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Day 12: Thursday, July 21, 2022 – Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ Up the River

We boarded the Avalon Envision at Budapest. The rooms are nice, the staff is friendly and the food and service is excellent. We just learned that Avalon was voted the best river cruise line and the Avalon Envision was voted the best river cruise ship by a USA Today poll. Boy, does Rob know how to pick ’em!!

Our safety demonstration was performed by the crew. Crew members are from all over. Our waiter is from Tunisia

There are a lot of cruise ships and we often double park at the docks. At one point we were an Avalon sandwich with three ships at the dock and we were in the middle.

We docked in Bratislava and learned that we were the last cruise ship to leave Budapest due to the low water level. Other ship passengers will now have to be transported by bus to catch their boat in deeper water!!

Slovakia is the geographical center of Europe. Central Europe used to be communist. Czechoslavakia was one country and two people wanted to be the leader. It was a political decision to divide the country and most people were against it. However, it was done without incident.

The last plague was in 1712 (unless you are counting COVID.) This plague was different as they determined that it was NOT a judgment from God but was a communicable disease.

Twenty percent of the population died. Once they were spared the from plague, they decided to build a Plague Column in the way of thanks to God.

There was a Jewish Quarter. The Jewish population was 50,000 which was 10% of the population. Today there are only 8,000 Jews.

St Anna is only known from Apocrypha which means that it is outside the writings in the Bible but MAY have some merit. St. Anna is remembered as an older childless women who prayed for a child. Her prayer was answered and she had a baby girl named Mary who would become the mother of Jesus. There is a chapel dedicated to her in St. Martin’s Cathedral.

The body of John the Merciful is housed in St. Martins Cathedral. It a relic that was in Turkish hands but was given to Bratislava. There is one only cathedral per town in Slovakia .

When Buda was taken, Bratislava was the capital. Maria Teresa was crowned KING here. She is the only woman to be coronated as a king.

These crowns in the sidewalk mark her coronation path.
We stopped for a famous Bratislava Poppy Seed Croissant. It was delicious!

Our guide was a real comedian. He said,

“This building is a restaurant. It looks like a UFO because the cost to build it was astronomical. It only spins if you have had too many drinks.”
  • “We make wine in Slovakia but we don’t export it. We drink it all.”
  • “We can go right. We aren’t communist anymore.”
  • Concerning the cheap car brand called Skoda that is available in Slovakia:
    • “When you fill up the gas tank, the car doubles in value.”
    • “The engine is in the back in order to keep your hands warm when you are pushing it.”
  • “This statue of a sewer worker is really looking up women’s skirts.”
Some people rub his head for luck. Our guide told us not to do it because dogs pee it on. And when you learn that, you will want to wash your hand … and then the luck washes off. This is truly a lose/lose!!
This sculpture stands in tribute to Schöner Náci, who was inspired to make people happy by walking around Bratislava Old Town wearing tailcoat and a top hat. He would greet women with the words, “I kiss your hand” in German, Hungarian and Slovak.
Rob kissed my outstretched hand!!!

Woodrow Wilson played a role in the formation of Czechoslovakia. In his famous Fourteen Points speech on January 8, 1918, he called for freedom and self-determination for the various nations living within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was the basis for the union of the Czechs and Slovaks. There was a proposal to name Bratislava as Wilson’s Town that didn’t materialize.

Madeline Albrecht born in Prague. She was unaware of her Jewish background. She had been raised as Catholic.

The Church of St Elizabeth “Sissi” is also referred to as The Blue Church.
We were able get this picture through bars. It always makes me sad to see the doors of a church lock one out.
This rock outside The Blue Church is a memorial to aborted children and to those who still suffer from the consequences of abortion.
We had a nice long visit with fellow travelers: Peter (Slovakian) and Monika and Andreas (German)
This place is mostly visited by children who run around on the floor to changing colors. I tapped into my inner child.
This group of five named Aphrodite came on our ship for some amazing entertainment. It made me want to break out my flute when I get home. They played New York, New York and said that Sinatra was considering Bratislava, Bratislava!!

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