The time had come to say our sad goodbyes……
Fifteen or so enchanting days spent river cruising had seemed to pass us by so quickly since that very first and oh so wonderful “Diamond Day”.
We still clearly remembered the magic of that first morning, when we’d excitedly boarded this extremely new and ultra modern, yet comfortable home-away-from-home, “Viking Tor”.
Amazingly the past 15 days had flurried by in their own whirly-wind of delicious buffet breakfasts, interesting info-walks, convivial dining room and/or alfresco lunches, rather testing trivia quizzes, classical music concerts, informative cooking demonstrations, extravagant multi-course dinners (made only from the freshest of local produce of course) and an ever-changing kaleidoscope of European adventures and cultural events.
We’d been able to explore medieval castles, stunning palaces, ornate cathedrals, timeless, ethereal abbeys, historical cobble-stoned streets. We’d seen some very pretty spring landscapes, engineering marvels (such as the Danube’s modern locks) and, of course, so many different and wonderful countries along with their beautiful picturesque cities and towns.
But sadly yes….now the time had come…. it truly was our TIME TO SAY GOODBYE.
Once again we were filled with a strange churning…. a really mixed-bag-of-emotional feeling.
On the one hand, we were very excited to still have a few days up our sleeve; some time to explore this blossoming city called Budapest in Eastern Europe.
We knew our neighbours back home in Australia had actually come from this area (Budapest and surrounding districts) so many years ago. I was really looking forward to seeing more of their homeland.
We were also looking forward to travelling home ourselves ….well perhaps D.B. was looking forward to this just a tad more than me!
I was really just looking forward to further exploring.
I now realised that Budapest was going to be far more enchanting than I’d initially thought.
We would soon be staying in the Jewish corner of the city, in an area I believed to be a reasonably short distance from transport to and from the central areas of Budapest. We were booked into a charming hotel called the Palazzo Zichy. The Palazzo had actually been rating rather highly in many of the recent tourist reviews. I loved the fact that it already had a wonderful history of its own, having once been called “home” by a very famous nobleman , Count Nándor Zichy, back in the 19th century.
I was, of course, also looking forward to taking many, many more photos of Budapest by night and also to exploring the Jewish area and synagogue by day.
You know, I am actually most thankful to all of the wonderful age-old religions in this extremely complex world of ours; for I believe they have all added some gems of wisdom to the mix as well as some most amazing architecture to the rich and eclectic fabric of this brilliant, sapphire-blue planet we happen to live on.
For good or bad, I know that many of our life’s experiences are strengthened, for some even perhaps fortified, by the raging and fierce debates. Despite all of these amazing religious dichotomies, I myself believe they continue to speak the same ONE but at times, slightly different language. That is to love and respect one another and care for our world.
So it was very heavy hearts, that we eventually decided to disembark on this rather sad morning. I believe we were among the last to go.
After a most delicious buffet breakfast and some further exchanging of Email addresses and phone contacts, it truly was our ……. “Time to say Goodbye”.
I think the song below says it so well. And you know, I don’t actually really even know what they are saying, yet I can certainly sense the powerful emotion! It was indeed a sad goodbye.
If you love this song as much as I do you may also like to listen to the earlier version which is just below.
Lastly, we would both like to say a very big thank-you to the Viking Team for all of their dedicated care and mindful attention to detail. We absolutely loved this Grand European Tour. We can’t wait to travel with them again.