Durnstein to Nuremburg

Monday 18th May, 2015
Tuesday 19th May, 2015
Wednesday 20th May, 2015
Thursday 21st May, 2015

Monday, 18th May, 2015

River scene photograph

Scene along the Danube River

Krems photograph

The Town of Krems on the Danube

Durnstein Winery photograph
Monastic Winery, Durnstein Village

Drop Cap e docked at Durnstein at about 0700. It is a lovely medieval village with a couple of ex-monasteries/nunneries, now hotels and vineyards. It is dominated by the ruins of Durnstein Castle, high on a rocky crag above the town.

Durnstein Castle photograph

Durnstein Castle from the Ship

Durnstein Castle Ruins photograph
Durnstein Castle Ruins (Dontgonearthe Castle)

Drop Cap urnstein Castle is notorious as the prison of Richard the Lionheart, from which, legend tells us, his faithful minstrel Blondel discovered him by singing his favourite song and so found where he was being held. Our tour director, Jude, gave some highly coloured legends purporting to be history. It annoys me sometimes that these legends are passed on without any editing. Saying that Richard I was discovered by his clean nails and posh English accent is patently ridiculous. He, like all his family, did not speak English, they spoke French!

Halfway up Durnstein photograph

Halfway up to Durnstein Castle

Durnstein Castle Ruins photograph

Durnstein Castle Ruins (We Made It)

Drop Cap nyway, Mac and I climbed all the way up to the ruins, quite rough and steep, steps and rocks. It gave my new knee quite a workout but I was glad we had done it. The view was stunning. We met a few of our fellow travellers on the trail, many having the same issues with knees as I was. When we got back down we wandered through the narrow cobbled streets of Durnstein which are very picturesque.

Farewell to Durnstein photograph

Farewell to Durnstein

Wachau Valley photograph

Wachau Valley Scene

Wachau Valley photograph
Wachau Valley Scene

Drop Cap ack to the ship for lunch, then up to the sundeck for the beautiful forty kilometre trip down the Wachau Valley to Melk. The scene is mountainous with terraces of vines clinging precipitously up and over the cliffs. Through Weisskirchen and Spitz past all sorts of churches and towers. It was quite lovely and very relaxing.

Wachau Valley photograph

Wachau Valley Scene

Wachau Valley photograph
Wachau Valley Scene

Drop Cap o far today is the way I thought it was going to be, a free morning, relaxing on the sundeck this afternoon looking at spectacular scenery and being plied with ice cream, onion tarts and local wine. Can't be bad! Every little town has its picturesque church and/or castle tower and a cluster of red roofs. We don't have any planned activities until Melk, when we will tour the baroque abbey.


Melk Abbey photograph

Melk Abbey

Drop Cap elk Abbey is a magnificent Baroque building dating from the 18th Century after a major rebuilding project which completely made over the original abbey which dated from the 10th century.

We saw only a small part of the enormous whole, not the cloister where the monks (30 of them) still live, and not the Treasury. The vast majority of the building is a school with nine hundred pupils, both boys and girls, from the local area who only pay 82 euros per month for schooling of very high reputation.

Melk Abbey photograph
Melk Abbey

Drop Cap e saw the Imperial guest rooms(monasteries had to provide guest rooms) like a miniature Schonbrunn, with many of the rooms being used for a museum, very interesting, and the library (part of it at least) where they display a copy of the gospel which is eleven hundred years old! And a copy of St. Benedict's rule which is nine hundred years old.

Melk Abbey Church photograph
Melk Abbey Church

Drop Cap hen we got to the "Marble Hall" which is mostly fake stone and an amazing trompe l'oeil ceiling. It was incredible. But the church was the crowning glory. Completely OTT with gilding and baroque curlicues but still remarkably beautiful.

Drop Cap t has been a lovely day, warm, bright and sunny. We have had a mixture of exertion and relaxation - my pedometer is showing 13,702 steps, 8.22 km! So I am not worrying too much about the meals. Mac is, he found a scales in the fitness room which tells him he has gained 2 - 3 kilos. I probably have too but Mac is really getting paranoid about his meals. He has been living on salad for the last two days!

