Virtuoso Life - May/June 2017 - 92
AN UNSEASONABLY CRISP AUGUST EVENING
on the German bank of the Danube River,
four men in lederhosen and felt Seppelhut
caps blast out an oompah crescendo to celebrate Oktoberfest. A crowd packs the white
tent, erected beside the 158-passenger AmaSonata riverboat, munching on pretzels and
sausage and swaying to the tuba bass line.
This party, thrown expressly for ship passengers by the hamlet of Vilshofen an der
Donau, is either a month early or 11 months
late, but nobody seems to mind.
It's night one of an eight-day, five-country
cruise from Prague to Budapest - an itinerary so ambitiously bewildering that it might
as well be October. Having started the day in
Prague, transferred three hours by bus from
the Czech Republic to the Bavarian countryside, and pedaled a bike through 30 miles
of tidy pastures and hushed villages, it feels
V I RT U O S O L I F E
like I've already been gone a week.
"The Prague-to-Budapest route has this
very charming feel," says Manhattan-based
Virtuoso travel advisor Kimberly Wilson
Wetty of this seminal European itinerary.
"You get to experience sleepy towns that
you've probably never even heard of."
That's especially true for a small group
of us aboard AmaSonata, who, rather than
soaking up the journey from the top deck,
will cycle from port to port through blinkand-you'll-miss-them villages. It's part of a
partnership between AmaWaterways and
walking and biking tour operator Backroads
that uses the ship as a floating hotel, with
bikes to experience the terrain.
The adventure reflects a shift in river
cruising. "Five years ago, there was a perception that it was for older travelers, but
it's vibrant and luxurious again and is
LIKE A SET
FOR A BROTHERS GRIMM
STORY, THE TOWN
IS A STACK OF BLOCKY,
AND TOWERS WITH
RED-TILE ROOFS BENEATH