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!!
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.
Our guide was a real comedian. He said,
- “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.”
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.