However, his day was made this evening when a large cat emerged from the abbey garden and allowed him to stroke it. It had a docked tail, don't know if it was really Manx or just chopped!

Later still:

During dinner tonight I broke a tooth! Why does this happen while I am on holidays? At least last time it was right at the end of the holiday, this time I have a long way to go. I also have a rotten cold! I am never looking forward to a holiday again!!!

Back to Top Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Tuesday 19th May, 2015

View of Melk from the River photograph
View of Melk, from the River

Drop Cap fter the lovely day yesterday this morning dawned wet and grey. After an early breakfast we set off for another of our "Signature Royal Experiences". This was a trip in the "Majestic Imperator", a restored Imperial train, to Salzburg, tour and lunch in Salzburg then back on the train to Passau in Germany and back to the boat which had sailed there during the day.

Mac on Majestic Imperator photograph

Mac on board the Majestic Imperator Train

Rosemary on Majestic Imperator photograph
Rosemary on board Majestic Imperator Train

Drop Cap he train was magnificent! We had comfortable and elegant chairs at tables with starched white cloths, red roses in bud vases, unlimited wine, beer, coffee etc and a couple of pastries. All the carriages were different in both configuration and decoration, some were corridor and compartments, some were lounges, but all were spiffy in the extreme. We felt like royalty as we rolled along, the only disappointment was a diesel engine, not a steam engine.

Salzburg Castle photograph

Salzburg Castle

Salzburg Sculpture photograph
Interesting Sculpture in Salzburg Town Square

Drop Cap rriving in Salzburg in the first real rain we have had, we had a guided walking tour: Mozart's Birthplace, Cathedral, Citadel etc (we have been here before) but including the town square which had some of the most eclectic sculpture we have seen (and we have seen some weirdos). Then we were released with free time to explore and have lunch. We found a small café in an arcade with several of our tour members already there. We were damp and chilly so we opted for goulash soup with a bread roll and coffee with a lovely cinnamon scroll.

Rainy Salzburg photograph
Rainy Day in Salzburg

Drop Cap fter lunch we walked around until we found a Billa supermarket for tissues for my cold and Listerine, of which we have run out. I also bought a souvenir badge for my new cap. Then we met up with the group again and bussed off to the railway station to take our lovely train again. This time there were canapes and Austrian singers to while away the hours.

Our Carriage on Majestic Imperator photograph

Our Carriage on the Majestic Imperator Train

Another Carriage on Majestic Imperator photograph

Another carriage on the Majestic Imperator

Drop Cap hen we got to Passau in Bavaria we rejoined the ship just in time for a quick shower and wash my hair before going to the special "Erlebnis" Restaurant on board for a five course degustation menu. This was delicious. We started with an "amuse-bouche", different, then appetiser of marinated beef and salad, absolutely delicious, then a tiny cup of cauliflower soup and our main. This was the only choice, either rack of lamb or grilled salmon fillet. Mac had the lamb, I had the salmon and they were both lovely. They had some chops left over so brought around a plate of extras and gave us a chop to go with the salmon.
Dessert was a mixed plate: creme brulee (not crispy) a macaron, chili brownie, ice cream. All different and very small. All the courses except the main were very small. Wine, water and coffee. A lovely meal and I liked our companions, Ray and Marion. We will try the Erlebnis again next week if possible.

Drop Cap omorrow we have to pack and get ready to change ships, Still, it should be fairly seamless. The crew will tote all the bags and put them in the other cabin. It's a bind, but much better than having to continue by bus.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Wednesday 20th May, 2015

Drop Cap aining again. it's a bit depressing but you can't legislate for weather. This morning we had a talk about the Main-Danube Canal, which we will be on soon. Also instructions about luggage which we will have to pack tonight and put out by 0700.

Walhalla photograph

Walhalla, Home of the Gods

Drop Cap t 1030 we had a Bavarian style sausage sizzle (completely unnecessary of course between our sumptuous breakfast and three course lunch.) But everyone (except me) seemed to partake, even Mac.
Some time later we passed a monumental Parthenon styled building built by King Ludwig I (not the builder of Neuschwanstein, but obviously just as keen on historic styled big buildings). it is a monument to honour German great men apparently, called Walhalla! (Home of the Gods).

