Thursday, December 31, 2015

Our Little Corner of the World...a Magical Visit in Budapest!

Imagine sailing down the Danube at night...
the ship turns at a bend in the river...
and all of a sudden your mouth drops and gasps are heard all around you...

That was our first glimpse of Budapest, Hungary... of the most beautiful cities in the world.

This was the highlight of this trip for me...
...stunningly gorgeous.

I still get goosebumps whenever I'm describing this experience to friends and family!

Happy New Year!!!
 May your new year be as spectacular as Budapest at night!!!

For more glimpses of little corners of the on the image below!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Our Little Corner of the World...Visiting Bratislava, Slovakia!!!

Our second to the last port on our river cruise was in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Previously part of the Eastern Bloc of the Soviet Union, Bratislava is undergoing
social and economic changes.  Much like every city we have visited in Europe that 
were previously part of the Soviet Union, there's a dreariness and tiredness in the 
structure of the city.  The buildings are a bit tired and need some repairs, or a good
coat of paint.  But the people are delightful!  There's a feeling of resurgence and
you know that the next time you visit, the city will have regained much of its vibrance.

On our way into the old town, city center, we passed by the US Embassy...

...and stopped at the Square Castle.
As castles go, not particularly grand to look at.  But when you realize that this spot
where the castle was built had been the site of settlements as early as
5000 BC.  Yep...BC.
That's a heck of a long time!!!
The main tower of the castle dates back to the 1300's and was where the Hungarian
crown jewels were kept for over 200 years.
The castle burnt in 1811, left only in ruins. 
The castle was rebuilt and remains a dominant part of the city.

The view from the castle...across the Danube to another part of the city.

Sometimes you just have to go a little crazy with your travel pics...

Heading in to the old city center...

No...we're not heading to a dungeon or other scene of Medieval torture...

Don't ask me why...but it was on the wall above the door to....????

Sooo...I know you're all wondering why I took a photo of a hole in the wall filled in with
Think Napolean, think canon balls...

Ach!!!  Crazy tourists!!!

Throughout the Main Square in Old Town were all kinds of interesting
statues and well...a coat of arms!!!

This guy was celebrating the common laborer...

Dan decided to play the crazy tourist...

and again!

I haven't seen Hare Krishna's in just about forever!!!

There he goes again!!!

Dan:  Get one of me with the coat of arms...
Debra:  O-M-G!!!  Who are these people we're traveling with???

Just sitting down to have a conversation with Napolean...

Skip the conversation with Napolean...
Sean and Veronica having mid afternoon beer and a few "tall" stories!

Click on the image below to visit more Little Corners of the World!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas in our Little Corner of the World...The Christmas Flower...

Do you know how the Poinsettia became the plant we most associate with Christmas?

Folklore has the poinsettia associated with Christmas first in Mexico, in the 16th Century.
According to legend, a very poor Mexican girl named Pepita wanted to take a gift to the church 
to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus.  She was so poor that all she could do was to gather
 together a bouquet of weeds.  When she brought the weeds to church, the little bouquet
blossomed into beautiful red flowers...the Poinsettias!
A Christmas miracle!!! 

Poinsettias are now known in Mexico as the Flores de Noche Buena de Mexico...
Spanish for the "flowers of the holy night".

Franciscan Friars in Mexico began to use the Poinsettias in their Christmas celebrations 
during the 17th Century.  The shape of the "petal" (the red bracts really aren't the flower...the 
yellow center is actually the flower) is said to symbolize the Star of David.  
The red color symbolizes the blood of Jesus from the crucifixion. 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!!!

Click on the images below to visit more little corners of the world, 
or to see more beautiful flowers!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Our Little Corner of the World...visiting Vienna!!!

In Vienna we started out at the Hofburg Palace...
...built in the 13th Century...(another testament to old European builders!!!)
....and has been the designated seat of government ever since.
Currently, it is the official residence and office of the President of Austria.

The sights were a bit different than I was anticipating!!!
Perhaps a government worker getting a bit of sun to start the day???

I think I could get into this mode of touring...

...although...I might have a hard time staying in line...
and keeping the speed down!!! 

However...touring by horse drawn carriage might just be the best way to see Vienna!!!

Even with all the people walking through the square, I could picture in my mind
the carriages, bell hoop skirts, top hats and tails of yesteryear!!!

It's a beautiful city...

I'm not quite sure what they were selling in this store...

I think I need to get a GPS unit for my camera...or take notes...
...or something!!!
I can't for the life of me remember or figure out what building this is...
...but I thought it's a pretty cool building!!!

Starbucks is pretty much the same, world wide!!!

An interesting juxtaposition of contemporary and medieval...
St. Stephan's Cathedral is the medieval!!!

When was the last time you saw a cigarette machine???

This reminded me of the London Eye!

We took the additional tour of the Schonbruun Palace...
the imperial summer residence built for the Empress Maria Theresa.

The grounds were spectacular!

Linda's showing Art how easy taking pics with her phone is compared to his Canon dslr!!!

 Can't you just picture more hoop skirts, top hats and tails strolling along this lovely walk?

Passing by on the drive back to the ship...

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