Thursday, July 19, 2018

Viking Rhine River Cruise Part II

So, when I left you last we were on stop three, Strasbourg, France, of our Viking Rhine River Cruise.  Let's continue and explore the other ports we visited.

When we woke up on Wednesday we were in Rudesheim, Germany!  This is one of the stops I was looking forward to the most.  When Lauren was working on her teaching degree the University she attended had a cultural program where she could complete her student teaching in Heidelberg. It was wonderful to finally see in person some of the spots she visited.  One of those stops was the castle in Heidelberg- it was breathtaking!
The view from the castle overlooking Heidelberg.



 I could live in Heidelberg.

After the castle tour we had time to shop Heidelberg and get a beer.  Shopping here in the Drosselgasse, a charming cobblestone avenue in the heart of Old Town.

Dave is very relaxed, didn't talk about work at all during this vacation. :)


Day five found us in Koblenz, Germany.  We boarded a bus on our way to the Ehrenbreitstein fortress.


Looking down from the castle.




 Inside the castle with the original furnishings.


 Original blacksmith shop in the castle.

We rented bikes after the tour since we had the afternoon to ourselves.  We rode another 20 miles along the countryside.  The nice thing about a river cruise is the down time they allow in each port.  We had plenty of time to take off on our own and do some exploring- we saw how people they really live and found many wonderful bakeries and beer pubs!
Look how cute this restaurant is!  I love the bird wallpaper and the small country window looking out to the outdoor dining area.  Each restaurant/cafe we came across had throw pillows and blankets for anyone to use and fresh flowers were abundant.

We were able to see many more towns and cute countrysides because we rented bikes. :)

At night we enjoyed a concert.  Pink cover band played in a 300 year old fort and the acoustics were amazing.
At the concert everyone was drinking wine or beer from glass containers- no plastics.

So- fake Pink was amazing.  When she spoke, she only spoke in German and when she sang, she sang in English.  We have seen the real Pink in concert and the fake Pink was, honestly, just as good.  But what we enjoyed the most was watching the German audience sing in English- they all knew the English verses.   It was such an unexpected fun night!

 Cafe Hahn 07.08.2014: Völkerball, picture 12



To get to the concert we had to take the tram across the Rhine River.  That's our longboat in the distance.


As we awake on Day six we are in Cologne, Germany.  The date is Friday, June 29, 2018.  The weather is uncharacteristically warm and dry.  We have had a beautiful week of sight seeing with the most enjoyable weather. 

Can you see me here?  I'm walking toward Dave's camera in the black dress.  Loved the cobblestone streets.  Here's Dave walking around Cologne with beer in each hand!
I fit right into the German lifestyle!  I am sampling their special Kolsch beer! The beer is light in color and easy to drink- similar to a light beer from the states.
Day seven was spent in the Netherlands.  Kinderdijk is such a cute little town full of windmills.  We toured a working windmill and heard lots of history about the windmills.
I wanted to be on this kayak in the worst way- it was so hot that last day of the cruise.
Dave listening intently to the audio- every port has a local guide that takes us on each excursion.  The listening devices are compact and easily hang on your neck.  The guides are extremely knowledgeable and offer lots of advice on what to do while in their city.
It would be tough living in such tight quarters.  But people do it, in fact, there is a six month waiting list to live in the windmills. 
The cruise ship concierge suggested that since Dave and I are so active that we should rent bikes and see Kinderdijk for ourselves and skip the windmill tour- he was probably right...the tour was OK, but it was so hot and I think I would rather have rented bikes and hit the beach.


That was our river cruise!  We had such fun and saw so many beautiful sights. My camera is on overload and I have so many pictures that I need to organize and decided which ones to keep. 

Map


Would we do the Viking cruise again?  Yes!! Both Dave and I just loved the small ship and getting to know the staff and other cruisers.  We met so many nice people! Viking has cruising down!  They are always on time, staff is courteous and go the extra mile- we experienced this first hand when we needed to rent bikes in Strasbourg. The ships are clean, well kept, and the free beverages during meal times is perfect-  I kept mostly to the red wines and Dave enjoyed many craft beers.  We are already planning another Viking cruise- possibly trying one of their ocean cruises.  I'll keep you posted :)

Next post will be about our days in Amsterdam when we got off the cruise-  So much fun!

Till then,

Karen

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