Rhine River Cruise Day 10 & 11

Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9, 2019

Our last day in Amsterdam and it was a full free day.  A group of us took the tram to the Rijksmuseum.

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The Rijksmuseum

We got there not long after the museum opened.  Our first stop  was the
“Night Watch” by Rembrandt.  It was painted in 1642.  It was fascinating how they are using computers/technology to scan the painting and work on the restoration process which I believe will take a year!

Below is a copy of the Night Watch.  They feel it depicts the original size and it will be studied to gain information.

We spent several hours exploring the rest of the museum.

It was fun watching the school groups explore and learn about the museum.

The Hard Rock Cafe is close by so we went in and got a pin!

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As we were heading to the floating flower market on this cloudless day.  What a difference a day makes in the weather from yesterday!

One of the places we visited was the floating flower garden (since 1862) which is known locally as the Bloemenmarkt and had lunch across from it.  You can purchase all kinds of tulip bulbs, fresh flowers, Dutch souvenirs, and Christmas decorations.  It was fun visiting all of the shops!

Part of our group hadn’t been to the Red Light District so we walked through the area.  In Amsterdam there are bicycles everywhere.  As a pedestrian you really have to pay attention to the bicyclists so you don’t get run over!

 

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We stopped in and saw the inside of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas.

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Basilica of Saint Nicholas

Another landmark is the Central Train Station in the heart of the city that opened in 1889.

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The Amsterdam Central Train Station

We still had our tram passes so we took it until the line ended and then back.

In doing this we got out of the city center and saw other parts of Amsterdam.

Our view from our hotel on our last evening in Amsterdam!IMG_9009

Our wake up call Saturday morning was very early so we could board our bus for the ride to the airport!  We flew Air France from Amsterdam in the morning and arrived in the United States in Atlanta and then had a flight on Delta Airlines home.

Both flights were close to on time and we were home by 5:00 PM on Saturday.  Our Hilliard Chamber of Commerce group was so fun to travel with and Aventura World made sure everything went smoothly.  We made new friends, new memories and explored new cities!  We can’t wait for 2020’s adventures!

Rhine River Cruise Day 9

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Today was a rainy day in Amsterdam.  Our first stop was the Van Gogh Museum.  It opened in 1973 and contains the largest collection of his work.  Our guide pointed out the highlights of the artist’s life and works.  No pictures are allowed in the museum but in the entryway you can take photos.

Then we visited and toured the Anne Frank House.  Anne Frank kept a diary and she is one of the well-known Jewish victims of the Holocaust.  She became famous after her death when her diary was published.  The house we visited was her hiding place that she documented in her diary.   Of course it was crowded and mostly single file.  We each had an audio guide as we went through the house.

After the Anne Frank house we had a walking tour of the city and end up at our hotel for our last two nights.  She pointed out some of the important sites as we walked.  It was raining and our guide said she’d take our tour on the shortest path to get to our hotel but it still was an hour walk and talk!

When we checked into the hotel we had a late lunch in the hotel cafe, then went to our room to change and then walked on our own into town because the rain was stopping.  We walked around the Red Light district!

We stopped into a supermarket and bought cheese and crackers for “dinner”! We weren’t that hungry because of having a late lunch.  It was nice to relax in our room.

Rhine River Cruise Day 8

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Today we arrived at Hoorn, met our guide and took a bus to a quaint Dutch village called Volendam.  It is located 30 minutes from Amsterdam.

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The Hoofdtoren is a tower used for defense. The tower was built in 1532 and the clock on it was added in 1651!
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Oosterpoort is the city gate tower. It was built in 1578 and the house on top was built in 1601.

As we walked through Hoorn’s scenic streets toward our bus that would take us to Volendam, we noticed many homes and buildings were leaning forward!IMG_8304

Our guide explained to us that these homes were built with a forward incline to help prevent items from hitting the building facade the owners pulled these items up!

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The park we passed where our bus was parked.

Our next stop after our bus ride was Volendam.  It was a colorful village to walk through and see the old fishing boats in its harbor.  The town had a lot of charm. After walking through this fishing village we had some free time to explore.

Our next stop was a cheese farm.  They demonstrated how they make the cheese and our favorite part was sampling the various cheeses that they offer.  We did bring some home with us.

