Day 1: Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The only thing we wanted to do today (besides find our longship, which is the middle one of the 3 above) was to walk to the Python Bridge from 2001, which we hadn't yet seen. It was a two-hour walk total and was a good way to start our cruise. So far so good. :)
[Amsterdam is in our backyard, which is why we didn't do anything else our first day.]
Day 2: Kinderdijk, Netherlands.
We sailed through the night from Amsterdam to Kinderdijk where we just spent the morning. Before we lose our internet connection [which never happened!], while sailing the rest of the day and night to Cologne, here's a taste of Holland. Kinderdijk is just half an hour's drive from where we live in the Netherlands and is a UNESCO site...even on a grey winter's day.
[My blog header is from Kinderdijk and is another of our favorite backyard sites.]
After Kinderdijk this morning we've been on the Waal river all day, sailing towards Cologne, Germany. We even sailed past our city, Gorinchem. Besides an obligatory fire drill, we played sjoelen (table shuffleboard). Astrid grew up on it and came in second, losing by one point. As she says, "More Dutch you cannot get!"
[click any collage to enlarge]
Day 3: Cologne, Germany.
We've been in this one spot all day in gloriously SUNNY weather. The Dom/Cathedral is the main draw, but so is the St. Martin Church and the white Alte Abbey across the Rhine river. The Hohenzollern Bridge that crosses the Rhine has love padlocks the entire length (we're guessing over a million). Yes, we're in heaven!
[We were at their Christmas markets this past December, for those who remember.]
Day 4: Koblenz and Middle Rhine, Germany.
Today was a day of castles. First, this morning we took a tour through the Marksburg Castle, which is Germany's oldest castle that was never conquered or destroyed or damaged in its 800 years (top left image). In the afternoon we sat on the top deck in the sun, looking at some of the 29 castles on a 16-mile stretch of the Middle Rhine. Heaven!
Day 5: Miltenberg, Germany.
We're passing through 60+ locks on this cruise and today was the first day of watching several of them. We could reach out and touch the lock walls, that's how close we were. Our excursion today was in a little medieval town, Miltenberg, with half-timbered, gabled houses. It was like a fairytale.
Day 6: Rothenburg and Würzburg, Germany.
We're on the Main River now, still sailing through lock after lock. Today we visited the best-preserved medieval town in Germany (Rothenburg), followed by Würzburg where we visited the Bishops' Residenz/Palace. As Astrid says, we're short of eyes!
Day 7: Bamberg, Germany.
We're on the canal between the Main and Danube rivers right now. It was a gloriously sunny day today but freezing cold! Bamberg is known for its rauchbier/smoked beer. :)
Day 8: Nuremberg, Germany.
This is Bavaria's 2nd largest city and is sister to Atlanta [where I lived 25 years]! No wonder I love this place, with its medieval old town and castle. We're still sailing the canal between the Main and Danube rivers.
Day 9: Regensburg, Germany.
We're on the Danube River now and this is its oldest city, among the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. And because it's Sunday, we spent much of the afternoon inside many of its churches. South Germany is very Roman Catholic!
Day 10: Passau, Germany.
Before sailing into Austria tonight, we stopped this morning in this border town at the confluence of the 3 rivers, Inn, Ilz and the Danube. St. Steven's Cathedral, built in 1688, boasts the largest pipe organ outside of the USA. It's still bitter cold with off and on sun, but no rain! We even saw some snowflakes this afternoon.
Day 11: Melk and Krems/Stein, Austria.
We woke up to snow today and then watched it snow all day. This morning we stopped in Melk to see the 900-year-old abbey. After lunch we sailed along the Wachau Valley and then stopped in Stein, next door to Krems, where we spent time walking through the little town. Snow and more snow, all day.
We were like little kids!
Day 12: Vienna, Austria.
It's impossible to synthesize this day into one collage, but here it is regardless. What can I say! You'd need to spend days here to "get" it. Just glad we could taste it.
Day 13: Bratislava, Slovakia.
We were here only for the morning but fell totally in love with this capital city, with a chance to visit the castle as well as the main square of the old town. Don't you love how they can take a joke!
Day 14: Budapest, Hungary.
Today is our last full day of our river cruise. Lots of rain. Tomorrow we disembark and then stay another 4 days on our own to explore this incredible city, rain or shine. It really has been the trip of a lifetime for us both! Thanks to all of you who have been following it with us.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
We did indeed stay another 4 days in Budapest on our own to see the sights! We flew back home to the Netherlands yesterday afternoon and are now getting back into the saddle. Astrid is back at work while I start weeding through all the photos to make more complete posts. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, talk about "short of eyes," my favorite Dutch expression!
That's what my short post at Vision and Verb was about this past Monday.