The hapless fox apparently broke through the ice and drowned.
It was our regular coffee house meeting in Budapest, this time over lunch at Angelika. Beyond our table, the Danube flowed on uncomplainingly.
Rivers, the great, ever-changing highways of water on the banks of which nearly all early civilizations were built.
I am watching the season finale of "Downton Abbey" when my Mom calls to say that she wants to go on a Danube river cruise. Of course she does. It's Pavlovian, the Viking Cruises ad runs before each episode and the bells ring for the servants to attend to the aristocrats of the manor.
Starting today, I will present you a lifetime adventure and another kind of holiday for those who love to discover new lands, nature, secluded villages, history, culture, amazing people, great food, art and entertainment, sea, mountains, cities, architecture, music and fashion, old churches and secret destinations of the world.
When you drive across the border from Austria into Hungary, you barely know that you've passed an international boundary. This took me by surprise the first time I made the two and a half hour drive from Vienna to Budapest.
For America to earn its reputation as the home of the free, we Americans have some collective thinking to do. Thinking that might be better done abroad where the seeds of our freedom first germinated in the hearts of forebears.
Trips along Europe's great waterways are in higher demand than ever; thanks to their relaxed pace, customizable activities, and itineraries which mix culture, history, cuisine, and nature.
All the books about the resiliency of a city's people pale compared to hiking the desolate mountains their ancestors crossed centuries before.
It's affordable, steeped in history and, in parts, both bizarre and incredibly beautiful. Plus, in some countries, beer is cheaper than water. Yes, really, it is. But for some reason, Eastern Europe doesn't often feature on many travellers' bucket lists.