Regensburg Boat Museum photograph
Regensburg Boat Museum

Drop Cap e dock in Regensburg soon and after lunch will go out for free time and exploring.


Old Regensburg photograph

In Old Regensburg

Old Regensburg photograph
Medieval High Rise in Old Regensburg

Drop Cap t was not much fun sloshing around Regensburg in the rain, to say nothing of the huge building site which took up much of the quayside area. But we saw the Old Stone Bridge, oldest in the region, all covered with scaffolding and canvas. We also saw (and smelled) the historic Old Sausage Kitchen nearby, a very quaint building, but we forbore from trying any.

Porta Pretoria photograph
Remains of the Roman Porta Pretoria

Drop Cap here are lots of really old buildings in Regensburg, very picturesque. We saw the Alte Rathaus or Old Town Hall, St. Peters Cathedral with its lovely lacy spires and the remains of the Roman Porta Pretoria which have been incorporated into a residential complex. We were getting quite cold and damp so we came back to rest.

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Thursday 21st May, 2015

Drop Cap ince we could not go forward, the boat went backward last night, to Wilshaven, almost to Passau, where it will stay before heading back to Budapest.

Eckersmuhlen Lock photograph
Eckersmuhlen,the Highest Lock on the Main-Danube Canal

Drop Cap e packed up and headed off in a coach to Nuremburg where the Amavenita was waiting for us. En route we visited the highest lock on the Main-Danube Canal, Eckersmuhlen, which is about 25 meters deep and has three side reservoirs which are used for filling and emptying the lock. Mac was very disappointed that we could not go through in the boat (high water, low bridge) but it was interesting nevertheless. It was quite a spectacular sight.

Nuremburg Market Square photograph
Nuremburg Market Square

Drop Cap hen we arrived in Nuremburg, infamous as the site of Nazi rallies and War Crimes Tribunals, but interesting in its own right, despite being bombed almost to total destruction at the end of the war. We went to the market square where there was a market going on: lots of lovely fruit and veg, cheese, gingerbread (local specialty) and craft.

Nuremburg Market photograph
Nuremburg Grunemarkt

Drop Cap e had lunch in an old place which specialised in bratwurst, pork knuckle and other Germanic treats and had Nuremburg sausages, six fingerlength grilled sausages with potato salad (me) and sauerkraut (Mac). The waiter suggested a "small salad" which I ordered and it turned out to be a huge plateful. Nice though, and so were the sausages. With a bottle of Coke light for Mac and apple juice and sparkling water for me it came to less than thirty five euros. We had been given fifty euros as "Lunch money" since we were not on board the ship, so we made a profit.

Nuremburg Fountain photograph
Interesting Fountain in Nuremburg

Drop Cap fter lunch we walked around the old town centre, seeing some interesting statuary and fountains and pleasant riverside areas.

Nuremburg Backwater photograph

Riverside in Nuremburg

Nuremburg Backwater photograph

Another Nuremburg Riverside

Nuremburg City Roofs photograph

Nuremburg City Roofs from the Castle

Nuremburg Wartime Rally Ground photograph
Wartime Rally Ground Nuremburg

Drop Cap hen we rejoined the group and went on a coach tour around the town, seeing the Imperial Castle, most impressive and the less impressive remains of the Nazi rally ground, all decay and dreariness. There is more charm to Nuremburg than these modern historic remains.

Drop Cap nyway we joined our new ship, the Amavenita, (the one we should have had all along but for circumstances) and have settled into the same cabin as on the Amareina.
We are missing the ebullience of some of the crew in the dining room, they seem to be much more stolid and Eastern Bloc than some of the crew on the Amareina. However I am sure we will get used to them and vice versa.

Drop Cap oon after dinner we set off again and soon went through a lock which was literally only just bigger than the ship. We stood and watched as we inched our way through. I am really glad we don't have one of the waterline "bilges" cabins, it looks dangerous. One false move and the lock is inside the cabin!
Tomorrow Bamberg, supposedly a medieval jewel. It was finer today, nice and sunny. Long may it continue!

Back to Top spacer Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Orange left arrow Back to Previous Page Forward to Next Green right arrow