Friday, 30 June 2017

Rhine River cruise - Days 7 and 8.

Saturday 27th May

Our boat had docked in Breisach, Germany, at 3am. We woke to a wonderfully, clear, sunny hot day. After a guided walking tour to orientate us with its old town, we had the remainder of the day to wander and enjoy this pretty town.

Dominating the skyline, was the beautiful 12th century, St Stephen's Cathedral and 2 preserved defence towers from the Middle Ages.

From this upper level, we had views across the Rhine to the Alsace wine growing region and turning round, we could see as far as the Black Forest.

Breisach suffered frequent destruction through the ages. The coat of arms on the Town Hall give an indication of how many powers ruled from here.

The Radbrunnen is within the fortress and housed a well shaft more than 40 m deep that supplied water, even in the longest siege.

A modern artwork of what how the water was pumped is found on the back of the Radbrunnen.

'The Bull and the Goddess' statue, by local artist, Helmut Lutz in 2000, commemorates the vote in 1950 to create a united Europe.

Breisach's rooftops.

So close to the Black Forest, one just has to do a taste test. I can report that it was incredibly delicious.

We climbed through vineyards to the Eckartsberg, which once housed a castle and a monastery.

Site of the Eckartsberg.

View from the Eckartsberg, back over the old town.

View in the opposite direction.

Our afternoon walk took us back up into the fortified town. In 2001, the artist K. Faulkner, created this mural of the Court of Peter von Hagenbach, 1474.

Path beside the river.

MS Monarch Baroness, set sail at 6.30pm. At 7pm we joined our wonderful new friends and waiters for our final dinner together. A fabulous evening ensued.

Baked Alaska is the traditional final night dessert. All the staff join in the parade. Serviettes are waved and many thank yous are said.

It was such a pleasant evening, that most passengers found themselves relaxing with a wine up on deck. The Rock and Roll entertainment in the lounge was ignored.

Our final lock.

Day 8 - Basel

A gentle sunrise welcomed us to Basel.

Our farewells had all been made by 8am and we set off to find our hotel, before collecting our luggage. As we returned, it was lovely to spot our ever so lovely Canadian friends, Ron and Dianne relaxing on shore, before they had to travel to the airport.

My husband and I had very fond memories of our October 2008, Rhine Cruise. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to relive those memories during this early spring season. We cannot recommend river cruising enough. They can be incredibly expensive, but we were fortunate to have discovered Gate 1 Travel and their excellent deals.

I would love to read your comment.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Rhine River Cruise - Day 5 and 6.

Afternoon of Wednesday 24 May.

Our morning had been spent exploring the fascinating town of Koblenz. We had to be back on board for the boat's 12.30pm departure and sailing through the UNESCO World Heritage listed, Rhine Gorge.

 I quote from a UNESCO google site:- "The 65km stretch of the Middle line Valley, with its castles, historic towns and vineyards, graphically illustrates the long history of human involvement with a dramatic and varied landscape. It is intimately associated with history and legend and for centuries has exercised a powerful influence on writers, artist and composers."

We sailed through here in October 2008, on a gloomy, cloudy day. I was hoping to visit in sunshine this time but it was not to be, however it was much warmer and still thoroughly fascinating.

October 2008

May 2017

Stolzenfels Palace - a fortress in the 1200's, its appearance now was from rebuilding from 1836 to 1842.

Marksburg Castle - 14 Century.

Hard at work on the steep slopes.

Sterrenberg Castle - 13th Century

Maus Castle - mid 13th Century.

Rheinfels Fortress, established 1245.

The Lorelei statue - this feminine water spirit, similar to a siren or mermaid, is rumoured to send sailors to their death, by luring them near cliffs with her beautiful sining.

The Lorelei Cliff face.

Castle Schonburg.
Built 1149, destroyed 1689 and rebuilt bit by bit since 1885. Now a hotel.

Pfalzgrafenstein Toll station in the middle of the Rhine was built by Ludwig the Bavarian in 1866.

Ehrenfels Castle ruins - built 13th Century, destroyed 1689.

We moored at Rudesheim about 5.30 pm.

Its a quaint and pretty village, reknowned for its wine making. We had a couple of hours to explore  before sailing, later in the evening.

Day 5 - 25th May.
We woke to the sounds of docking in the port of Mannheim, which we had not previously visited.
An industrial city, it is home to Daimler, John Deere and Caterpillar. Its streets  are laid out in a grid pattern, earning the nickname 'The City of Squares'.

The bells of this Jesuit Church were ringing, when we visited - beautiful.

Markplatz Square's baroque fountain.

Another midday departure had us sailing towards Speyer. It was a long weekend for WhitSunday, and it was wonderful to observe so many people on the river bank, enjoying the warmth of spring and the beauty of the river. Recreation cyclists in numbers I've never seen before.

More industry.

It was about 3pm when we moored at Speyer, with its holiday atmosphere greeting us and escorting us through its lovely streets.

Friday 26 May, Day 6 - Strassburg, France.
Capital of the Alsace wine growing region, it is also the formal seat of the EU.

Barrage Vauban - a bridge, weir and defensive work of the 17th century. 

Our morning was spent in the old city, but after lunch we chose to walk along a canal to the Parc de l'Orangerie. Its elegant fountains, statues, gardens, lakes, open spaces, woodlands and resident nesting storks, date back to the 17th century.

We found a lovely tranquil path, to take us back for more exploring of the old city.

We set sail about 6pm. It was a perfect evening to be gliding along the river. [9.30pm]

I would love to read your comment.