Miltenberg to the Rhine

Monday 25th May, 2015
Tuesday 26th May, 2015
Wednesday 27th May, 2015

Monday 25th May, 2015

Rudesheim Train photograph

Tcheu-Tcheu Train in Rudesheim

Siegfried Sign photograph

Siegfried's Mechanical Musik Kabinett

Drop Cap e arrived this morning on the Rhine River, the lovely little town of Rudesheim. We were met by their cute little Tcheu-tcheu train, a miniature tourist train which took us up to the top of the town where we all divided into the group for the chairlift to the German Unification Monument and the group for Siegfried's Mechanical Musik Kabinett. I don't do chairlifts if I can avoid them so we went to the Musical Instrument Museum.

Siegfried photograph

Fairground Steam Orchestra, Siegfried's Musik Kabinett

Siegfried Schloss photograph

Siegfried's Schloss

Drop Cap didn't expect much from this but it was quite fascinating, housed in a 12thC Castle. The castle was an interesting building in its own right with an old motor car parked outside which the men found interesting as well.

Outside Siegfried's Schloss photograph

Mac Outside Siegfried's Schloss

Drop Cap he Museum had all kinds of mechanical music devices from tiny music boxes with singing birds to room sized orchestras and fairground carousel music. They were amazing, all restored and in good nick, some amazingly loud. One of our fellow passengers is a young boy with Downes Syndrome and he really got into the music, swaying and dancing. When the guide showed us a traditional barrel organ she asked for a volunteer to turn it and selected young Ross, who knew exactly how to do it and when to stop. It was great.

Rudesheim photograph


Drop Cap fterwards we walked back to the ship down some tiny alleys full of restaurants and bars. We had ice cream cones while walking. Today is still a public holiday and for some reason cannons were being let off on both sides of the river, never found out exactly why.

Back for lunch, then cruise off down the Rhine Gorge. With any luck the sun will be shining.


Drop Cap nfortunately, the sun didn't come out and the wind was strong and cold. When it started to rain most of us deserted the sundeck and retreated to the lounge.

Rhine Castle photograph

Castle on the Rhine

Rhine Castle photograph

Another Castle on the Rhine

Drop Cap owever, we saw lots of castles on both sides of the river, in various states of ruin and disrepair but apparently there is a group (charitable I would assume) who keep the castles in order, not restored but maintained so they don't deteriorate any further. Sounds like a good idea. I don't know if any of my photos will be very successful, the castles were of dark stone against dark cliff or dark forest. However, we will see. I have never thought to see so many castles in one day, it was wonderful.

Rhine Castle photograph

Another Castle on the Rhine

Rhine River Scene photograph

Another Castle on the Rhine

Drop Cap particularly liked one village we saw which was loomed over by a medieval castle but had a fresh looking whitewashed castle on a little island in the river. The story told by Jude (whose historical knowledge is admittedly a bit questionable) is that the lord of the old castle had a daughter who wanted to marry a man her father did not like. So he immured her in the new white castle for a year until she came to her senses. Unfortunately the young man was a sailor and rescued her, by boat! Very picturesque whatever the truth of the story!

Drop Cap hen we passed the legendary Lorelei Rock we started nodding off so went back to the cabin. Tonight we have another Royal Invitation. Dinner with Princess Heide von Hohenzollern at her castle, Burg Namedy. This is an arrangement with APT which is equally good for both sides. We get to see the castle and enjoy all the facilities, including the gardens and dinner, she gets money to help with maintenance and restoration etc. All good.

Later Still:

At Burg Namedy photograph

Visiting Princess Heide at Burg Namedy

Gardens at Burg Namedy photograph

Burg Namedy Gardens

Drop Cap e had a wonderful night at Burg Namedy. Welcomed by the Princess personally we were able to wander all over the house before meeting in the main hall for dinner.

Inside Burg Namedy photograph

Inside the Great Hall, Burg Namedy

Rosemary at Burg Namedy photograph

Rosemary at Burg Namedy

Drop Cap he grand hall had huge fireplaces, suits of armour, hangings, statues and pictures and we all felt very upper class. Leigh and Kyra took some photos of us and we took some of them to show our high class connections!

Leigh & Kyra at Burg Namedy photograph

Leigh and Kyra at Burg Namedy

Inside Burg Namedy photograph
Rosemary and Mac Inside the Great Hall, Burg Namedy

Furniture at Burg Namedy photograph

Burg Namedy Furniture

Drop Cap inner was very good and very well served by hospitality students from a local college. We had appetisers of bread, dips and olives, an entree of pike and lentils (very tasty), chicken breast in tarragon sauce with vegetables and a choice of chocolate, strawberry or passionfruit mousse. Yummy! We had a short concert of classical music by a student pianist who was very good to my uneducated ear.

Drop Cap t was beautiful, a lovely castle full of interesting furniture and artifacts and we all enjoyed the experience. I must say APT is really giving us some unique experiences. Tomorrow Cologne, then Amsterdam and the end of the cruise.

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Tuesday 26th May, 2015

Drop Cap eoff flies out from Sydney today enroute to London. God send him alertness and no problems.

Rhine Castle photograph

Still Seeing Castles on the Rhine

Rhine Castle photograph

Still More Castles

Drop Cap oday we set off from Aachen and cruised down the Rhine. We passed a number of castles and towers and, at the town of Remagen we passed the two remaining towers of the famous bridge which Eisenhower discovered in 1945 had not been destroyed, the only one remaining on the Rhine. The Germans had destroyed all the others but had not succeeded with this one. Ike managed to get most of his troops and tanks across before the bridge blew up from undermining or something.

