As we slowly but surely approach our point of origin, Passau, we would like not to be remiss of paying special tribute to the solemnity of the Danube River, which, on many occasions, is as wide and wild as the Mississippi River in the United States of America. It is also prudent and necessary that we offer a representation of the way the less fortunate people live on the banks of the Danube, where they work and, last but definitely not least, we like to recognize the qualities of association, comradery and friendship that we tremendously enjoyed on shipboard of MS "Prinzessin Isabella."
A few examples of the solemnity and serenity of the Danube River Basin.
Traveling throughout the night, for the time being bypassing the inspiring Austrian region of Wachau, we arrived the next day in the divine and still Imperial City of Vienna.
Ancient religious wall paintings in one of the smaller chapels on Patriarch Hill, where picture-taking was permitted and because of lighting advantages possible.
Heide here photographed in front of an Orthodox Romanian educational institution for girls in the center of Bucharest. This was particularly meaningful to the Duchess of Lower Silesia-Glogau,
because of her own scholastic roots with the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Ratingen, Germany.
Of the very many truly worthwhile things we encountered in Bulgaria, three items come most imminently into our minds as we prepare this particular segment of our travelogue. There are being exhibited below. The first is the Czars' Fortress of the Second Bulgarian Empire in Verliko Tarnovo.
First, we visited Cloister Krusedol, one of the most beautiful cloisters of the 16th century in the Mountain Range of Fruska Gora. This holy place contains next to precious wall paintings two sarcophagi of the Obrenovic Dynasty.
While in Vienna, and MS "Prinzessin Isabella" having docked at the Handelskai, we enjoyed the immense privilege and honor of meeting for the very first time in person H.E. Dr. Manuela Maria Uma
Baroness von Pozvek and her distinguished husband Magister Wolfgang Stengel.
At that time, it was our Royal Confraternity of Sao Teotonio responsibility to bestow upon
Baroness Manuela Maria the Royal Confraternity's Dame of Justice brevet and insignia in the name of
H.E. Ulisses Count Rolim de Reigada, our highly revered and respected Grand Prior.
Concurrently, the Baroness was also decorated with the Order of The Eagle of Silesia in Honor of
St. Hedwig, the decoration being since long historical times the property of
the Ducal Princely House Gulgowski-Doliwa,
The Duke and Duchess of Lower Silesia-Glogau.
Out of his profound sense of gratitude for Our Lord's intervention in the battle of Petrovardin,
Prince Eugene commissioned the construction of the Church of St. Mary of the Snows,
which allows for worship by Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians alike.
Not too very far from the fortress pictured above, Prince Eugene confronted the Turks, with many more troops at their avail than he had under his command. Yet, the heroic Prince did not shy away, when facing superior odds. The heavens above must have favored his cause and on 5 August 1716, against all metrological expectations, it began to snow. The Turks saw in this strange and unexpected phenomenon a stern warning from heaven and withdrew, allowing Prince Eugene to carry the day.
Upon arrival in the Serbian Capital City, we were welcomed by MS "Der Kleine Prinz," in English
"The Little Prince," authored by Colonel Antoine Saint-Exupery, hero of French Aviation and Literature.
From Passau to Bucharest and beyond, one witnesses industry of all sizes and descriptions.
However, the closer we came to the Black Sea, increasingly more shipbuilding was encountered.
Next, MS "Prinzessin Isabella" took us to the Austrian Wachau
Our 86-year-old dinner companion Helmtrud from Berlin was resolved to climb up this unsteady cobblestone road to the fortress proper on top of the three hills it occupies. Luckily, we were able to persuade her to turn about and return with us to our bus.
Needless to say, after having left this holy semi-underground Orthodox Bulgarian church, we couldn't help but to buy two wonderful paintings from a vendor in a tent outside. Knowing the innermost values we carry in our hearts and our minds, we decided on purchasing paintings depicting St. Constantin and St. George, which have now found a new dwelling in our home, the Hall of Knights.
Before we will delineate our traveling adventure down the beautiful and powerful Danube River,
along the many stops our ship made, not always according to geographic logic, it is only proper and right to introduce our highly respected readers to our vessel: MS "Prinzessin Isabella."
In our opinion, the towering, governing edifice over this entire region is Melk Abbey.
Eventually, probably still on the same day as our arrival, MS "Prinzessin Isabella" turned about and
recommenced the very same trip she had just concluded, very much so as is manifested by the ship
Belgrade, although a hustling and bustling metropolitan city, still shows signs of past Muslim occupation and Bolshevik Tito-style oppression, presently still deals with the age-old problems
of Balkan religious strives as clearly visible in the photograph taken above.
Heide in front of the from Ceausescu mandated largest legislative palace in Europe.
Present-day politicians feel somewhat embarrassed to properly and beneficially make use of this gigantic edifice.
The next two images pertain to Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Prince of Moldavia and Wallachia,
prominent hero of Romania's Revolution of 1848 in Moldavia, here depicted as one example to indicate that Romania always found a progressive historical mind to set wrong things right.
Heide, Paul and friends photographed in front of two prominent Belgrade hotels.
More optimistically inspired pictures of Serbia later on in this travelogue.
Next, our ship stopped in Bucharest, the Capital City of Romania.
Our river voyage commenced in Passau, Bavaria/Germany, home of Europe's largest organ in the
St. Stephen's Cathedral.
Further impressions of Bucharest.
GULGOWSKI - DOLIWA
An outright wonderful and sincerely endearing time was enjoyed by all of us. This get-together was so interesting, enriching and intense that it lasted up to seconds before our vessel had to depart from the
Handelskai. Promises were exchanged that all of us would meet again as soon as possible and for
a more extensive visit.
