We’re about to experience an eight day (seven night) “Romantic Rhine River Cruise”!! . . . .
Relax, sip a glass of wine . . . Rhine Riesling preferably . . . . and share our first river cruise adventure with us!
You may be asking, “How did you come to be cruising down the Rhine in Germany?” . . . . and “Where is Bruce?” (our trusty motorhome).
About a month ago, soon after we arrived in the Netherlands, Mark was flicking through a Dutch newspaper . . . . looking for Tour de France results . . . . . . but he cant read Dutch, so it was pictures that grabbed his attention!!
m m m m m . . . . this cruise sounds very interesting, and . . .what! only 299 Euro each for the week . . . including all meals. It sounded “too good to be true” but upon a little research (thank you google.nl and google translate). The website was only in Dutch, the booking form, the confirmations, the itinerary – and all discussions were all in Dutch.
What do we have to lose? So, with the click of the mouse we were booked on the MS Allegro with the dutch company, Stip Reizen Cruises !! (Their website here). With that price, we expected the smallest cabin, no window – maybe below the waterline!! . . . . . let us wait and see!!?!?
A challenge, but so-far-so-good!! . . . . . . fast forward . . . .
“Bruce” takes a break on the farm at Camping De Muk (where we stayed near Nijmegen two weeks earlier) whilst we cruise the Rhine! Saturday morning we excitedly power-walk past the adjacent strawberry fields and take our small “Carry-on luggage” on public transport from the farm to Arnhem, Netherlands, and board the MS Allegro. Who knows what the weather will bring as it can be like Melbourne – so our bags have clothes for cold, cool, warm and hot?
Wilkommen, welcome on board the MS Allegro !!
Yay! After a few anxious moments . . we discover “our ship” hiding around the bend on the wharf! Looking fresh and impressive, after a refurbishment in 2013, our first impressions are great!!
Here we are at our cabin. Room 104, the ROTTERDAM! Ohh! . . . single beds . . . but we have a lovely, large window, a desk, wardrobe and separate bathroom! Also, “swan” towels are a welcome novelty surprise!
Time for a cuppa or beer on deck, and relax enjoying the passing scenery! . . . .
. . . . . . grand riverside hotels, cows, horses and under this red, longest suspension bridge in Germany.
The sun sets colourfully as we cruise towards Dusseldorf . . . our 1st stopover.
We awake to this appealing view from our cabin window and sunny skies.
Dusseldorf is quite a contrast of modern and old! We venture ashore to explore. We pass this dramatic, abstract, tile street-art, modern skyscrapers, tree-lined small canal and statue of Bismarck.
Mark stands in aptly named Marktplatz!
Leaving Dusseldorf we cruise down (but upstream) to Koln (Cologne). The Rhine river starts in the Swiss Alps and meanders its way to the sea in Rotterdam.
Mark completes some work down in the salon and then joins our new friends on deck.
It was wonderful to make new Dutch friends Carla and Sjaak !! They also own their own business and are having a short, well deserved break. Their flower shop is called Bloemboutiek Carla – in the small village of Erp.
On board, most people (98%) are Dutch (and aged over 80!!). Fortunately for us, Carla and Sjaak speak English very well and we enjoy more, in-depth conversations and lots of laughs along our voyage!. They also translate for us when necessary – all tour instructions and commentary are in Dutch!!
Carla arranged for us to be seated with them for our meals in the dining room which was fantastic too!
We cruise on to Cologne, past the 3 span bridge.
Multi-coloured shops & cafes await us!. . . so does the Cologne Cathedral (DOM) with its 533 steps!!
Up . . . Up . . . . we go!! The spectacular views are worth the effort at the top of the gothic tower.
Cologne is the largest city of Rhineland with a large university and is an important economic centre.
Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom) is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day and houses the famous Shrine of the MAGI (the biblical three kings – or the Three Wise Men guided by the star to where Jesus was born). Legend recounts that the “relics of the Magi” were originally situated at Constantinople, but brought to Milan in an oxcart by Eustorgius I, the city’s bishop, to whom they were entrusted by the Emperor Constantine in 314. The relics of the Magi were taken from Milan by Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, eight centuries later, in 1164. The Three Kings have since attracted a constant stream of pilgrims to Cologne. (Info on the Shrine of the Magi at WIKIPEDIA here). The Wikipedia entry on the Cathedral also makes good reading (here).
Eau de Cologne originated here – hence the name, Bev discovered the 4711 shop which reminds her of her late wonderful mother. It was her favourite perfume in the 1970’s and she purchased a bottle in her memory.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TO BE CONTINUED . . . . . . . .