How To Take a Viking River Cruise–Part 1.

It’s been a while since my last post. We have a bit of catching up to do.

Amsterdam-The Brower Haus built in 1737.

Last Christmas, we decided we’d save our bucks for  anniversary, birthdays, and  Christmas and give ourselves an international  experience in the upcoming year instead.

Okay, we were probably watching too much Public Broadcasting. The beguiling violins and cellos of the Viking Cruise song lured us like sirens … and shoot, darn, heck, who doesn’t want to travel to foreign places to learn to knead bread, make pancakes, and run between the blades of the windmills. (Okay, maybe not that last one.) We signed up.

The Grand European Tour: Amsterdam to Budapest

1. PACK TIGHT:  I’m a small packer, traveling with a carry-on and a backpack. Of course, I look like a charwoman most of the time, but when I’m traveling, I figure I’ll never see these folks again, so why risk a dislocated spine?

But on a river cruise, you DO see these folks. Everyday. Every night. Almost  every meal. Almost every tour. So here’s a travel-secret: Use the JEANS-TECHNIQUE: No one is sure if you’ve previously worn your jeans, OR if you’ve got on a fresh pair…so you could probably do a 15-day trip with 2 pair of jeans.  Unfortunately, my jeans look like they should be made into Raggedy Ann dolls, so I simply packed black clothes. I looked like Johnny Cash with a scarf. The good news is that no one cares what you wear (unless you’re naked). These trips are pretty laid-back.

Keisergracht (Kings Canal) About 15,000 bikes end up in the canals each year.

2. ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION EARLY: I have a lot of talents. Most of them are useless (like counting backward in Pig-Latin or juggling sponges), but my favorite skill is being able to sleep on airplanes. I snap on noise-canceling headphones, a blindfold, warm socks, blanket, air pillows, nearby snacks, water, and Chapstick, and I’m snoozin’ by the time we reach mid-Atlantic ocean. I arrive only slightly less jet-lagged than Dallas Cowboy Fan, who has watched four movies through the overseas flight. HINT: We try to arrive early and soak up sunshine in our new locale; it’s supposed to help the body reset. I don’t know if it works because every time I sit in the sun, I fall asleep like a cat in a warm spot.


Yeah, sure, the cruise folks provide local lectures and tours in every town.  But these are

Whaddya mean these are Dutch pancakes??

the usual touristy stuff. If you want to mix it up with the locals, you’ll have to find your own adventures.  And honest-to-Pete, our unplanned forays were some of the best parts of the trip. (See Part 2-coming)


Why?  Because you’ll be spending A LOT of time sitting around, watching the scenery go by.  Yes, most of it is lovely and interspersed with the squeaks of going through 67 locks, but it’s like being at a party for 2 weeks with strangers. People start hauling out cards, board games, dominoes, or telling you about relatives that you may (or may not)  care about.  One experienced traveler brought his taxes to work on; others brought knitting, puzzles, Kindle readers stuffed with books, journals, and several brought work from their offices. (There’s a lot of down-time).


Unpack in your cleverly engineered room. You’ll be pulling up to the food tanks about

Don’t worry about language. This sign means (If you stand on this open air bus, you’ll lose your head.

every 4 hours During this cruise-time, Viking will treat you like a queen or king. So IF your ideal vacation is eating and visiting OR not having to cook, do housework, or laundry, then you’re going to be very very happy. IF you need to be a bit more activity… you’ll need to come up with a plan.

Of course, not all plans turned out like we expected. We’re in a different country, don’t speak the language, and can’t read the signs. What could go wrong? But that creates the great memories of travel.

Merry Christmas…may you have a few surprises among your presents.

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” 
― Anita Desai







About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
This entry was posted in A Laugh, Appreciation, Change, Humor, Traveling and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to How To Take a Viking River Cruise–Part 1.

  1. jmgoyder says:

    This is so hilarious!


  2. Pingback: How to Take a Viking River Cruise-Part 2 | Lutheran Ladies Circle

  3. Pingback: How To Take A Viking River Cruise: Part 2 | Before Morning Breaks

  4. nrhatch says:

    Black is the new black! 😀


  5. Margy says:

    We haven’t taken a Viking River Cruise – looking forward to your recommendations and stories!


  6. Elyse says:

    I have absolutely no interest in those enormous cruise ships, but always found the Viking ones interesting. So if you don’t mind, I’m coming along on yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jono51 says:

    I want to be the guy with the drum beating out the cadence for the oarsmen. Or sitting on the deck blissfully watching the world go by.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We made that same Viking trip three years ago at this time. I’m not a shopper but enjoyed strolling through the Christmas markets. Looking forward to your next report. Have a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How lovely to see you pop up in my reader. With an adventure (several adventures?) to share. My partner packs for three months away in a backpack. It works for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb says:

      A backpack. I need to take lessons from him. I also think of you on the solstice. The sun will soon be slipping back in our direction. I hope you had a great summer.


  10. It’s good to know that while you’ve been absent from the blogosphere, you’ve been off enjoying a mah-velous adventure. Sounds terrific!

    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb says:

      Uh…er…well, yes, let’s use that as an excuse. The truth is…I was just too lazy to sit down and write this adventure up.(But thanks for giving me credit.)


  11. RoseL says:

    HA HA! I can picture you streaking everyone at least once wearing only sunglasses and a large-brimmed hat. No one wold recognize ya!!
    Falling asleep like a cat in a warm spot–love it!
    Looking forward to reading about your adventures.
    The Kindle filled with games and books is a great fall back. Can fall asleep holding it and look intelligent on the side!
    The food…everyone who has been on a cruise always tells me about the food! My dad gained 10 pounds! Gotta watch that! All the food and relaxing could be a downfall, leading to clothes not fitting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb says:

      Oh, Rose. I slobber when I sleep, so I doubt if I’d fool anyone. The idea of streaking never crossed my mind. Shoot, darn heck. But it was cold. BRRRRRR!


  12. Mary Jean Rivera says:

    Yea! May it be positively memorable! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Al says:

    We’ve loved those Viking Cruises, but we get a little tired pulling those oars every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sharon white says:

    Look out for a person known to our cruising family as “cowboy Dan”. He’s been on most of our cruises.He’s lean,tall, wearing a cowboy hat. He hangs out on the deck leaning over the rail,telling me of all his many cruises and attempting to impress ride who will listen to him. When I try to leave to another deck-he ends up there also. Cruise on, my friend.Have a merry surprise on Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barb says:

      OH MY! We did have a cowboy-hat wearing guy on our boat. He never stayed with the group, though. I wonder if it was the same guy? He never followed me around. YOu must have more “cruise-attraction” than me.


  15. Roxie Matthews says:

    Your packing strategy is brilliant. Johnny Cash with a colorful scarf is the way to go! I am really looking forward to your further reports!

    Liked by 2 people

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