After our visit at the cheese farm, our bus took us into Amsterdam for a city tour and a canal cruise.IMG_8370

We cruised along many of the city’s points of interest.  Experiencing Amsterdam by a canal cruise at night was beautiful.

After our cruise we went back to our boat for our last night on the M/S Amadeus Silver III.  We will miss the fabulous food, friendly staff, and luxurious accommodations!

Rhine River Cruise Day 7

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

We were in Cologne, Germany.  We had a walking tour of the old city and then we had time on our town.  A bus transported us into town but we walked back to our boat.

Our tour began and ended at the cathedral.  It was one of the few buildings standing in Cologne after the end of WWII.  It did have damage but not like the destruction of the rest of the city!

The present Cologne Cathedral’s construction began in 1248 and continued until 1520.  Restoration began in 1820 and finally ended in 1880.  It was damaged by Allied air raids in 1944 and repair work and restoration began again in the 1950s and continues!  The Cathedral has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

After our tour of the city, we walked through the cathedral on our own!IMG_8194

Inside the cathedral is the gilded shrine of the Three Kings which is located near the high altar.  It is said that it contains relics of the Magi who attended to baby Jesus.

The cathedral’s oldest stained-glass windows are from the 13th century.

We walked by the crossing tower of Grob St. Martin.  It was hit by bombs during WWII and rebuilt.  With the reconstruction they have discovered items from its Roman past.IMG_8159

Nearby are colorful historic town houses (built between the 14th and 17th centuries) in the Fish Market.IMG_8161

Walking around town and enjoying the sites.

We stopped for lunch at a delicious eatery called Cafe Eigel.

After lunch we walked to the Hard Rock Cafe to get a souvenir pin.IMG_8225

Another stop for us was Alt St. Alban which dates back to 1172.  It is ruins of a medieval Romanesque church and monuments.  It was heavily damaged during WWII.  It was not restored after the war but left as a memorial to all of those who died from 1939-1945.

Below is a segment of a Roman sewer (from the 1st century).  An underground pipe transported water to the Rhine.

We walked across the tiered-arch bridge that spans the Rhine.  It was rebuilt after the war and is now only pedestrian and rail traffic.  The fences along the pedestrian walkway are filled with locks.  Thousands of these locks line the sidewalk path.

This afternoon we left Cologne and sailed to Amsterdam.  One of the pastry chefs on board our ship, did a demonstration on how to make apple strudel.  He also gave us his recipe!  Dave said it was very good!

This evening was our Farewell Gala Dinner.  It was hard to believe that our time on the Amadeus was almost over.

Rhine River Cruise Day 6

Monday, November 4, 2019

Our morning was relaxing on the ship as we sailed from Koblenz to Cochem.

This afternoon was spent with a city tour of Cochem and a visit to the Reichsburg Castle.  Our guide was very bubbly and did a good job of showing us the city.

Our guide in front of the Stammbaum der Stadt, a ceramic mosaic by Carlfritz Nicolay.

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Cochem mosaic wall that illustrates the history of the city.

Cochem has documented its flooding on the walls in the city.

As we walked through the town we saw many half-timbered homes.  It was such a beautiful town.

Below is the fountain that commemorates the trial of a goat for stealing grapes.

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The fountain is in beside the St. Martin Catholic Church which was built around 1130.  Parts of the church were destroyed during WWII but have been rebuilt.

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Some more pictures from our walk through Cochem.

After our walking tour we boarded small buses to go up the twists and turns to visit the Reichsburg Castle.

The Reichsburg Castle is not the original castle that stood on the hill in the 12th century.  The original castle was destroyed by the French King Louis XIV in 1689.  It was in ruins until a wealthy businessman from Berlin bought it and rebuilt the castle in 1868.

We also had a tour inside the castle.  It was beautiful.

Below are some of the interior rooms of the castle.

The views from the castle are amazing.

We also had a wine tasting of 3 wines from the Cochem area.  They did give choices between semi-dry and dry white wines after our first tasting which was a sweet white wine.

At dinner it was pirate night and the waiters and servers were dressed up and the tables and menus were a mess!

The evening was a lot of fun.  They did an Amadeus Raffle For 10 euros and you got 5 tickets!  Dave won twice!  The first time was a necklace and the second was a kitchen towel with a recipe on it!  It was another fun-filled day along the Rhine River.

Rhine River Cruise Day 5

Sunday, November 3, 2019

This morning we were in Rüdesheim, Germany which is a wine town.  We rode a tram into town.

