Saturday, April 30, 2005


Passau, Dancers in costume on the market square... click for larger image Passau, Church organ and ceiling... click for larger image Passau is another one of those picturesque old towns in Bavaria.  We saw these dancers on the market square. Cute knees!

And we visited a church with a huge organ and one of the most beautiful ceilings we saw on the whole trip.

This one is at the confluence of three rivers:  Danube, Inn, and Ilz.

Passau, River Melody ship... click for larger image Passau, view from the fortress... click for larger image We left the ship early and walked around town before catching the 10 o'clock shuttle to a fortress on a hill overlooking the confluence of the three rivers.

The fortress houses a rather large museum, but the reason I wanted to go there was for the view and photo opportunies.

Back in town we took another walk and found a few gift shops to browse through.

Passau, view on our way out of town... click for larger image Later in the afternoon we set sail down the Danube for Austria.  The scenery from the ship is spectacular.  This area is soooo green and forested, that it's a comfort to the eyes to watch. 

Tomorrow is our last day on the ship!!  We'll have a morning in Melk before arriving in Vienna.  After dinner we pack for a 5:30 AM(!) departure on Monday morning, Vienna time.

Cheers, Diane

Friday, April 29, 2005

Danube Gorge & Regensburg

Today has been a very long day.

Benedictine Monestary on Danube... click for larger image Benedictine Mural (Columbus Discovers America)... click for larger image We took a bus this morning to a beautiful Benedictine Monestery in the Baroque style.  There were beautiful paintings, beautiful sculptures, gold covering half of the sculptures, frescoe on the ceiling, and a monk to tell us all about it. 

It wasn't damaged during WWII.  The Nazzis were going to destroy it to keep the Americans from getting it, but somebody changed their minds and it didn't happen.  We heard that the Catholic Church helped some of the Nazis escape Germany at the end of the war.  Maybe saving this monestary was part of the deal???

Danube River Ferry Boat... click for larger image Danube River Gorge... click for larger image Danube River Gorge... click for larger image

Next we took a ferry boat ride through a gorge on the Danube river (too small for our ship).  The scenery was spectacular! 

Next was a stop at a brewery for some pretzels, bratwurst and wheat bear.  YUM.  Nothing like being a little tipsy before lunch!

Regensburg Street... click for larger image We bussed back to the ship in Regensburg, had lunch, and set off on a walking tour of Regensburg.  This is an old Roman town, established around 500.   You can still see parts of the wall in various places around town.  The cathedral is called St. Peter's,  but I think it should be called St. Scaffold's as should so many other cathedrals in Europe.

Regensburg, Mercedes Camper (55,362 Euros)... click for larger image It's a great old town, but I couldn't hear what our local guide was saying.  We could have done just as well on our own. At one point we left the guide and happened upon a car sale in one of the town squares. This Mercedes camper was selling for over 55 thousand Euros. That's expensive!

Regensburg, Weight Watchers (not)... click for larger image We went grocery shopping for some German sweet mustard.  I noticed that they have Weight Watchers in Europe... now it's time for a rest and yet another lovely 4 course dinner!

Cheers, Diane

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Nurnberg, Hiter's Podium... click for larger image Nurnberg, Nazi Coloseum... click for larger image Nurnberg (American = Nuremberg) is the historical center of Nazi power.  We visited the place where Hitler stood to give speaches.  There were 7 sq. mi. of collosal structures, but only a couple of them were finished because WWII was costing them too much.

Nurnberg, Home of WWII War Criminal trials... click for larger image We visited the place where the Nurnberg Trials were held.  We couldn't go in because the building is still a judicial building and it was in use.

Nurnberg, View from the castle... click for larger image Then we visited the old city, dating from around the 1200's.  We hiked up to the castle on the hill and had a lovely view of the old city.

After lunch we visited a crafts market place that didn't impress either one of us. 

Nurnberg, German National Museum... click for larger image But after that we visited the German National Museum and were impressed with the lovely art... Rembrandt, Durer, etc.  They had a world globe which was made in 1492 -- before news of North America reached Germany, so there was no No. America on their globe (just ocean).

Now we are back on board the ship and headed for the next town.

Cheers, Diane

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Bamberg Cathedral... Click for larger image

Bamberg (Bom'berg) is a city that was not destroyed during WWII, so it still has buildings built as early as 1237 (the Cathedral). 

Bamberg Cathedral yard and foot... Click for larger image Way back when they were building the cathedral, you couldn't go to Orchard Supply and buy a yard stick. They put these bolts in a block of stone. The two on the left mark an arm's length (about a yard). The one on the right marks the heel of the outline of a foot.

