Return to Woodford

Back home and no sooner we were off again.  This time to my first and foundational church at Woodford, now called Woodford Wells Ecumenical Church.  Thanks to them for inviting David to preach again (this time an Anglican Communion, they alternate) and to Moira for her wonderful hospitality.  It was great to see so many of the old friends that I grew up with and to meet new members of the church.  A very joyful experience.

Finally Cologne

We had a beautiful sunrise for our last morning on the Danube and then we made our way to Passau, our last port of call.  The train journey then took us via Frankfurt to Cologne where we stayed at the Maritim Hotel.  We parted from the group next morning as they set off for London.  We stayed on for two more days to celebrate my birthday.  We were able to spend some leisurely time on a city bus tour and in the wonderful cathedral.


The cathedral holds relics of the Three Kings/Wise Men and has many representations of them in glass and statues.


This amazing altar piece is in high relief with local peasant scenes in the lower panels


Melk Abbey, Austria

Melk Abbey is amazingly elaborate and beautiful with one court leading into the next.  All the internal rooms are filled with treasures, reliquaries, painted altar pieces, and a huge library of gold bound books.  No photos were allowed inside.


Our final stop was for a wine tasting with accordion accompaniment.


Durnstein, Austria

This was the most beautiful place we visited anywhere.  It nestles among extensive vineyards, all the most glorious golden colour at this time of year.  This is where Richard the Lionheart was held when he was abducted on his return from the Crusades and finally ransomed.  His name is everywhere, notably at Rich Art a clothing shop with fabulous locally made designs.


Bratislava, Slovakia

On our way to Bratislava we saw the Danube as wild as we have seen it.  Those who remained on the boat hardly noticed it.

Visiting the Castle we had views across the city to tower blocks remaining  from Communist times, and a new bridge with a revolving restaurant.

As we stayed back from a late shopping expedition, five of us remained in an upstairs restaurant at the port until the others caught up with us for a very late return to the ship.


Kalocsa, Hungary

After two days on the ship with no visits (David did a Sunday service) this was our first wet and cold day.  We have been so lucky.  Today’s visits were however spectacular even if muddy and wet.

The horse show demonstrated the skill of the horsemen and their mounts, which included a very loveable donkey and long horned cattle.

Later we saw the production of paprika, folk dancing, egg painting, amazing embroidery, hand and free machining on the same piece.  Wall painting in various rooms.


Bucharest, Romania

The most striking part of this all day visit was this magnificent tiny Orthodox church.  Particularly important for us were two images of Christ’s resurrection, bringing with him patriarchs, prophets and Adam and Eve.