's called the "City of Three Rivers because here the Danube is joined by a river from the south and one from the north.
It's a small town--only about 50,000--and most are students at the University of Passau.
Of course, here there's a St. Stephen's Cathedral, just like in Vienna and everywhere else in the region, it seems.
This quick watercolor-only impression is of a doorway in Passau, which is full of 15th century Gothic architecture.
Another quick watercolor-only image of 13th-century Veste Oberhaus, a fortress that was the stronghold of the Bishop of Passau.
My Danube Cruise Art Journal would not have been complete without a decorated and collaged cover with colorful ribbons, inspired by the colorful costumes of Germany!