We left lovely Bratislava around Noon on Friday, cruising down the Danube, Danube Canal, and Danube river towards Budapest in Hungary. The afternoon was sunny and bright, with perfectly clear skies and reasonably warm temperatures. Cruising was very nice. The shore-side scenery was peaceful and serene.
The first major event in the cruising was passage through the major lock separating the Danube canal (built to control flooding in Slovakia) from the lower Danube river. The lock was built to accommodate a change in water level of 60 feet and was large enough to handle two river boats side by side. As the reader may remember from prior posts (or experience), the process is simple. 1) Boat enters lock. 2) Massive doors close front and back isolating boat. 3) Sluice gates open to allow water to enter (if rising) or exit (if falling). 4) When lock level equals destination level, front door opens. 5) Boat sails out.
Here are a few photos describing the process we experienced.
The weather was so nice during the cruise, that many people took advantage of the sun deck.
Later Friday evening, many of us decided to stay awake until Midnight to watch the lights of Budapest as we rounded the bend in the Danube and approached the city.
Finally, the grand moment came (around Midnight), the boat slipped under one of the beautiful bridges into the harbor and the gorgeous castles and parliament buildings came into view, lit up like fairytale structures…
It was well worth the wait.