Sunday, January 6, 2019

Monday, December 31, 2018: Bucharest, Romania to Vienna, and on to Melk, Austria: Happy New Year’s Eve

            Our time in Romania is over.  It was so good to see the former exchange student and her family in her country and experience a Romanian Christmas with them.  We enjoyed their traditions, and most of their traditional foods – they use fish in many ways, and we are not the biggest lovers of fish. Her extended family made us feel very welcomed. It is always interesting to be able to hear from a local about their politics and government, knowing it is from their viewpoint.  Also, they showed us places in their part of Romania before we ventured out on our own to other parts of Romania. 

Most of the time there was a lovely winter landscape with snow, especially in the mountains. The white snow kept things bright, as the sun eluded us almost the whole time.  But I’m not sure Romania isn’t one of those countries to visit in the summer, especially Transylvania where there are green rolling hills.  Part of the charm of Romania is how it is somewhat set in time. As you drive through the countryside you see flocks of sheep with their shepherd, farmers using horse drawn carts/wagons, hay stacks in the small fields, many wooden churches in villages, monasteries tucked into valleys, and lots of lovely Romanian Orthodox churches. Romanian was interesting.

            Today is a day of transport, back to Vienna.  We repacked for flying, had breakfast at the hotel, returned the car, and shuttled to the airport.

            The flight went well, and it was good to see the sun was still there above the clouds. In fact, the sun was shining in Vienna.  We did not anticipate the dreary weather we have been experiencing the past 3 weeks. It has been a week since we have seen the sun. 

At the Vienna airport we rented a Skoda car with automatic transmission, for this segment of our trip. All the other vehicles we have rented have been manual, so this is a pleasant switch.  We drove west out of Vienna to the village of Melk.  Melk is known for its Monastery overlooking the village. It is New Year’s Eve. Things are book-up and very expensive in Vienna, so we opted to drive to Melk. We are sure there will be enough celebration in Melk for us.  Melk is along the Danube, and a stop on Danube River Cruises. We drove in this area during the summer of 2003 and toured the Monastery at that time.

We are staying in the Rathauskeller Hotel in the center of the village. The restaurant must be the best in town, as it was completely booked for dinner tonight.  This afternoon, soon after leaving the airport we stopped at a Burger King.  We do not want much to eat tonight, but since places are already closed or will close early, we need to grab a bite at a café/restaurant across the street.

Melk is celebrating tonight.  In the town square there will be music, and the Christmas market stalls will sell adult beverages to ring in the New Year. After midnight there was a large firework show.  We decided to take a nap, so we can go outside around 11:45 pm.  At home in Mt Pleasant, we are usually in bed when the clock strikes 12, after watching the Ball in New York City, dropping at 11:00.

Cal & I remember being in Germany for New Year’s 1973.  We had no idea the Germans celebrated New Year’s with Fireworks.  It sounded like the war had broken out again!  And we had a baby we were trying to keep asleep!
Melk Abbey

New Years Fire Works

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