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See some of Europe’s greatest cities on Danube trip

THERE can t be many more relaxing ways to wake up than to the sound of gentle waves lapping as you gaze at blue skies through an open window. Even better is the chance to turn on the telly and via the nifty Bow Cam, savour the view as your river cruiser sails serenely on.

See Some Of Europe's Greatest Cities On Danube Trip

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A Danube cruise includes a stop at beautiful Budapest

Welcome to the most relaxing Discount Holidays © holiday you will ever take. My wife and I had answered an appeal for virgins not that sort!

Emerald Waterways wanted a couple who had never been on any type of cruise before to discover first-hand why river cruising is booming. After a week aboard the Emerald Sky travelling up the River Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg, it is easy to see why it has become so popular, especially with couples. This 500-mile journey through four countries, visiting three capital cities and a host of pretty German country towns, is the perfect way to see the heart of Europe.

Doing the same journey by coach and having to pack and unpack to stay in a different hotel each evening is a nightmare. But with river cruising you simply stay in the same room each night and your hotel does the travelling. Each morning you wake up in the heart of a new town, ready to explore.

The 445ft long Emerald Sky is one of the newest boats in Emerald s fleet and the Australian company is celebrating its third anniversary in the European river cruise market. Many of the 170 guests on-board were Aussies and Canadians but more and more Brits than ever are discovering the delights of the Danube.

See Some Of Europe's Greatest Cities On Danube Trip

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The Danube cruise with Emerald Waterways takes in Hungary, Slovakia and Austria

BUDAPEST

Passengers fly in from regional UK airports and as you gather in the arrivals lounge in Budapest with your green Emerald rucksack, a camaraderie quickly develops. Our trip began two days after the Brexit vote and everyone wanted to quiz the naughty Brits about whether we d voted in or out. A night-time cruise up and down the river past Budapest s historic Parliament Building was the highlight of day one closely followed by a night of Hungarian dancing.

Dining is informal. Beer and wine are served at meals and included in the price and often feature local wines from vineyards you can see as you sail by on the ship. We didn t have a single bad bottle the whole trip.

BRATISLAVA

Walking down the gangplank straight into the heart of Slovakia s capital, there were soldiers everywhere and police helicopters hovered like wasps. Slovakia took over the EU presidency last month and it s here Theresa May will come to haggle with Euro chiefs over Brexit in the coming months.

In Bratislava, locals say public transport is like death no one ever knows when it comes. So, our cruise director Patricia arranged private buses to take us off the tourist trail on a 35-minute ride to the small town of Shenvita, where grapes for the royal wines that graced the tables of the Hapsburg emperors were grown. Small groups visited the homes of local people including Ella Bilska, who supplements her pension by growing row upon row of vines in her garden to supply the local winery and giving afternoon tea to curious cruisers. As Ella told us shipmates about her life living under Russian rule until the Berlin Wall fell, her daughter Katarina, inset, with mum Ella and daughter Viktoria, served coffee along with a delicious chocolate and strawberry cake.

A traditional family recipe? I enquired.

No, internet!

Leaving Partyslava, as the city is known to British revellers, we left the quayside and headed to the on-board bar . . . and Vienna.

VIENNA

The Danube Europe s longest river after the Volga is now so popular more than 20 cruise boats were moored at the quayside when we woke in Vienna. Often, boats from rival companies tie up alongside each other and you have to walk through other ships to get to the dockside it s a great way of checking out the opposition.

Tours are organised at every stop but you don t have to do them all. If you are suffering from what Australians called ABC syndrome another bleedin church you can do your own thing. We took a taxi to check out Vienna s spectacular Spanish Riding School and while waiting for our tour to begin, headed just down the road to Herrengasse for coffee and pastries in the Austrian capital s famous Central Coffee House. It was here Lenin and Trotsky planned the Russian revolution but no one openly admits this was also Adolf Hitler s favourite place for tea.

One of the city s other gems, the Crown Jewels of the Habsburgs, doesn t open on a Tuesday. As the Emerald Sky navigated through spectacular gorges, historic picture-postcard towns glided by and the remaining days in southern Germany passed as serenely as the swans that came to visit. Activities on-board included the chance to improve a skill for keeping our grandchildren happy when we got home using a bath and a hand towel to create a swan and an elephant.

At Nuremberg after eight days, 700km and 25 locks, we could have happily stayed an extra week to continue the journey to Amsterdam with our new friends on Emerald Sky. Arriving home, our biggest disappointment is that Bow Cam is not screened live on the company s website emeraldwaterways.co.uk so we could enjoy that view all year.

GETTING/ STAYING THERE:

Head off on an eight-night Emerald Waterways Danube Delights cruise next year and save up to 700pp, as well as 250 Euros to spend onboard. Book before September 30 and prices are from 1,395. This includes return flights from London, Manchester or Birmingham, 20 meals including free wine, beer and soft drinks, six shore excursions plus activities on and off the ship.

All tips are included.

Book at emeraldwaterways.co.uk1 or call 0808 115 6269.

