Friday, 14 September 2018

Cities visited on the Rhine and Main Canal

Our river cruise started in Amsterdam and took us along the Rhine and Main Rivers. The Main Danube Canal of 171 km, completed only in 1991, then allowed us to join the Danube River to sail on to Budapest.

This fabulous fourteen day journey stopped off at a port or two each day, allowing us to discover the history and culture of several of Europe's vibrant cities and many smaller charming towns and villages.

Our time at each port was often dependant on timings for the locks. Our time in Ochsenfurt was unexpected. We were scheduled to arrive just in time to meet the coaches that had gone on the Salzburg day tour and then sail on. The locks weren't as busy as expected, so we had several hours to enjoy this lovely village.

On arrival at each port, a local guide would take us on an informative walking tour of the town for and hour to an hour and a half. Fantastic to get our bearings  and then set off by ourselves.

Of course more than one or two pics were taken, but I've decided to just give a selection from each port.
Soooooo ......... difficult to choose, but here we go.

Nijmegen - the oldest city in the Netherlands, dates back to Roman times but now its population is swelled by university students. A fortified city with wonderful historic buildings, centuries-old plazas and home to Netherland's oldest shopping street.

Nijmegen sits on the German / Netherland border and was badly bombed by the allies on an unplanned bombing raid, after a German raid had to be abandoned.
The arches of the bridge below are significant as a memorial to the Allied soldiers who brought liberation to the city.


"Sunset March is a daily tribute to the Allied soldiers who fought for the liberation of The Netherlands. And especially for those soldiers who lost their lives. In 2013 the city of Nijmegen finished the construction of a new City bridge called the Crossing (Oversteek). It was constructed close to the area where US 82nd Airborne crossed the river the Waal on September 20, 1944 as part of Operation Market garden. 48 Allied soldiers lost their lives during this “Waalcrossing”. The street lights* on this bridge are very exceptional. On the bridge are 48 pairs of street lights. At sunset these sets of street lights are, pair by pair, ignited at a slow marching pace. The total duration of igniting all street lights involved lasts almost 12 minutes."

Views from Valkhof Park dating back to Roman times. In the 1700's a palace fortress dominated the clifftop. St Nicholas Church dates back to those times and survived the bombing raids.

Buildings of the Great Plaza or Market Square.

Kronenburger Park outside the old city wall was an unexpected find on our rambling.

Cologne
The Gothic Cathedral is Germanys most visited attraction.

Waterfront buildings gave a fairytale atmosphere.

In this collage, spot the wreath left by a suitor to profess his love for someone living in this apartment.

How many locks?
Far too many in my opinion. [Attached to the railway bridge]

A long walk beside the Rhine took us through lovely parklands and gardens to a multistory building, with a 360 degree view. On our return along the opposite bank we discovered this wonderful sculpture park.

I loved the old city of Colgne but the view from the 'Triangle Tower' was rather unsettling.

Koblenz
Built on the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, this ancient city is the gateway to the vinehards and ruined castles of the Rhine Gorge - a wonderful city to explore.  This being our 3rd visit, we took time to take the cable car across the river to Ehrenbeitstein Fortress.

I've no idea how the setting changed on my camera on our 6am arrival in Koblenz, but the affect is quite acceptable.


Basilica of St Castor in its lovely gardens.

The Thumb by Cesar Baldacinni sits outside the Arts Centre.

Three sections of the Berlin Wall.

Ehrenbeitstein Fortress and vistas


Miltenberg
It was a delight to wander through our first Bavarian town.  Cobbled narrow streets, medieval architexture, quaint signs, romantic alleys, historic market square and Mildenberg Castle - there just wasn't enough time to take it all in.



Wertheim
Nestled on the confluence of the Tauber and Main Rivers this medieval town was just a short coach drive from Miltenberg. Our ship was navigating a lock while we visited. It was equally exciting to visit as its sister town, but was dramatically dominated by its castle.




Wurzburg
Happy memories of our morning in this much bigger Bavarian town.
This first photo was taken from our ship at 8am, as we passed through a small lock below Marienberg Fortress, home of the local prince-bishops for nearly five centuries.

Old Main Bridge - originally an arched masonry bridge built in the 1400's. The 1700's saw it replaced as a stone arched bridge of 8 arches and 12 statues of 2 kings and 10 saints. Such an imposing structure. It is now pedestrianized  and the vistas from it of the city, fortress and vineyards is quite superb. 

Vistas from the Old Main Bridge.

The Palace of the Bishops didn't allow photography but its interior was opulent and magnificent. Unfortunately time was limited for our visit to its sensational Rose Garden.

 A wine festival and markets created a wonderful atmosphere, as we made our way back through the old city to the river and our boat. 

Ochsenfurt

The visit to this small, charming Bavarian village was a bonus on our itinerary. Our uninterrupted progress through the locks on this afternoon meant we docked 2 hours ahead of schedule. We were able to leisurely explore its quiet Sunday afternoon streets, whilst we waited for the arrival of the coach load of passengers returning from a full day excursion to Salzburg.

 





Bamburg
This northern, Bavarian German town nestles on the confluence of the Regnitz and Main rivers. The old town dates back to the 11th to 19th centuries.


The Romanesque Cathedral was begun in the 11th C and features 4 towers. The Bishop's rose garden was nearby.

The Rathaus or town hall occupies an island in the Regnitz R and is reached by arched bridges.

Their famous smokey beer was taste tested but the jury was not overly impressed.


Nuremburg
Our ship was moored a good half hour from the city centre so our initial introduction, by a local guide, was by bus. It was a Monday after a 3 day weekend for a Saints day. Hitler's  parade grounds and surrounding parklands had been home to 70,000, mostly camping, rock fans. The views from the bus were not pretty and our progress was slow in the aftermath of the weekend.

Nuremberg Castle of medieval fortified buildings, dominated the city from its position on a sandstone ridge.

My artistic shot from the castle wall!

After visiting the castle we were able to wander from the castle down to the vast, old walled city. Fortunately we had a free afternoon to explore its many streets and charming buildings.




At this point we are about midway on our cruise to Budapest. Each day had been thrilling. The history and architexture incredible. Such a complete contrast to Australia's short, recent history. At times it felt like we were living a fairy tale and we didn't want it to end. 

I would love to read your comment.

9 comments:

  1. I din't actually know you could navigate by boat from the Rhine to the Danube. I loved all your photos of these quintessentially German towns and cities and following the route on Google Maps. So much of there world to see and so little time to see it all

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  2. I love all those brightly-colored building and old castles. You really saw a lot! As always, I enjoyed all your photos.

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  3. Even before I got to your comment at the bottom of your post, I, too, was thinking about the age of the buildings, as compared to most of those in the U.S., especially my part of the world.

    The egg sculpture made me laugh. I also liked your artistic shot of the castle. How interesting to see the Berlin Wall! And I see that one of your ladybugs made the trip, as well.

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  4. Yes--- the fried egg on the rock was MEMORABLE! Sigh... It is exceedingly unlikely I will ever see these marvelous places in person, so I am doubly glad for this post. Thanks Helen. Wonderful!

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  5. Wow. You have seen so much. I love the egg.

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  6. Yes Australia's architecture is so young in comparison.
    Love the colourful buildings, they really give such a beautiful vibe to the towns. Awesome collection of photos Helen!

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  7. Wow - what a fairytale selection of beautiful shots.

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  8. It's such a big pleasure to see beautiful (old) architecture and wonderful landscapes.

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