Being a popular destination among Indonesian travellers, Europe continues to impress us with its natural beauty, amazing metropolitan cities, art and culture, food, and most of it all the diversities of countries to explore.

The City of Passau from Danube River. Photo by Erza ST/NOW!JAKARTA

On a recent trip to Europe, I decided to revisit Germany and make a journey to discover the beauty of the famous historical cities in Bavaria. For a different and new travelling experience, I took a river cruise on the Danube River and gosh! What a memorable journey it was!

I went to Germany 11 years ago, a quick visit to Berlin in order to meet a dear friend who lives there. Ever since that trip, I have explored much of Europe but have never had the opportunity to return to this great country again. This year, I discovered Avalon Waterways, one of the great river cruise operators in Europe that takes one on a unique and luxurious journey discovering cities along the riverside. One of the packages they offer is a cruise along the Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg for 10 days.

The idea of hopping countries in Europe throughout the river connection is honestly very intriguing. From the scenic city of Budapest, the 110-metre Avalon Visionary Suite Ship took me on a stunning excursion passing beautiful cities such as Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Passau, and Regensburg, before finally arriving at Nuremberg. I was particularly excited to visit the state of Bavaria for the first time ever. As a region that has existed since the year 520, Bavaria, with its magnificent history, became a kingdom in 1806, and part of the German Empire in 1871. However, this changed after World War I, and since 1949, this whole region—with its 25 cities—is now known as the Free State of Bavaria.

Exploring baravia's river with Avalon Visionary.

Every time we arrived in a city, the cruise organised a city tour. We also had a couple hours of free time to explore on our own, shop, or enjoy the famous beer from each city. Almost every city blew us away with the magnificent architectural design and their decorative arts. Notable highlights include the gorgeous Blue Church in Durnstein, the lavish Melk Abbey that has one of the best Baroque designs, the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral of Passau that houses the largest cathedral organ in the world, the stunning St. Peter’s Cathedral of Regensburg as one of the prime examples of Gothic architecture in the region, and unusual Medieval style of The Nuremberg Castle.

While in Bavaria, I enjoyed the various beers the region had to offer including the first experience of ‘rus’ in Passau, where they mix cold wheat beer with lemonade. I also went to the famous Old Sausage House in Regensburg which serves great Bavarian sausage with delicious sauerkraut. In Nuremberg, the Hauptmarkt Square in the old town offers a great number of cafes and restaurants that serve local dishes. Being a foodie in this region is really quite a fun experience!

The Baroque St. Stephen Cathedral in Passau (left) and The Hauptmarkt Square in Nuremberg (right).
Inside Panorama Suite at Avalon Waterways Ship. 

Summertime in Europe this year was actually very hot and I was happy to return to the comfort of my beautiful suite inside the Avalon Visionary Suite Ship. The 19 sq. m Panorama Suite where I stayed had panoramic windows that slide to create a balcony-like effect.

This was complemented by state-of-art luxury amenities such as Egyptian super-combed cotton linen, L’Occitane toiletries, a flat-screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, nightly turn-down service, spacious three-door closets, bathrobes and slippers, and a spacious bathroom with shower, just like in a five-star hotel. In the evening, passengers dressed for dinner which was follow by a nightcap session at the Panorama Lounge. Each morning, after a scrumptious breakfast, I chose to spend my time on the lounge chairs on the deck while enjoying the view of the beautiful Danube River.

As one of the most reputed river cruise operators in the world, Avalon Waterways, which is part of the Globus family brand, was founded in 2004. Their first ship was the Avalon Artistry, followed by the Avalon Poetry in 2005. They were the first European river cruise ships to include two full decks of staterooms with French balconies and sliding glass doors. To take part in the Avalon Waterways river cruise is really a luxurious way to enjoy Europe in a different atmosphere. They really helped make my experience exploring the Bavarian region simply unforgettable!

Erza S.T.

Erza S.T.

Erza S.T. is the founder of Indonesia Opera Society and has helped contribute to the citys classical music scene. An avid traveller, he writes about his forays around the world for NOW! Jakartas travel section.