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Day 1 – Budapest
The bulk of Day 2 of our Danube River trip was spent sailing and relaxing on the boat as we made our way to Vienna. Since we were still slightly jet lagged, it was the perfect opportunity to get in a few extra hours of sleep and rest before we touched down in Vienna around 5PM.
It was also Ankur’s birthday so it was nice to get to focus on the birthday boy and smother him with love and attention.
We were very fortunate in getting to spend his special day (and all week!) with our family. Ankur’s not the type of person who wants a lot of attention on him, but when you’re a part of this family, the spotlight just follows us everywhere because the family is so loud and lively.
Activities on the Cruise
After breakfast, we all convened in the lounge at the back of the boat. The “kids” circled up to play Monopoly while the parents took advantage of the down time before they went off to take Waltz lessons.
I hadn’t played Monopoly in ages. So, it took me a while to familiarize myself with the rules, but once I made a few deals, I was the CLEAR winner. (We didn’t end up finishing the game because I felt guilty about taking the birthday boy’s money….
…He might tell you a different story.)
Still, if Monopoly is any indication of how much money and property I am going to own in the future, I WIN AT LIFE.
Shortly before we reached Vienna, we had a “cocktail hour” on the boat with snacks and some of the best tasting chocolate cake I’ve ever had. (With a side of Sudoku).
At 5PM, we reached the port and wanted to take advantage of the few hours before dinner. The boys decided to go for a bike ride while the ladies went for a walk.
We all knew Europe was bike-friendly, but Vienna takes it to a whole new level. It seems like everyone rides their bike wherever they need to go. They have dedicated bike lanes and cycleways everywhere we walked – including some of the busier roads.
Since we were out and about on a Saturday evening, a lot of people were out enjoying their weekend. People were laying out by the water, having picnics at the parks and, overall, just looked like they were loving and living life.
According to Forbes magazine, the city of Vienna ranks #1 among cities with the best quality of life. They’ve been ranked #1 for eight consecutive years!
And if our hour-long walk was any indication of the culture and the vibe of the city, I can understand why. Everyone just looked HAPPY. (Though that could also just be Saturday talking).
Dinner on the Cruise
After we boarded the ship, we quickly cleaned up and got ready for the birthday boy’s dinner!
If you’re new around here, you may not have read about the sneaky stint that my family pulled in Cancun. Well, they did the same thing on the cruise ship. My aunts decided to teach the chef how to cook Indian food. (No joke. Went in the kitchen and went through each step with him). So, naturally, we were served some biriyani and raita for dinner that evening. The kids stuck with their tortellini, but were thoroughly impressed with the chef’s (and our Masis’!) work.
After dinner was done, the family cheered for the chef and got a picture with our favorite crew members. Our family can definitely be loud at times. But it comes from a place of excitement and LOVE.
After most people cleared out after dinner, the crew brought out a flaming cake (literally) for the birthday boy and we went through another round of pictures and singing.
The four kids quickly finished our dessert and snuck out of the dining hall to head up to the deck for sunset.
On one side of the boat, we had a view of modern buildings and city life. And, if you walked a few steps to look out the other side of the boat, you could see a view of the St. Francis de Assisi Church (also known as the Mexico Church because it is located in Vienna’s Mexico Square, which exists to commemorate the assistance that Austria received from Mexico against Nazi Germany).
After the sun went down, we went for a walk along the water with the adults. Around 10PM, the kids decided they wanted to venture out on their own and experience the Vienna nightlife. Again, the “highest quality of life” just made sense as we meandered down the canals and saw hundreds of people sitting by the water, drinking and chatting the night away.
We walked for a few miles until we settled on Kaffee Alt Wien. They had two sections – one for smokers and one for non-smokers. Clearly, the party was happening in the smoking section. But, I don’t think we could handle the smell for longer than a few minutes so we sat by our lonely selves in the back, non-smoking section. For a few minutes, another group joined us. But that’s only because they were waiting for a seat in the smoking section.
PROST! (The German salutation for “Cheers!”)
It was the best way to end the day. Though, what was NOT pictured was the Mr. Noodles that went down at 2AM on our taxi ride back to the cruise. If you’re gonna do nightlife, you gotta do it right.
Questions of the Day:
- What’s your favorite board game?
- Favorite city you’ve explored?