Thursday, June 25, 2009

Strauss, You Were in Tune

In Days with the Dads, I implied that Johann Strauss II may have been spending too much time in Viennese wine taverns when he created his classic waltz. We crossed the famous “blue” Danube twice two years ago, and it definitely was green.

This spring, as we headed north from Vienna along the Danube, we observed the same phenomenon several times. The river was green. It was green when we stopped for the evening at a bed and breakfast in Regensburg on a bluff overlooking the stream. The day had been sunny and bright, as had all others when we had observed the famous river.

The sky was overcast when we rose early the next morning. The Danube was deep blue! It stayed that way as we turned west and drove through the upper river basin, an area not often visited by international tourists. At Walhalla, a temple built on a hill by King Ludwig I of Bavaria to honor distinguished Germans, excellent views of the river were part of the attraction.

A bust of Strauss is among the 130 on display in Walhalla. He can look down on a beautiful Blue Danube, and marvel at the ignorance of American tourists who don’t understand that it’s when and where you look at things, as well as how, that matters.

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