Woke up around 4:30 for some reason. Got up around 5:15. Only two more full days in the trip, after today. I'll really hate to see it end.
Turned on the computer as soon as I got up, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the blog I screamed and hollered about having lost! It was not there before...I swear it. And thus is another blow struck for paranoia as it applies to me.
Did I mention that each cabin on the ship has one 110v electrical outlet as well as the normal-for-Europe 220v? Saves having to drag out the power converter.
The Rhine forks off from the Mein, and we're now on the Rhine. The water level is quite high, according to the semi-submerged trees along the banks. Lots of campgrounds, lots and lots of trailers and motor homes. We've begun passing castle after castle in various stages of repair. And will be passing several more before arriving at Braubach, where we will...tour a castle (Marksburg). The sun deck will be open after about 10 days of being closed for low bridges, and I'll probably be kept busy running from one side of the ship to the other.
It is downright brisk out there this morning and I once again wish I'd brought a light jacket. Fortunately Andrew, as social director, is alerting us to approaching points of interest via ship's speakers, which means I take a photo of a castle on the left, return to my cabin and two minutes later am taking a photo on the right. Repeat.
11:41. Chilly, raining. At noon is “A Taste of Germany” in the lounge...
12:41. Sitting at the computer with a cup of hot chocolate and a delicious huge soft pretzel with chunks of rock salt on top (it's so rare I find anything I enjoy eating, I treasure it when I do). The “Taste of Germany” lived up to its name...at least from what I could see. What little I had was very good.
Had another woman come up and ask me about my books. Nice of her.
Okay, so arrived in Braubach on time, did a nifty mid-river turn around, which with a ship of this length ain't easy. Instead of a circle-type turn, it was more of a swinging sideways turn. We had to do it to end up on the right side of the river for docking. Passengers dumped for the tour to Marksburg Castle, the most intact castle in Germany. As always interesting, as always I wouldn't want to live there. Spectacular views, of course, and I took tons of photos. Cold and windy, but cleared by the time we got back on the buses to return to the ship.
Once again painfully aware of the herd-of-sheep phenomenon of guided tours. Most of the castle's rooms are small, and to cram 30 or so people into each one at the same time meant taking decent photos was next to impossible. I'd wait until everyone had moved on to the next room and then take pictures.
Have you ever wondered what the people who lived in castles did for bathrooms? Well, Marksburg has three, all on upper floors. They consist of an enclosed balcony-type affair with outhouse-style seats jutting out from the side of the castle. People passed below at their peril.
After dropping off the passengers, the ship moved on to Koblenz, about a 20 minute ride from Braubach. Arrived about 3:45 to find the Prestige sandwiched between two other Viking ships...the ????on the shore side, and I can't see the name of the other. At 4:15 they announced a walking tour of Koblenz. I passed.
“Captain's Dinner” tonight, during which the entire crew was introduced...nice gesture. For the first time on the cruise, I ordered an entree: Lobster Thermidor, which turned out to be giant prawns. Okay, but not the lobster I remember. Their dinner presentations are always very professional, and the Lobster Thermador came with a spear of white asparagus on either side of the prawn, and on each side of each spear, two fresh green beans. There was also long grained black and white rice. Dessert was a delicious crème brûlée. Barbara and I sat by ourselves until we were joined just before dessert by Darryl and Francis, from the Bahamas. Really very nice people, and everyone I've met have been extremely friendly, which I greatly appreciate.
Talked to Andrew, the social director, about exchanging my suitcase in Cologne tomorrow. Turns out the store is quite close to where the tour ends, and it is a short walk back to the ship from there. He volunteered to accompany me, and I told him I could do everything without problem, but he insisted, so we shall see. (The ship is going in for some minor repair tomorrow afternoon, and we have the choice of remaining aboard from 1:30 to 5:30, or staying ashore for that time. I opted to stay aboard.)
And so, one more day after Cologne, and we're in Amsterdam. Time sure flies when you're having fun.
Dorien will be posting frequent blogs and photos while on his current European River Cruise. You're also invited to check out his website at www.doriengrey.com.