Friday, April 26-Day 7
We made new friends at breakfast this morning, Richard and Nelma from New Jersey. Don shamed me by arriving at the table with a plate-load of fresh fruit. I was already woofing down my rashers of bacon, scrambled eggs and mushrooms. However, I thought my saving grace would come when Lynore prompted Don that he needed more protein. Ever prepared, Don calmly raised a few slices of cheese that he had hidden cunningly behind his slabs of watermelon!
We made our way on deck after our meal to join the line-up to meet the captain and tour the bridge. Now, as the bridge is a glassed in cube of about six square metres, only five or six were allowed through at a time. However, the ever efficient concierge Mercedes was handling the loading operation, so we were ushered through in no time. The line-up had also provided time for me to chat with Jim, a friend we’d made at the airport in Bucharest when he lost his suitcase and hence his clothes. (Eventually the bag was recovered but only after the ship was underway.) Jim had worked in a family business since he was fifteen. He and his brother eventually took over the business (dredging sand from San Francisco Bay) from their father, and Jim had eventually retired from it.
The tour of the bridge took about 10 minutes for our group and between them, the captain and Mercedes answered all our questions. I won’t bore you with all the details, but now I know why this vessel runs so quietly…it is fully electric. I had a lot more questions to ask but time was short on the bridge. I learned that the ship had back-up generators, but not things like, running time for the batteries, how many there are, etc.etc.
Mid-morning Vlad, our program director gave us a Powerpoint presentation on the history and function of the European Union. He did very well explaining what has become a very complex topic.
Lunch followed…eating again…and we had a light meal. Much appreciated was the hour which came next, as it was down time…enough to recover from breakfast and lunch before embarking on the next shore excursion.
At 2.30 we headed for the buses again as this time we were going to neighbouring towns called Kalocsa and Puszta. First stop in Kalocsa was at the church where we were treated to a pipe organ recital. The church, a Roman Catholic building was beautiful and the five pieces we heard sounded gorgeous on the organ.
At Puszta we visited a horse breeding farm or ranch and were treated to a wonderful display of horsemanship in a very big riding arena. It was hot, dusty work for the riders and the animals but the show was great. We also got to try local foods and of course…some kind of brandy. This one had enough oomph to fuel a small plane I think.
Soon it was time to return to the ship and about 30 minutes later we were boarding. We had a brief time only to get a wash and brush up before it was in to dinner. It was dinner with the captain night, as some of the crew and many of the passengers will be leaving tomorrow as we dock at Budapest. It’s at this point that I can tell you something I forgot to include in yesterday’s post…we managed to get the only vacant room available on the ship. This means that we will be staying on to Amsterdam with our friends Don and Lynore, instead of getting off like most people and making our way back to Amsterdam on our own and under our own steam. We are very happy about this, and will remain happy even though we have to change rooms tomorrow as others come on board.
The evening was rounded off by the playing of a Hungarian gypsy band. Actually I felt sorry for them, for even though they were very good, many people were too tired to watch and listen to them. Some people also had to get up very early tomorrow too, to disembark. When you put these reasons together, it didn’t make for the best audience for the band and their dancers. Ah well!
It’s closing in on 11pm here so goodbye for now and God bless.