The next stop our fast-moving ship would make, was the marvelous Hungarian Capital of Budapest.
Because we also had been in Budapest before, please visit our respective webpage on that travel adventure. Just for a small taste of this also elating experience, we offer the following photograph as an enticement for this effort.
Our next scheduled stop would be Belgrade, the Capital City of Serbia.
For a second time, we stepped on Serbian ground. During this visit, we obtained a much more elated impression and view of what is basically rural Serbia.
The River Danube area in vicinity of Novi Sad is considered of particular importance to the nation of Serbia, which is manifested by massive Naval River forces of that nation. Please view the photographs below.
On 5 August 1716, Prince Eugene saved the entire European civilization from the conquest of the Turks and all what that would have entailed.
Present-day Europe and related civilizations are once again threatened by Islamic usurpation with no
modern-day Prince Eugene in sight to save us from predictable unprecedented historical tragedy.
Continuing our Wachau adventure trip via ship and bus, we came to the distinct impressions that the Wachau Valley of the Danube has much in common with the Rhine River Valley, except that there are more castles, fortresses, palais, palaces, villas, fortified churches and agricultural as well as wine-growing estates to admire. The following photographs are a minimum representation of these.
The officer in the center of this mid-19th-century lithograph is General Nikolai Gul'kovskii.
Having visited Bulgaria, we now feel even a greater reason for saluting him.
Next, and probably foremost, ranks in our minds the God faithfulness of the Bulgarian people.
It seems to be the only formidable thing that allowed them to survive the storms of war that, from time to time, ravaged their truly beautiful country.
We prominently like to feature at this time the tremendously beautiful Bulgarian Orthodox Church of the Holy Birth of Christ, constructed in the village of Arbanassi during the 17th century.
This wonderful church is hardly recognizable from the outside. This, most likely, made it undetectable to the ravaging conquerors, that swept over the countryside like unpredictable floods.
The Danube River from
Germany to Romania
(4000 km of Great Impressions)
Those of our esteemed readers who wish to see more of this regal metropolitan area, are invited to visit our other, totally Vienna-oriented travelogue also on this website.
The above chamber is just one of four; however, it certainly makes the case for the splendid colorful 5000 wall paintings by the hands of gifted masters. While seated on the chairs at the left hand and attentively listening to our tour guide, we were truly awe-struck, hardly willing to talk at all.
At least partially overlooking Bucharest, we visited the palaces and churches of the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchy. Very impressive indeed! Especially, because the Ceausescu regime felt never strong enough to silence the Romanian Orthodox Patriarchy. The authors strongly believe that the Christian Faith retained in the hearts of the Romanian people helped them tremendously to live through what may possibly have been the darkest period of their history.
Two examples of qualitatively better social/urban construction projects along the Danube.
Authored and Photographed
H.M.S.H. Grand Dame Heide A.M.
Duchess of Lower Silesia-Glogau &
H.M.S.H. Prof. Dr. Paul W.
Duke of Lower Silesia-Glogau
On the road leaving the picturesque village of Arbanassi, we noticed a castle-like structure, now utilized as a hotel and restaurant. With imagination and purposeful drive, the people of Bulgaria master their future by relying on their ancient traditions.
And last but not least, the third remembrance on our minds is that
General Nikolai Gul'kovskii, during the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878,
then Imperial Dragoon Life Guard Regimental Commander, had measurably contributed to freeing the people of Bulgaria from the yoke of Turkish oppressors. He paid for this act of gallantry by losing
the health of his right leg, which, during his entire lifetime, never really fully healed.
The General retired from Imperial Russian service as Governor General of Suvalki.
It was obvious to our travel group that Bucharest presented itself as a forward-oriented city that had thrown off the shackles of its past. It was clear to everyone that this town had advanced miles away from its Ceausescu past. This place was clean and its fleet of vehicles of all descriptions was modern and clearly well maintained. Beyond that, the volumes of municipal traffic can easily compete with
Berlin, Vienna, London and even Paris.
Life on Shipboard
Partial view of church interior.
One interior view of Melk Abbey library.
Third, the photograph on the right above heralds our arrival at the gigantic Fortress of Peterwardein in Bulgaria, yet adjacent to Serbian territory,
designed and built by genius French architect Vauban.
The Fortress of Peterwardein, already mentioned above, served Prince Eugene of Savoy as starting point for his final campaign against the Turks. The picture below offers our honored readers
a better appreciation of the fortress's dimensions.
On our travels back to Germany, we passed for a second time Budapest, Hungary. Although it was our initial intention to not extensively make mention of this beautiful city again, alas we couldn't help ourselves to succumb to this temptation.
Duchess Heide in front of our home away from home "Isabella," here docked in Belgrade, Serbia.
Second, we visited Novi Sad, the regional capital of Vojvodinas, Serbia. We liked this provincial city, because everywhere we went, we were reminded of the Danube Monarchy, Austria-Hugary.
The unbiased, academically inclined observer will, by traveling throughout the Danube Valley, undoubtedly arrive at the conclusion that this entire geographic area amounts to one gigantic tribute to the Habsburg Dynasty and their successive Imperial and Royal rulers. Bratislava is another sparkling diamond in this collier. The photographs below will also testify to this assessment.
Regretfully, but naturally, all good things must come to an end. We are only glad that the conclusion of our wonderful journey was reached in the beautiful city of Passau, home of the nice and sophisticated restaurant in which we enjoyed a typical Bavarian meal.
We departed Budapest during the advancing evening hours. What a spectacular sight!
By the way, the double-steeple church on the far right is St. Anne, where we were
solemnly invested into the Order of St. Lazarus in 2013.
Next stop Bratislava, Slovakia.