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Our first stop was at Siegfried’s Mechanical Cabinet Museum.  It was fun listening to the various automated instruments and pianos.

We walked down the narrow street, the Drosselgasse, which was lined with many taverns and cafes.

Dave and others from our group tried the coffee, Rüdesheimer Kaffee.

It is an alcoholic coffee drink from Rüdesheim.  It was invented over 60 years ago.  They use Asbach Uralt brandy and sugar cubes added to a cup.  They flambee the brandy and stir for a minute until the sugar dissolves.  Then they add strong coffee and top it with whipped cream sweetened with vanilla sugar.  Chocolate flakes are scattered onto the cream as a garnish!  You don’t use a spoon to stir it.  You drink it through the cream.  I’m not a coffee drinker but my one sip wasn’t bad at all with that sweetened cream added!

This afternoon we cruised along the Romantic part of the Rhine with many castles!  We stayed on the top deck of the ship to look at the castles and the small quaint towns that we passed.

We passed a 433 foot high steep slate rock with the legend of Lorelei.  There is the legend of a beautiful maiden.  There are various versions of this legend.  She would sit atop the Lorelei rock formation and serenade sailors with her singing. Sailors would be lured by her voice and they would crash at the rugged rocks!  Just pass the cliff is a bronze female figure of her.

Later on we veered from the Rhine to the Moselle River and stopped in Koblenz!

Koblenz is situated on the banks of the Rhine and the Moselle.  We had a walking tour of the historic sites of Koblenz.

Below is the Memorial of Emperor Wilhelm I located at the Deutsches Eck (where the Moselle river joins the Rhine river).  This memorial was unveiled in 1897.  He was the first German Emperor and played a role in the unification of Germany.

Our guide pointed out the flooding that is marked on the corner of the wall.  If you go online and search Koblenz, Germany floods you can see some aerial images that show how much of the town was underwater!

Outside the Ludwig Museum was “Le Pouce” made by César is this huge thumb sculpture.  The thumb is 6 feet tall and made of bronze.  On the other side of the thumb is a fingerprint.

The Basilica of St. Castor is the oldest church in Koblenz and since 2002 it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage.  We were unable to view the inside of the Basilica because mass was being held.IMG_7810

You can see the Tower Clock and below the clock the Augenroller who sticks out his tongue every half hour and rolls his eyes!  This building was once the old town hall and is now an art gallery.

Below is the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), a catholic church built in the 5th century in Koblenz.

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The Jesuitenplatz (Jesuit Square) is located in the heart of the Old Town of Koblenz.  It got its name from the Jesuits that were in the area from 1580 to 1773.

We saw the town icon statue of “The Spitting Boy”.  This fountain, Schängelbrunnen, has a little boy that sporadically spits on people passing by!  Check out the fountain below!

Our walking tour was cut short because the rain was really pouring and it was difficult to see anything with the rain and the dark skies!

 

Rhine River Cruise Day 4

Saturday, November 2, 2019

This morning we walked off the ship and met our guide for a walking tour of Speyer.  Our first stop was the Speyer Cathedral, which is over 1000 years old.  It opened in 1106 and was added as an UNESCO World Heritage list in 1981.

Looking at the town after visiting the cathedral.

We also visited the Trinity Church that was built in the 1700s.  The organ is in the middle in the front altar.  The paintings in the church were done by local artists.  The pews were double so you could see the front and switch sides and see the back of the church.

One of the trees I noticed with unusual fruit is called a mispel or as the local’s call it “dog’s ass”!  The fruit is used to make schnapps and jam!

The Jewish Quarter was one of our stops.  We saw the remains of a Romanesque Synagogue.  It was built of sandstone in the late 13th century.  There were two areas: the woman’s prayer hall and the men’s synagogue and it was used until 1490.

In the courtyard was a subterranean Jewish ritual washing baths.

Some free time was built into our day so we could explore the city on our own before returning to the ship and then sailing to Mannheim.

Lunch was on board as we traveled on the Rhine and it was raining.  We’re hopeful that it clears up for our afternoon explorations.

This afternoon we visited the town of Heidelberg, Germany which is a university town.  Our first stop was the Heidelberg Castle.  Below are pictures of Heidelberg as we drive up to the castle!

Our guide was full of great stories as we walked around the castle grounds.