Viking River Cruise - - set-up and trip there

I went to Wisconsin for my birthday about a year and a half ago and I asked my mom what was on her bucket list.  That's the kind of conversation I can have with my mom.  She said she always wanted to take a river cruise.  We both immediately thought of Viking River Cruises, the people who bring you *Downton Abbey*.  I did some research and we decided on a cruise up the Danube, from Budapest, through Vienna, other towns in Austria and Germany, and ending in Nuremberg.  We bought the tickets over a year ago and we left on Thursday 10/8.

 

Mom came to NYC on Tuesday 10/6, and I was so proud of her, she spent the day on her own on Wednesday 10/7, something she had never done in NYC.  We had breakfast on the East Side and she walked to the Frick (one of the loveliest museums anywhere) and spent a long time just people watching in Central Park, like a real native.

One bit of drama early on: I bought a guide book of Budapest not long after we started planning the trip.  My friends Jere and Dale urged us to add a day in Budapest before we step on the ship, because they were so crazy for Budapest on a visit a few years ago.  So I marked up the guide book with suggestions that Jere and Dale had made, put in a few suggestions of my own, and gave it to Mom to look through, when I saw her this spring.  She arrived in NYC on Tuesday 10/6 and realized that she had left the guide book in Wisconsin.  And let me tell you: my mom and I are world champions in the feeling bad department.  She felt SO bad, and of course I had to forgive her, what else could I do.

 

We flew out of Newark.  We called my brother Howard from the airport.

 

HOWARD: What are you reading?

ME: I just started a brand new book called *Razzle Dazzle*.  It's about the dirty dealings of Broadway producers.

MOM: [makes a face]

ME: Mom just made a face.

HOWARD: And what did that face say?

ME: The face said, "No thanks, I'll have the root canal."

 

Someone from Lufthansa came around and told me I needed to check my bag, that it was too big.  I had borrowed Richard's rolling bag, which I love, and I don't think he's typically had issues with it.  I was cranky that I now had to check my bag, but what can you do.

 

We boarded the plane, and this yahoo in front of Mom started telling us a story about how his family used to be in the skylight business in the Hamptons, and they got a call one day from Mel Brooks.  A seagull had dropped a rock on his skylight, and he and this guy's father were allegedly on the phone for a half hour doing the 2,000 Year-Old Man.  And then the guy in front of him turned around and told us that when his little brother has his bris, the mohel was Jackie Mason's little brother.  How do these people find us.

Our flight from Newark to Munich was great - - Lufthansa is so marvelous, the food is great and the bathrooms are supreme!  The biggest bathroom I've ever seen in a plane, it was something else.  I watched *Frozen*, I hadn't seen it and it seemed like the perfect setting to see that movie.  I liked it a lot, was especially impressed that they had included so many classic Norwegian details in the design.  Idina Menzel got on my nerves a little bit, but hey, you gotta take the good with the bad.  I also watched *Ant Man* which was surprisingly smirk (though I didn't feel bad or rewind it when I fell asleep).

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