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Visiting European Capitals on the Danube

Story ID:7797
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various Europe
Year:2012
Person:Suzana
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I usually glance over the Ohio AAA Motorist Newspaper quickly and soon deposit
it into the recycling box I keep for weekly pickup by the city. But this time I was
late and only perused the January issue today. However, I was glad that I did
because this issue was different. Was it ever! To my great surprise and
delight was an invitation to visit the three "Imperial Cities" on the Danube River.
I lingered over the front page in great surprise and happiness. On it were 3
"postal" card pictures of Vienna, Austria, Bratislava, Slovakia, and Budapest,
Hungary. I was thrilled to pieces to see at last the capital city of Slovakia among
the "Imperial Three."

This is my parent's native land, and I felt we were never given our just due. We
had been under the dominance of the Austro-Hungarian Empire with no say about
how we were governed. Then with the fall of the Empire, we entered into a pact
with the Czechs for a supposed "partnership" which never really materialized. I
always felt they had been the lucky ones because they had been under the rule of
the Austrians who I believe gave them educational opportunities while also
helping them to industrialize their nation. Not so with the Hungarians who ruled
the Slovak lands. There was almost no opportunity for education, and the country
remained agrarian under their rule. Thank God that's past history, but I believe
it explains a lot.

I personally was very happy when we entered into the Velvet Divorce with the
Czechs in 1993- thereby giving us true sovereignty. So now at last the capital city
of Bratislava (glory of brothers) stands proudly with the other two imperial cities
on the Danube -masters of our own fate finally.

Everybody has "bucket" wishes, but taking this Imperial Cities Tour is not one of
mine - only because I have already experienced the thrill of a lifetime when I
visited the tnen Communist- held Czechoslovakia in 1972. A Cleveland ethnic
travel agency had arranged for a Russian Aeroflot airplane to land at the Cleveland
Hopkins Airport to take us to Czechoslovakia. I couldn't believe my good luck. It was
a wish that had absorbed me for a long time, but made even more imperative because
of the recent death of my mother. My father too was gone now. I wanted so much to
walk the land they had trod. Now my dream had become a reality and I loved every
minute of my 3 weeks there.

If your roots are from one of these 3 countries, you may seriously think of going on
this tour (June 21-30). Under the pictures was the enticing title "3 CAPITALS, 3
CULTURES-- Discover the distinctive cultures and charms of Vienna, Bratislava,
and Budapest.

Inspired by one of AAA's tour managers who was "wowed" by these 3 cities in 2011,
the article states that "...you will experience firsthand the Austrian, Slovak, and
Hungarian love of life in the full flush of June, when outdoor cafes thrive, street
markets blossom and shoppers, huskers and festivals abound.

I realize that this tour invitation is extended primarily to the people receiving the
Ohio Motorist, but I imagine that similar tours can be had should you embark this
summer on a trip to Eastern Europe. I also think you will enjoy reading their 3 word
descriptions of the cities: Vienna- WURST, WALTZES, WINE ---- Bratislava - FOLKY,
FUNKY, FUN----Budapest -PRIDE, "PARIS," PAPRIKAS."

Having worked in a Travel Agency for a year, I also enjoyed reading the very
detailed descripton of what you will see and eat in these three capitals. If interested,
I know research is easily available. Hopefully, if planning a trip to Eastern Europe,
you may find a tour similar to this one of the 3 Imperial Cities on the Danube "which
overflow with history, charm and flavor."