A Trip to the Past

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I hope there were a few people who missed my blog last week.  I was on vacation.  Some of you may know that my idea of a vacation is getting on a cruise ship, laying around a pool or floating in the ocean, reading a good book, eating plenty of food, watching excellent entertainment, and placing a bet or two hoping for a winning hand in the casino.

This past week, I did very little of that.  I was on a Viking river cruise down the Danube visiting various ports in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.  You may wonder why I would change my vacation modus operandi.  Very simply – our first stop was Passau, Germany, and that is the birthplace of my wife, Luba.  One of her father’s wishes was that she one day visit her place of birth.  This was the primary impetus behind the trip. We were accompanied by our oldest daughter, her husband, and our two grandchildren.

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My wife’s parents were actually Ukrainians who were displaced during World War II.  They ended up in a US government camp in Passau where they met and married.  Through research and the paperwork we possessed, we were able to discover where the camp was located and we believe we found the church where they were married and where Luba was baptized.  As you might expect, Passau was very emotional.  It certainly brought back the many stories that my in-laws shared with us prior to their deaths.

We just happened to be there for Corpus Christi, a holiday that falls on a Thursday, 60 days after Easter Sunday.  We attended a mass at St. Stephen’s Church and listened to Europe’s largest pipe organ which possesses 17,000 pipes.  We then saw a procession of the congregation through the streets of Passau following the service.  Our primary goal of experiencing Luba’s past was fulfilled.

Next, it was off to Linz, the provincial capital of Upper Austria.  We toured a medieval castle, walked over a bear moat, strolled through a street festival, and ate Hungarian goulash.  There was a big celebration to commemorate the first day of summer, so we were privy to a great fireworks display over the Danube at night.

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Our boat then sailed through the Wachau Valley, passing through vineyard after vineyard.  The layout of the land is stunning.  Our destination was Krems, Austria.  We toured the Abbey and were fortunate to be there for a wedding, with all the pomp of an Austrian nuptial.

Then, it was on to Vienna.  That was our only day of rain, but I had my RCN Nickelodeon umbrella so we were fine.  There are palaces, elegant public buildings, opera houses, the Hapsburg residences, and the Lipizzaner horses.  The only negative was that we were there on a Sunday and most of the shops were closed.

On to Bratislava, which borders Austria and Hungary – more great architecture and magnificent churches.  We walked across the Danube and visited a music festival, reminiscent of our own Musikfest.  Plenty of food, vendors, and music surrounded us.

It all came to an awesome arrival into Budapest at 10:00 PM with the entire city lit up.  It is like a Disneyland of the 19th century.  It is a view like none other.  The next day we toured Buda on one side of the river and Pest on the other.  It was the perfect way to end our week.

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A couple of notes:

  • The Danube is not blue and we were told it never was.
  • The boats are extremely long and narrow with one hallway on each of the three floors.
  • You cannot believe the traffic on the river.
  • At times, another Viking boat is parked right alongside, so when we went out on our balcony the view was the side of another boat.
  • When this parking situation occurs, those passengers must pass through your boat to get to shore – that seemed a bit unusual, but we also had to do it on one occasion.
  • The staff of the Viking Ingvi (our boat’s name) could not be any more hospitable or efficient.
  • The food is excellent.
  • The flights are not enjoyable because of their length – 8 hours going; 10 hours returning. Thank goodness for in-flight entertainment.

In conclusion, the tears of both sadness and accomplishment on my wife’s face made passing up the Caribbean for this trip through her family’s past a once in a lifetime experience.  There is a huge regret that her parents were not alive to know she accomplished their wishes.  We all hope, in some way, they know.


  1. Major League baseball made its way to London this past weekend for the very first time. The Yankees played the Red Sox and it was not quite the baseball we are used to – four-hour games; the teams combined for 50 runs in two games; 10 home runs; and 65 hits.  There was a 58-minute inning, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan) attended along with 100,000+ others, and the “wave” made an appearance.  And the Yankees have won 13 of their last 14.
  1. What happened to the Phillies while I was away? They lost 13 of their last 21 and have fallen way behind the Braves.  They play three at Atlanta and three at the Mets this week before the All-Star break.  This week could make or break them.
  1. The 76ers lost Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, two important pieces to their rebuild. They get Tobias Harris and Al Horford.  Seems to be that they are a weaker team now.  More to come.
  1. Blue Mountain League baseball coverage takes a week off as the teams enjoy a 4th of July break. BML baseball continues next Tuesday with the Hellertown Royals taking on the Easton Falcons.  The BML Game of the Week comes on at 9:30 PM.  Join the RCN-TV sports team.


4th of July

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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