Bamberg Tour Guide... Click for larger image Bamberg Town Hall Lady... Click for larger image The weather was rainy, so I'm glad we brought Goretex jackets with hoods!  The guides don't seem to be bothered by a light rain.  They just stand in it and keep on talking. At this point he's explaining the lady with 4 breasts, one of the paintings on the Town Hall :-)

Bamberg Town Hall... Click for larger image This town has its Town Hall (construction started in mid-1400's) in the middle of a river.  The story is that the Bishop didn't want the bergers building their town hall on his land so they built it in the river, which the Bishop did not own.

Bamberg, aka Bamberg is called "Little Venice". You can see why in this picture. The fisherman used to navigate right into some buildings on the river.

We had a beer tasting.  Their local specialty is "smoked beer".  When you smell it it smells like smoked salmon, but it tastes okay.  I still prefer a good Pilsner.

Now we are back on board the ship and will sail this afternoon for Nurnberg.

Cheers, Diane


Rothenburg Backyard Garden... Click for larger image

We had a day without much rain -- none that caught us while we were outside.  I call that a success.  This part of Europe is in the beginning of Spring, so their Forsythia is still in bloom and their daffodils are too.  Their gardens are beautiful.

On the bus ride from the boat to Rothenburg, I discovered that I had left my camera open and the battery had run down!  Idiot!!!

Rothenburg Lunch Restaurant... Click for larger image Rothenburg Backyard... Click for larger image A lady sitting close to me suggested a disposable camera -- good idea which I acted upon after lunch.

Rothenburg is a mideval city with an old wall going almost entirely around the city center.  We walked on part of the wall and enjoyed looking into people's back yards.

From one point on the wall we could see the Tauber river valley, which was beautiful.

Of course, there was shopping :-)

Rothenburg Children's Band... Click for larger image Rothenburg Listening and Waiting for the bus... Click for larger image When we returned to the place where we all met to depart the city there was a band of school children playing.  This was at the market square adjacent to their cathedral.  There were buildings all around the square and the acoustics were grand.

Now we are back on board and dinner will be served soon -- yet another meal in a long line of good meals.

Cheers, Diane

Monday, April 25, 2005


Here we are, still on the river Main, in Wurzburg (Vertz'boorg).

The weather today is very rainy.  That didn't bother me as we were going through the locks on our way to dock in Wurzburg.

The rain didn't even bother me when we visited the Prince-Bishop's Palace.  We were inside a palace built for a bishop.  It has over 400 rooms, and the fancy ones we saw were spectacular... Tapestries done in the 1600's.  A woman would work on one sq. meter for about a year and a half... and these tapestries covered huge walls.  The paintings and stucco decorations were wonderful.  The showiest room was called the "mirror cabinet", a room covered in gold and mirrors.

Wurzburg Garden At Prince-Bishop's Palace Wurzburg Garden At Prince-Bishop's Palace

The garden was nice, but it was raining and not good for strolling.

Wurzburg Winery in a Hospital Then we went to a Winery which wasn't a pleasant experience.  We stood out in the rain listening to the local guide, then decended to a very cool, damp cellar.  We tasted three wines - a dry, a medium, and a desert wine.   Afterwards we found a dry room to sit in to wait for the bus to come get us, but a winery employee kicked us out.  Then we went and stood outside in the rain again (under a parking overhang) and waited about 15 minutes for the bus to arrive.  Neither Jan nor I are warm yet, and we've been back in the boat and our cabin for about 1/2 hour.

They tell us tonight is midevil music, instrumental.

Cheers, Diane

Sunday, April 24, 2005


WertheimOnTauber Wertheim ( pronounced Ver'time) is a really charming little old town in the wine country situated between the Tauber and the Main rivers.  This, smaller, river picture is the Tauber.

WertheimIttickGlassShop WertheimSundayMorning After breakfast we went for glass blowing demonstration.  The glass blower, Mr. Ittick (sp?) was a comedian as well as an artist.  He and his wife have spent time in the US collaborating in the art glass demonstration at the Belagio Hotel.  His sense of humor was definitely american :-)  He said his demonstration was free, Internet access in his demo studio was free, coffee was free... But the bathroom costs $100!!  We all laughed at that :-)

Then we wondered around town, found our way into Mr. Ittick's wife's shop and bought some of his glass :-)

After lunch we went to visit a local home for tea or coffee and a visit with a local.  She was a nice lady in here mid-70's who had married an American soldier in the 1950's.  Now she is a "happy widow" and supplements her income by hostessing these visits.

