On a European river cruise along the Danube, watch beauty glide by from your bed or go explore the sights; Rosemary McClure; LA Times

Austria – Wachau Cultural Landscape

As idyllic scenes rolled slowly by my window — terraced vineyards, red-roofed villages, turreted castles, all set against a background of craggy green mountains — I watched contentedly from my bed.

Who would expect to see such stunning scenery while wrapped in a cozy duvet?

A European river-cruise vacation last summer had brought me to this beautiful part of Austria. I was exploring the Danube, which crosses 10 countries as it snakes 1,770 miles from western Germany to its destination at the Black Sea.

The sliding glass door that revealed that view not only let cool, fresh air into the cabin, but also allowed me to become immersed in the scenery.

I was close enough to smell bread baking at a riverside restaurant, to hear children playing in a schoolyard, to see a monk hurrying along a village street.

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