- Danube River, Germany and Austria
Danube River, Germany and Austria
Thursday – Oct 2 - BAMBERG
Yeah!!!! Have finally managed a ‘play around’ and got this email looking the way I really want it to come out. I might do website work for clients and have everything looking you beaut for them but like a carpenter who never finishes building his house, I never really did get around to making my emails resemble something sensible. But for most email clients, this should now look heaps better!
So, on with the blurb.....
Bamberg is a Unesco world heritage town and was our port of call for the afternoon. During the morning though we had a guest speaker on board who had come on prior to our Nurmberg (we call it Nuremberg) visit the next day. He spoke to us about the Nurmberg trials held in 1945, who was on trial, what sentences they received etc. More up Kemm’s alley than mine but I guess he was interesting for those who enjoy the finer details.
In the afternoon we headed off on a walking tour of Bamberg, another gorgeous German township – well known for it’s ‘Smokey” bear – we were provided with beer vouchers for this visit and on our free time we of course joined the locals in their favourite beverage! Yuk! However I suppose it is an acquired taste and the locals have become very used to it. As the name implies, the beer has a smokey bacon flavour – a bit different but always worth a try! Bamberg is also well known for lace makers and a couple of shops had some magnificent lace work as did a lot of the shops in Germany. Had to buy some of course!!!
Back on board – “Peter the pianist” is our regular afternoon piano player on board but I think he shoes laundry around during the day!!! The crew are all multi-skilled here – they work onboard the ships for 9 months then in the winter all have 3 months off and then it’s back to being on board. I don’t think they get much time off otherwise – someone ready to up and take their jobs otherwise! Most ore from Bulgaria and Romania so bit of a mixed bunch. Our cruise director is a German guy of about40??? Gets on the cabin speaker phone each time sounding a bit like Robin Williams did in the “Goooo.......d Morning Vietnam......movie”. We can all now copy his “Gooooddd.... morning ladies and gentlemen, my dear friends.....” A really great cruise director though and lots of fun. His boss on board is “Petra” the hotel manager (ha ha ha! Just heard him out there now... “gooood afternoon ladies and gentlemen....) – Petra is a young woman around 35 – 40 probably but Kye calls here ‘THAT woman!’ – She’s always onto him about timings and Kye is always late with briefings etc so it’s a cat and mouse game.
Okay – all aboard at Bamberg and on overnight to Nurmberg (Nuremberg).
Nurmberg and Regensberg – Oct 5&6 (I think!)
Today we had a couple of excursions available to us – one being a tour of the medieval town of Nurmberg, the other being the World War 2 Nurmberg trials tour which Kemm and I both decided on. This was a really interesting trip as we were given an insight as to what went on at Nurmberg in the days before Hitlers rise and fall, and at the trials after the war. We were taken to and shown the “ginormous” stadium area from 1927 – 1933 where Hitler stood upon his ‘threshold’ and overlooked thousands of soldiers in the ground below. Nurmberg was officially designated the title of “The City of the Nazi Party Rallies”. These rallies were held every September up until 1938, lasted a week and drew as many as one million people to Nurmberg from all over Germany.
From there we went to the “Documentation Centre” as they call it and listened to one of the local guides speak to us about the Nurmberg trials. Being in these places and listening to guides actually puts things into perspective a little more so yes, I guess you could say I am learning things along the way!
We are now on the “Main-Danube Canal” , the man-made canal with 16 varying depth locks. Each one is almost as interesting as the next. We actually eventually go up 406m above sea-level within this canal, the canal itself providing the final connection between the North Sea and the Black Sea – a stretch of 3500kms.
Regensberg the next morning was another delightful town of 150,000 people (I guess they are cities!). We had a walking tour of the town as usual and still amazed at the quaintness of it all. Back to the ship for yet another night cruising. Our rooms are lovely with little hidy holes for everything a double door opening for viewing and of course TV although it’s only hooked into a few pay channels so not a lot to watch – mostly news and finance channels. (Just so happens our TV as of today is stuck on one channel showing nothing so waiting for the ‘TV man” to come fix it! My skills don’t go as far as playing with power cables and TV connections on one of these boats!)
Czech Republic – Oct 5
What a day this turned out to be! 3 countries in one day leaving the boat in the morning and heading by bus out of Germany, across the border and into the Czech Republic and eventually catching up with the boat again in Austria! Such are the distances in Europe that travelling across borders in a day is quite easy to do. The Czech Republic was our first stop into a country that we were told does not use the Euro as their means of currency. That we found out as we lumbered off the bus to the loo stop which needed 5 Koronas to get into! But tour guides being tour guides, out came a pocket full of Euros coins in exchange for the Koronas. But tourist sports being tourist spots.... – did that stop the Euro being taken as payment for tourist souvenirs??? No way!
Had no trouble for the rest of the day being able to readily use our Euros. Unfortunately shopping for all of us really is tricky as luggage limitations play a huge part in purchasing souvenirs especially when we are away for an extended period of time as we are. Every tiny little souvenir adds more weight to luggage and already am not sure how I’m going to cope – and we’ve got 2 weeks or more away yet!!
So where did we go today??? Well I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it but “Cesky-Kromlov” was our destination (I hadn’t heard of it either). I had done some prior internet research to find that this was one of the most enjoyed trips of various online travel stories and it proved to be no different for us.
A fabulous day! Cesky-Kromlov is another Unesco World Heritage town in the south Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. (It’s NOT Czechoslovakia any more I am told!). The town and it’s castle were built on the Vltava River in the 13th century – an important trade route of the time.
The well preserved structures are mostly in Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque style and the core of Cesky-Kromlov is within a horseshoe bend of the river overlooked by the mighty castle. And a fabulous castle and view it is. A small amount (?????) of walking and climbing brought us to the top of this castle and wow!, the view was fabulous. The castle gardens were another magnificent piece of sculpture on their own and the autumn colours and tree sizes were something I have very rarely seen. Absolutely beautiful. I can imagine coming here in winter and all the trees would be bare – likewise in the summer, all the trees would be green but was a magnificent time of year the autumn is in this area.
Our day finished with our drive back to Austria through the forested areas and listening to Mozart music on the bus – enough to make us close our eyes and imagine.....
So as you can tell, we had a fabulous day and it was back on board to swap stories of our days excursions with each other. A second group had gone to Salzburg for the day but as I mentioned, my reading prior to coming away suggested the Cesky-Kromlov day was to be a good one – and it was!
Vienna – Oct 8
Well I am finally caught up with my ramblings having now just come in from a day out in Vienna in Austria and visiting the magnificent Schoonburg Castle – the exact castle where Andre Rieu performs with his famous orchestra. As luck would have it, it was just another magnificent day with a tour around the sights of Vienna on the way back to the city. Most of us got off the bus mid city and ventured into town for lunch. Had a huge lunch (we poor underfed boat people!!!) then between 6 of us decided that whilst in Austria, one must eat Apple Strudel so promptly ordered that to finish off our lunch!! mmm...... Oh dear early dinner tonight – 3 hrs time..... we’re off to see a Mozart/Strauss concert in Vienna!!!!
So that’s where I’m at – will have to catch you up on my next travel-log – will very likely have completed our Danube trip by then – if we get past the Hungarian toxic spill that hopefully does not reach the Danube!
Until next time....
Kemm and Brenda