It's approximately the middle of a Christmas markets cruise I planned with my friends that's taken us all the way from Asia to Europe for two weeks just before Christmas, and we're onboard a riverboat called the AmaPrima that's sailing along the Danube from Germany all the way to Budapest.
We fly back home to Asia just in time for Christmas.
So far, it's been a really nice cruise with just enough sightseeing and also enough downtime so that everyone's happy.
Today we had a private Christmas cookie decorating workshop in the beautiful chef's kitchen of the AmaPrima, with Nadia, the lovely corporate pastry chef, and Gemma, the equally lovely lady in charge of making sure everything is going as planned onboard, sitting down with our group for a full afternoon of fun.
Talk about going the extra hundred miles here. Every single staff member I've encountered on this boat has done so, which is no mean feat for a boat that sails with a new group of passengers every 12 to 14 days or so.
COOKIE BAKING AND DECORATING LESSONS
FROM A MASTER CHEF
AND A KILLER VIEW OF the DANUBE
Amidst a killer view of the Danube and the river locks we were passing on this most scenic part between Germany and Austria, we baked Christmas cookies and decorated them, and pretty soon we were all like kids smearing icing on each other.
"This is certainly an afternoon to remember," one of the guys said. I think I was the only one who escaped without coloured icing smeared on my face. One of the perks of being the trip organiser, I guess.
WE'VE BEEN HAVING FUN
It was so much fun.
And in between things like this and sightseeing, we've been laughing so much through every dinner over so many private jokes I wish I could write about, but other people's privacy is involved.
I even found time tonight after this private cookie workshop and before a Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner onboard -- yes, AMA Waterways is the only Chaine des Rotisseurs accredited river boat in Europe as of this writing -- to book an amazing massage.
AN AFTER-DINNER CONCERT
OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF AUSTRIAN MUSIC
And to end this wonderful day, we had two Austrian singers come onboard to serenade us with a repertoire of songs and compositions from Mozart to the requisite Sound of Music collection.
The songs from the Sound of Music are not exactly Austrian, but they sure are wonderful to hear as you're sailing along the Danube, living a #Travelife.
PLANNING MY 2016 CRUISES
Oh yes, that's not how the day ended.
Before I went to sleep, I leafed through a thick brochure of 2016 AMA Waterways tours, looking for routes I haven't been on yet, as well as routes I've already sailed through but want to do all over again, for new or repeat chapters in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.