Friday, June 30, 2017

Amsterdam Airport

Amsterdam Airport is world class; fresh, modern and busy. Security is tight, extremely efficient and amazingly professional. In addition to wooden shoes, blue Delft pottery, cheese, licorice, chocolate and tulip bulbs, it has lots of top shelf shopping options.

We had a great journey down the Rhine River and are happy to be heading home!

Thanks for following along. ­čśś

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cologne to Amsterdam

Dinner with the captain was very enjoyable. His crew was piloting the ship during our meal. We cruised overnight and docked in Amsterdam during lunch on Wednesday.

Buses were at the dock at 1:30pm for a guided tour of the city. We also had a guided tour on the canals where we had a quick look at the Anne Frank house.

A small group of us arranged for tickets to the Van Gogh museum afterwards. We hopped the #2 tram and found the museum to be quite inspiring, despite the massive crowds. It was the first rainy day of the trip and half the city seemed to be visiting the museum, too.

We took the tram back to Central Station, had a beer and famous French fries before the short walk to the ship for dinner.

Although we didn't ride bikes in Amsterdam, nearly a million other people did! Crazy mayhem!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cologne Germany

The ship was in full throttle cruise mode Tuesday and so was everyone on board. It was great to have a lazy morning with no agenda. AmaPrima docked in Cologne just after lunch. Cologne is Germany's fourth largest city.

We took the bikes out in the drizzling rain and explored miles of path along the riverfront. We navigated to Cologne's only surviving structure of WWII bombings, the Cathedral. The Cathedral was built to house the bones of the three kings (Magi).

Kölsch beer was a must-try before heading back to the ship. A dinner invitation from the captain was waiting in our room. Very exciting!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

R├╝desheim to Koblenz

We staked out some seats in the shade for the afternoon cruise to Koblenz. A scenic highlight of the trip unfolded with each bend in the river. Steep, sloping vineyards decorated with castles and quaint towns provided a picturesque and dramatic landscape for four hours.

When we arrived in Koblenz Germany we were feeling our afternoon of rosé! Hankering for food, we walked around town and found a burger and fries. It was a nice change from the formal dining option on the ship.

A lovely day ended with a lovely sunset.

R├╝desheim

The bikers were off the boat by 9am to begin the morning ride along the river bank and up through some vineyards. It was another spectacular day of peddling in Germany.

Back to the boat at noon, we walked to town and had a Rüdesheim coffee. Yum! It's basically an Irish coffee but with local Asbach brandy. Our kind waiter offered to take our picture and decided to photobomb one too. Haha.

AmaPrima left the dock at 2pm for an afternoon of cruising to Koblenz.

Monday, June 26, 2017

R├╝desheim Germany

The Rhine River is starting to get very scenic now. We cruised all Sunday afternoon and enjoyed relaxing on our balcony. The waterway was fairly active and it was fun to just sit back and watch.

We docked in the wine town of Rüdesheim during dinner. It is most famous for its Riesling. A couple of evening excursions were available. Bill and I explored the Seigfried's Musical Cabinet Museum. The music boxes were pretty amazing. Then, we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the sweet town on an evening stroll back to the ship.

The heatwave has finally broken and the weather is getting very pleasant; into the 70s now.

I thought a photo of the AmaPrima would be a nice addition to the batch today. It is a lovely, modern ship and very comfortable.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mannheim Germany

We awoke in Mannheim Germany Sunday. Several excursions were available and we opted for a 36km bike ride to Schwetzingen Palace and Gardens.

Now that we have officially become connoisseurs on palaces and gardens after this year of travel to France and Russia, the Schwetzingen Palace was just okay. The gardens were expansive and lovely.

We apparently missed a great excursion to Heidelberg, but it was good to get the cycling exercise. There's lots of eating and drinking going on!

Strasbourg France

From the famous Cathedral to modern city architecture to the Petite France neighborhood with 17th century structures and canals, we enjoyed all the sites by bikes.

Strasbourg is truly a bike friendly town with an accommodating infrastructure and lots of storks' nests.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Basel Switzerland to Breisach Germany

Aside from plenty of tunnels from Lucerne to Basel, it was an uneventful bus ride through the mountains. We hit the third largest city in Switzerland at rush hour. Our beautiful ship was docked on the Rhine River and ready for boarding.

Reunited with John Riley, our cruise manager, and one hundred plus other passengers from around the world, we made ourselves comfortable aboard the AmaWaterway ship AMAPrima.

Dinner was festive and most passengers were back in their cabins when AmaPrime started it's overnight cruise to Breisach Germany.

Friday morning's excursion was popular. Buses left the dock for Riquewihr France. Arguably one of the most beautiful villages in the heart of Alsace, many of the homes date back to 16th and 17th centuries.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mountain Lakes: Z├╝rich to Lucerne

The tour bus meandered through the Swiss countryside in route to Lucerne. The rolling green pastures, dotted with grazing cows, introduced scenery quite different from Z├╝rich.

We passed through Zug and enjoyed the sights, albeit from the coach window. Zug is a bustling city surrounded by the shores of the sprawling Lake Zug, nestled in the mountains.

The Lake of the Four Forest Cantons, further on our ride through the Alps, was a magnificent shade of emerald blue. This is where the legend of William Tell originated. The bus dropped us at Vitznau, a port at the base of Mt. Rigi. We all enjoyed a sunny boat ride to Lucerne. The scenery from the land and water was breathtakingly spectacular in all directions.

We had a quick guided tour in Lucerne after lunch, which included a visit to the historically significant dead Lion Monument. A thoughtful carving in sandstone honoring courageous warriors and the mortality of all humans. Mark Twain allegedly called the Lion Monument "the saddest and most moving piece of rock in the world."

The unseasonably hot weather is continuing its drain on our energy, but we are all trying to take in as much as we can! And stay hydrated.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lake Z├╝rich

With a little help from a friend, Bill slept like a baby until past 8am. Love those sleeping aids sometimes!

We had a leisurely breakfast and made our way to Zürich Bürkliplatz, the boat terminal within a 20 minute walk from the hotel. We opted for the four hour round trip excursion to Rapperswil. It was another day of the Zürich heat wave so we were excited to spend much of the day on the water.

The sights were beautiful!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Neighborhood Sweetness

After a big day of touring, we stumbled upon this sweet little garden just around the corner from our hotel: Drei Steuben Restaurant.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ros├ę All Day!

Public drinking is "no problem" in Zürich. I thought the clerk said "not proper." Lost in translation.

Travel adventure #24,672: Sitting on a park bench, drinking rosé in the shade, after walking for miles and miles.

Heat Wave in Z├╝rich

Such a pretty city, but FL hot these couple of days touring. High 80s! We walked and walked and walked.