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Beyond the Boat

Amsterdam

 

Viking dumped us off the boat early Sunday morning and took us to the hotel Okaru.  We went on a walking tour since we couldn’t check in until the afternoon.  Our guide told us a lot about how they keep the water clean by opening some locks and flushing the canals out to the North Sea.  He even scooped up a cup of water to show that it was crystal clear.

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Wertheim, Cologne & Windmills

We awoke in Wertheim where they had tiny trains waiting to take us into the town center for our walking tour.  Seriously, the trains cars were child sized and they packed us in!  Our guide, Ursula, showed us the highlights of this town situated at the confluence of the Main and Tauber rivers.  She told us about the tradition of the market squares where all of the gossip starts and grows.  Some houses even had a tiny window for spying on the comings and goings in the square. Continue reading “Wertheim, Cologne & Windmills”

Lovely Medieval Towns in Germany

While still docked in Passau due to low water further north, we were able to visit our next port by bus.  Regensburg is 1 1/2 hours away but we didn’t mind on a warm and sunny day!

Regensburg is a medieval town that was spared extensive bombing in WWII.  I loved the narrow streets lined with colorful buildings.  The gothic St. Peter Cathedral looms over the town.  We had walking tour with our local guide Sylvia followed by a so-so lunch at the oldest restaurant, the Rathskeller.

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Vienna, Melk & Salzburg

We sailed away from Budapest in the evening, heading for Vienna.  Leaving the sliding door open all night, it felt like old times being on the water.  Skip woke up really early in the morning and sat in the lounge.  He’s addicted to the espresso machine in the lobby!

 

As we glided through Slovakia, we had the mandatory safety drill.  It was warm and sunny early and then got windy, chilly and rainy.  We stayed on deck as long as it wasn’t raining and watched beautiful scenery go by.  I went to an apple strudel demonstration with tasting, of course!  I may get tired of eating sausage but not apple strudel!

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Viking Grand European River Cruise – Budapest

We liked the Viking river cruise that we took last year so much that we signed up again.  This time we went on the Grand European trip from Budapest to Amsterdam.  What a fabulous time!  We saw so many beautiful medieval towns and learned a lot about Hungarian, Austrian, German and Netherlands history and culture.  Continue reading “Viking Grand European River Cruise – Budapest”

Blues Cruise #2

 

We sailed away on our second Legendary Blues Cruise.  It’s one of those things where people say “this is our 10th cruise” or even higher numbers.  It’s addicting!  It’s also hard to describe how much fun it is.  Many people hate cruises and I can say that we’ve been on plenty and this one is totally different.  The entire ship is chartered for blues music fans and musicians.  There’s no hokey cruise director or the usual shows and comedians. They have a schedule of live music that goes from early afternoon to the wee hours of the morning.  I think what makes it so much fun is that everyone on board has a common interest: listening to great music! Continue reading “Blues Cruise #2”

Nevis

Mt. Nevis - inactive volcano
Nevis

We jumped at the chance to join our friends on a trip to Nevis.  It’s one of their favorite spots and they’ve never steered us wrong!  We were joined by 2 other couples from our Chesapeake sailing group for a fun-filled, rum-filled week! Continue reading “Nevis”

Ahhhh….Paris!

I loved everything about Paris.  We enjoyed wonderful food, museums and generally just being there.  We met up with our sailing friends, Jack & Sue, who were staying in Paris for the month.  My mussels and fries were delicious.  Skip’s burger…not so much.  It was impressively large but cooked to shoe leather!

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Normandy and Les Andelys

Even after seeing the photos, nothing prepares you for this.

American Cemetary
American Cemetery Normandy

Our full day touring the Normandy beaches started with the D-Day museum in Arromanches.  An informative film shows how the Allies built a harbor here in preparation for D-Day.  How do you build a harbor where none exists?  The elements were prefabricated in England, shipped over and assembled.  The harbor was operational in 12 days.  Talk about a feat of engineering.  The harbor was critical for unloading goods, men and vehicles needed for the invasion.  A few parts of the harbor remain. Continue reading “Normandy and Les Andelys”

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