Rhine Tower photograph

Towns and Towers

Cruising the Rhine photograph

Rhine River Traffic

Drop Cap e continued cruising, passing the outskirts of the modern city of Bonn, at one time capital of West Germany, lots of tall modern buildings, so unlike the castle-studded landscapes we have been passing.
After this we had a meeting with Jude, our Tour Director, regarding dis-embarcation procedures. Since we are going on to Paris we have red tags for our baggage. We were a bit miffed to hear there was an option to get the train to Paris but Deanna hadn't mentioned it. (to the best of our recollection, which admittedly is not great!) So we are down for a coach ride to Paris, through Belgium, about 4½ hours. Not too bad, at least we will see some of the countryside.

Old Fishmarket Cologne photograph

Old Fishmarket Cologne

Fishmarket Fountain Cologne photograph

Fishmarket Fountain Cologne

Drop Cap fter lunch we had a walking tour of some of Cologne. I know it was bombed during the war, so were a lot of places in countries which did not start the war! It really did not appeal to me. Some of it was OK, some old squares originally of the fishmarket and haymarket, some quirky old houses and the old town hall.

Cologne Cathedral photograph

Cologne Cathedral

Drop Cap fter the tour which ended at the blackened stones and scaffolding of the Cathedral (I know, I know!) we had delicious hot chocolate at a café, bought some 4711 Cologne wipes, then headed back to the ship. I feel it is ridiculous as it is now 70 years since the war ended that they are still rebuilding Cologne Cathedral. Coventry Cathedral in England was destroyed as well, and they got on and built a brand new modern cathedral which incorporates the ruins of the old and it is just as evocative and far healthier as an attitude.

Rhine Shipping Cologne photograph

Shipping at the Port of Cologne

Drop Cap e have our farewell cocktail and Captain's Gala Farewell Dinner tonight but Mac needed a rest, he still has a bad cold which is very debilitating. Mine is all but gone but the ship is full of coughers, some really ill, in spite of the hand sanitizers everywhere.


Drop Cap e had our farewell cocktail followed by the Captain's Gala Farewell Dinner. Very nice, with amuse-bouches, we didn't choose appetisers, I had cream of asparagus soup which had a floating island of strawberry mousse in it, quite strange, the others had roast beef, I had duet of fish, perch and salmon with oriental basmati rice, delicious. Then a cherry sorbet and very rich dessert, coffee and chocolates. I could feel WW Leader Ellen sitting on my shoulder saying "don't do it!" But I did.

Drop Cap alked ten laps of the top deck afterwards but I don't think it will help much.
Tomorrow Amsterdam and our last touring day. Four days in Paris and then to London to meet Geoff. Lots of info about disembarcation - feedback sheets (four pages!) Oy vey!

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Wednesday 27th May, 2015

Amsterdam Cruise photograph

On the Amsterdam Cruise

Amsterdam Canal photograph

Along a Canal in Amsterdam

Drop Cap e arrived in Amsterdam today, docking around 1300. We walked ten laps of the sundeck and watched the shipping on the canal, even saw a couple of windmills in the distance.

After lunch we went for a canal cruise, quite good, although our guide was not much, she chatted more to the driver than to us. But we saw the canal scenery, old very tall canal houses with pulleys jutting out from the top and some old lift style bridges, like something out of Van Gogh!

Amsterdam Canal Bridge photograph

Old Canal Bridge Amsterdam

Amsterdam Canal photograph

Along another Canal in Amsterdam

Bikes in Amsterdam photograph

Bikes in Amsterdam

Drop Cap hen we descended into the chaos which is Amsterdam city. Bikes and motor scooters went in all directions , ignoring traffic, pedestrians and lights. I found it very intimidating and I did not like it at all.

Amsterdam Flower Market photograph

Amsterdam Flowermarket

Drop Cap e fought our way around the flower market, not just tulips either, and bought a couple of souvenirs at the Delft shop. They had everything you could think of in the characteristic blue and white delft china, like the little canal houses we were given by KLM back in 1995. In fact they had the same things in the shop, described as KLM canal houses! costing about 39 euros. I just bought a couple of fridge magnets, one like a canal house and one like a canal house in the red light district (!). Not quite sure who to give it to.

Dutch Windmill 2 photograph

Dutch Windmill in Amsterdam

Drop Cap t has been a lovely sunny afternoon but we got very little commentary on the sights and I just about fell asleep on the bus later as we got caught up in terrible traffic. The driver told me it was always like that. However, they eventually made it to the outskirts where there was a lone windmill, converted for a house, like Jonathon Creek. It made a good photostop. Have to have windmills in Amsterdam!

Canal Houses Amsterdam photograph

Canal Houses in Amsterdam

  Drop Cap hen we arrived back at the ship we just had time to change for dinner, our last supper! We paid our bill (for odd souvenirs and the occasional drink), put in the questionnaires for Jude, packed most of our stuff and got ready to go.

Off to Paris in the morning!

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Rothenburg Sign photograph

Hanging Sign in Rothenburg

Sign in Miltenberg photograph

Hanging Sign in Miltenberg

Cologne Sign 2 photograph

Hanging Sign in Cologne

Drop Cap can't leave this beautiful area without a wrap-up of our trip. We had a wonderful time, very indulgent. APT looked after us very well, even giving us lunch money on the day we had to be away from the ship. The inclusions and options were very generous and presented a magical showcase of this central European wonderland, filled with story book villages straight from Grimm's tales, magic castles looming atmospherically from every headland, and great food! I have mentioned several times the wealth of business signs hanging over the streets and here present three of the best, from Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Miltenberg, and Cologne.

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