All About The Danube
When it comes to “world’s most famous river lists,” the Danube almost always appears in the top five. It flows through nine countries – Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine. The Danube sustained so many aspects of daily life throughout the centuries, as a food source – as home to premier cities and market towns – as a primary transportation means – and as a primary influencer in the course of pivotal world history events. But beyond that, for centuries the Danube has captured the imagination and stirred the soul. Join us for a look at what makes the Danube fanciful and compelling, singularly unique and important, imperial and – beautiful. There is nothing more soothing, or inspirational for creativity, than the idea of an idyllic river cruise along the Danube. The Blue Danube (or On the Beautiful Blue Danube) by “Waltz King” Johann Strauss was inspired by the river itself – so for your next Zoom get together, we’ve provided a customized version you can use as your backdrop.
The Blue Danube
An in-depth look at the river and a story behind the tune
Europe’s second longest river (after the Volga in Russia) flows from Germany to the Black Sea. Throughout time, the Danube has provided inspiration for poets, writers, artists and musicians. We’ve put together a collection of content – documentaries, podcasts and videos – that tell the story of the river from its cultural landscapes to historic iconic sites. But to begin, a story about the behind the scenes story of The Blue Danube.
The role of music on the Danube
Music along the Danube exists in many forms, of course, beyond The Beautiful Blue Danube. Many of the world’s great composers were born in towns along the Danube, or in cities in close proximity to the river. From operas to classical music concertos, ballets to symphonies, regional folk tunes to modern jazz, music has helped to define cultural identity throughout the countries where the Danube flows. Whether classical compositions in royal courts or spirited gypsy music in the countryside, the Danube counts among its artists some of the world’s great composers and enduring musical legacies. We’re pleased to present an introduction to the classics – and in celebration of “everything old is new again” we’re pleased to introduce you to the “Funny Fellows,” a highly creative musical group that entertains our guests along the Danube with music ranging from traditional to ragtime to jazz to… with a special video message for Tauck guests.
The Legend of Dracula
Along the Lower Danube
We’ll venture a guess that all of us, at some point, have been spooked by Bram Stoker’s now-eternal literary masterpiece, the story of Dracula. Stoker was an Irish journalist who never visited Romania or Transylvania, but he was a tireless researcher armed with a guidebook and the recollections of a friend who knew the area and its legends well. He was also acquainted with the English actor Henry Irving whose talent for playing aristocratic villains onstage informed the speech and mannerisms of Stoker’s Count Dracula. There’s little doubt that the fictional vampire was inspired in part by Vlad Tepes, a 15th-century aristocrat known as Vlad the Impaler, who is said to have killed as many as 80,000 of his enemies in that gruesome manner. But what Stokes got wrong is that Tepes is a hero in Romania because he helped rid the country of Ottoman invaders. What he got remarkably right is the imagery of a land that still seems untamed around the edges, encircled by dramatic mountains and deep forests, and populated by villages off the beaten path, hilltop castles, and hair-raising stories – among them, stories of Bran Castle that became the inspiration for “Dracula’s Castle.” Learn more about Bran Castle and extraordinary stories found along the Lower Danube in our collection of videos and podcasts – including a look at paprika, Hungary’s essential spice.
Wine along the Danube
2,000 years of stories
If music defines the cultural fabric of the countries along the Danube, then winemaking and vineyards refine and enrich it. As often happens, the landscapes, climate and soil along the banks of the Danube change as the river flows through each of nine countries. Dry wines and sweet wines, Rieslings, Chardonnays, Cabernets and Merlots – winemaking along the Danube tells the stories of the ages and of nature. We’ve curated some videos to provide you with a closer look at the wines of Germany, Austria and Hungary – along with a look at one of the most verdent regions, Austria’s Wachau Valley. In addition, we have a special video from Martin Sloboda, our long-time partner, friend, and expert local guide in Bratislava, who shares an overview of the history and legacy of Danube wines – enjoy with your beverage of choice!
Palaces and Castles
Royal life on the Danube
When the road you travel is the Danube, it’s enchanting – eclectic river landscapes, vestiges of civilizations past, romantic villages – and so often just “around the bend in the river,” magnificent castles, palaces, royal fortresses or royal residences reign. Centuries of tales and legends are intertwined with history, inseparable in the stories throughout time along the Danube. Two of our longstanding partnerships are with Palais Pallavicini in the Imperial city of Vienna, and Lobkowicz Palace in Prague. The Pallavicini family’s deep European roots date as far back as the 10th century; they acquired Palais Pallavicini, a Baroque legend in the heart of Vienna, in 1842 – and it is still family owned today. They’ve partnered with us for many years, creating a magical evening in their palace for our guests – a silver service dinner in a gilded ballroom, transporting you to another time and place. Once one of Bohemia’s most prominent noble families, the Lobkowicz were forced to flee their homeland twice under both the Nazi and Communist regimes, returning to reclaim their confiscated possessions, with the mission to preserve, study, and share them with the world – and our exclusive dinner in 16th-century Lobkowicz Palace immerses in an evening of classical treasures. You’ll find a video introduction to Lobkowicz Palace, as well as documentaries about a few of the other notable palaces in Budapest, Vienna and Dürnstein, inside – a glimpse into royal life along the Danube.
“National Plan For Vacation Day”
Dreaming of travel in the year ahead
Tauck is proud to be a member and active supporter of the U.S. Travel Association – and January 26 was designated by the association as “National Plan for Vacation Day.” Together with our peers across the industry – from hotels and transportation providers, to airlines and small businesses in all 50 states – we are supporting America through the power of travel. We are working together to prepare for the future, ensuring your trips are safe and healthy – and providing inspiration to “start dreaming.”
Nothing is more exciting than planning your next travels – planning, and anticipation, fulfills a need for something to look forward to. Your journey begins the moment you decide to go somewhere; to get inspired, to save a date, to book a trip. To decide to visit that destination you’ve always wanted to experience. With 20+ journeys across North America in 2021, there’s never been a better time to explore the United States with Tauck. Join us by looking forward and making plans, because when the time is right for you, we’ll be ready.