We were going to walk up to the castle on the hill, but have run out of steam.

Tonight's entertainment on board the ship will be Zither music in the lounge... after which I should sleep well :-)

Cheers, Diane

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Benz MuseumWe had a fun bus trip to Heidelberg today.  We stopped along the way at a Carl Benz auto museum.  There were lots of lovely old Mercedes, including the first car built by Mr. Benz for his own use.

Heidelberg Palace Heidelberg View Then we continued our bus trip to Heidelberg.  We visted the Heidelberg Castle on the summit of the Jettenbuhl Mountain... Lovely views of Heidelberg from this old ruin of a HUGE castle (or was it a palace?).


Then we walked through the old town and visited the university, even the "jail" where misbehaving students were kept as pennance for minor offenses, like insulting a professor or throwing rocks through windows.  (There were no women students at this university until 1900.)

Heidelberg MonkeyThis monkey is at the end of the old bridge in town.  He's holding a mirror.  I don't remember the story of the monkey in Germany, but I think it has something to do with vanity.  The head is empty so people can stick their head inside and have their picture taken :-)

We bussed back to Frankfurt where we reboarded the ship.  We are now on the Mains river, going through several locks on our way to the Danube.

This has been a good day :-)

Cheers, Diane

Friday, April 22, 2005

Mains, Germany

Rhine Valley wine country (with ruin)... click for larger image Rhine Valley castle... click for larger image We motored through the Rhine wine valley from Koblenz to Mains.  Weather was grand - sunny and cool.

We saw castle after castle, vinyard after vinyard.  They plant grapes on steep, terraced hillsides.

Many of the German castles were destroyed by France way before 1500.  Some are ruins and some have been rebuilt.

One ruin has been purchased by a private party for a home in the last remaining tower.  It was funny to see a driveway switchbacked up the side of the mountain... and satallite dishes and antenna about 1/2 way up the hill :-)

Mains cathedral ceialing... click for larger image Mains Gutenberg demonstration... click for larger image We docked at Mains in the early afternoon and went on a quickie walking tour.  It's a lovely city of about 185K people.  We visited a couple of old city center squares and one of the cathedrals we saw was spectacular.  The painted ceilings were beautiful.

We visited the Gutenberg Museum and saw a demo of his printing process and one of his original bibles.

It was a good day.

Cheers, Diane

Thursday, April 21, 2005


We arrived in Koblenz before breakfast and docked at the confluenced of the Rhine and Moselle rivers.

Koblenz, Town History Statuel... click for larger image Koblenz, Walking Tour... click for larger image

We were taken on a walk through this lovely town.  It looks old; however, the buildings are new because they have been rebuilt since WWII.  Well, new to the Germans. 

Anything built after 1950 is new to them.  The statue on the left was interesting.  I shows the history of the town from the time the Romans rowed ashore until it was rebuilt after WWII.

Koblenz, Statue #1... click for larger image Koblenz, Statue #2... click for larger image They have several statues placed in little platzes around town.  Here are a couple more.  Each one has a story, but of course I have forgotten the stories.

They have three old churches which are good examples of Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture.

Koblenz, walk near painted building... click for larger image After lunch we went on another walk on our own through town.  Didn't spend any money.  I think I have spent more money on drinks than anything else so far!

Tonight's entertainment was a group of folk dancers from the Rhine region -- which is very proud of its wine :-)

Cheers, Diane

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Koln (Cologne)

Wednesday, April 20th

Still motoring up the Rhine river until lunch.   I spent most of the morning knitting in the lounge.

Koln Cathedral Reliquary... click for larger image After lunch there was a city tour of Koln (Cologne).  The big tourist attraction was the Kolner Dom (the cathedral).  It is HUGE, started during the 1200's and finished 600 years later in the 1800's.  Bombed and fired somewhat during WWII, also damaged by air polution... it is always under repair.  The huge gold reliquary is said to contain the remains of the three kings who presented gifts to Christ when he was born.

Koln, Old Roman well... click for larger image Then there was a walk around the old Roman part of Koln.   They have excavated quite a bit of the old Roman artifacts (tile mosaic floor, old Roman road, sewar system, wells, etc.).

Our tour guide, Alex, is sick but doing a pretty good job nonetheless.

Back on board there was a talk about "Modern Germany"... politics, etc.

Cheers, Diane