References

  1. ^ emeraldwaterways.co.uk (www.emeraldwaterways.co.uk)

Parents who took term-time holiday have fine overturned

Couple argued taking their young sons out of school was worth it for the broader educational value

A COUPLE who could not afford a peak season Discount Holidays © holiday have won their battle against their sons school fine. Hannah Manchester and Neil Hynes were charged 240 after travelling to Spain with their children1 but had it overturned after arguing the trip was worth it for the broader educational value .

Parents Who Took Term-time <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Have Fine Overturned

Manchester Evening News

Hannah Manchester and Neil Hynes with their sons Issak and Liam who they took on Discount Holidays © holiday to Spain during term time and faced a fine Parents Who Took Term-time <b><i>Discount Holidays ©</i></b> Holiday Have Fine Overturned

Joel Goodman/Manchester Evening News

Mum Hannah argued that the kids would learn important lessons and gain valuable experiences from this trip

Hannah and Neil took Isaak, 10, and Liam, six, out of school a few days2 before the end of term as it was an affordable time to book a holiday. Psychiatric nurse Hannah 38, told teachers3 about the family Discount Holidays © holiday hoping they would take their outstanding attendance record into account, the Manchester Evening News4 reports.

She said: We don t take the boys out of school for just any old reason, but we re very confident that the outstanding attendance of both our boys, and the broader educational value of our planned trip meant it was acceptable on this occasion.

Neil and I agreed that the kids would learn important lessons and gain valuable experiences from this trip which we felt would compensate for a very short absence from school.

Discount Holidays © HOLIDAY ROW

Mum facing jail after taking daughter on term-time break because her other kids have different holidays

Furious Schools Minister tears into dad who beat his term-time Discount Holidays © holiday ban to take kid to Disney World

SCHOOL HALVED TERMS

Kids from seaside town to get an EXTRA week off school to help parents avoid Discount Holidays © holiday rip-offs

school HOLs win

Council drops 18 legal cases against term-time Discount Holidays © holiday parents after recent High Court victory

SCHOOL FINE ROW

Mum could be fined for taking her 13-year-old son out of school for one day for her own wedding

Hannah added: The trip delivered all of that including a visit to a capital city, important landmarks, art galleries and museums not to mention of course exposure to Spanish as a language which Isaak studies at school. The family, from Manchester5, travelled around Spain and visited Madrid, Granada and the Murcia area. But a month after they returned home they received a fine from the Local Education Authority after being told by the school the Discount Holidays © holiday could not be authorised.

They decided to challenge it and four days later the fine was withdrawn and replaced with a warning.

These parents beat council fine for term time Discount Holidays © holiday urges others to fight back

Now the couple are encouraging others to stand up against fines. Hannah added: I am not saying that parents should be encouraged to book holidays in term time; rather I am trying to advocate that schools take a common sense approach and consider the record and performance of the children in question before issuing fines and reporting parents to the LEA.

We should always do our best to go away during school breaks, and make sure a Discount Holidays © holiday doesn t negatively impact on our children s performance.

“But I also believe that education is many things and should be considered in the context of real life, one where we want our children to grow into balanced individuals who understand and appreciate the world around them. Solicitor Julie Robertson, of Simpson Millar in Manchester, represented Hannah and Neil and said they were absolutely right to challenge the fine.

Sun Online has contacted Manchester city council for a comment.


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References

  1. ^ children (www.thesun.co.uk)
  2. ^ out of school a few days (www.thesun.co.uk)
  3. ^ teachers (www.thesun.co.uk)
  4. ^ Manchester Evening News (www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
  5. ^ Manchester (www.thesun.co.uk)
  6. ^

Irishman shot dead on Majorca holiday island in ‘mistaken identity’ gang attack

An Irishman has been shot dead on a family Discount Holidays © holiday in Majorca1, in a suspected gangland killing gone wrong.

Civil Guard officers said the victim was shot dead just after 9pm on Wednesday in the resort of Costa de la Calma in south-west Majorca.

“The person who fired the shots escaped,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the perpetrator did not shoot anyone else. An all-ports-warning and roadblocks are in place in the area. There was no official confirmation the unnamed Irishman, believed to be in his 30s, was the victim of mistaken identity.

But respected island daily Diario de Mallorca said Civil Guard officers were focusing on the theory he had been shot four times in the back outside an empty supermarket after being mistaken for another man because of their likeness. A suspect in a blue hoodie was seen fleeing the scene, although detectives are understood to be looking for two accomplices.

A witness said the man was gunned down in front of his family. The woman, who asked not to be named, said: There was a large group of them, the man who was shot, his wife, four of their children, and other adults including a male friend and two other women.

There must have been around eight to ten of them in all.”

She added: I saw the gunman walk past the shop and heard the shots seconds later before he ran back down the road past the shop towards the beach and a well-known beach bar at the bottom of the road.

It was pandemonium at first. People were screaming and running in all directionsWitness

He had tracksuit bottoms on and a blue tracksuit top with the number 23 in white on the back and the hood on his tracksuit drawn up tightly round his face.

You couldn t really see anything of him because he was so covered up.

It was pandemonium at first. People were screaming and running in all directions.

The wife of the man that was shot had one of their children, who must have been aged around seven, in a pushchair that she was wheeling along when the victim was gunned down.”

The Costa del Sol and Ireland has been rocked by a series of tit-for-tat killings blamed on feuding Irish gangs.

References

  1. ^ Majorca (www.discountholidays.info)

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