Page 2 of GreatEscapes Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Regensburg December 22nd 2016

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (northern hemisphere style). Don't really expect to see much snow until we get to Austria & Switzerland but this is pretty nice anyway (apparently it is frost, not snow.). Temps down to about -3 degrees. Our daily programme was changed around today as we were supposed to disembark from the ship and go into Regensburg however we ended up cruising past and disembarked further down the canal and caught a bus back to Regensburg where we visited the Thurn und Taxis Castle. Franz von Taxis was the first to establish a well-organized courier service in Italy and at the turn of the 16th century laid the foundation for the development of an international postal system. A letter could be transported between Innsbruck and Brussels in 5½ days. In ... read more
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Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Nuremberg December 21st 2016

Docked at 7.00am and off the boat by 9.00am. We had booked to go on the tour of the WWII historical info tour and Documentation Tour but opted to do the alternative at the last minute. Instead we did a tour of the Imperial Palace (which really isn't what I had in my mind when you talk about a Palace - no opulence here!). Had a fantastic guide, very informative with quite a lot of humour thrown in. The thing that strikes me is how willing the younger generation are to talk about the atrocities of war when others deny the holocoust ever happened. Our tour of the "Palace" ended in downtown Nuremberg. As we approached market square, our first vision was that of police cars blocking the entrance into the square where they hold the ... read more

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Bamberg December 21st 2016

Cruising towards Bamberg through the Main - Danube canal and temperatures have dropped. Looking out the window there is a thick covering of frost and that has stayed around for most of the day. Usually we can get out to the front of the ship but they have kept the doors locked I presume because of the drop in temp. Once we arrived in Bamberg we did a walking tour of the city past their version of Venice, through the towns cathedral, council buildings etc. The guide was telling us that one of the Mayor's wanted to honour those killed by the Nazi's in WWII and pointed out a number of plaques that were embedded into the cobble stone payments. They are about 4 inches square and engraved with name of the person who died. There ... read more

Europe » Germany » Bavaria » Wurzburg December 19th 2016

It is with a heavy heart that I write today's blog after the situation at the Berlin Christmas Martket. So sad for the people and families affected by the attack. The Christmas Markets in Germany are such a beautiful tradition and for this to happen to people who are out enjoying the markets and getting into the festive season is beyond comprehension. it is a senseless waste of life and so selfish of the people perpetrated the attack! 21st December 2016: So... a couple of days ago we visited the beautiful countryside city of Rothenberg. We arrived there by about 10.00am and it was absolutely freezing. I had left my scarf back at the ship so had to go any buy another (what a shame)!!! The countryside on the drive out to Rothenburg Along the Romatic ... read more

Europe » Germany » Bavaria December 18th 2016

After departing Cologne we went through a number of locks overnight. The process caused me to wake each time, not because it noisy, rather it was so quiet. The ship would drop speed and glide into the locks and the motor didn't seem to start up again until the lock had filled and we were going out the other side. Saw this morning just how they work and it seems to me that it is just like filling a really big bathtub: the ship rises with the level of the water, once at the right level, gates are opened and off we go. We will be going through about 50 locks over the next couple of day, the 3 deepest from 19 - 25 metres. For lunch today we were met by guides dressed in traditional ... read more

Europe » Germany » Rhineland-Palatinate December 17th 2016

A slow start to the day as we cruise from Cologne overnight into the Rhine Gorge. With numerous castles along the banks, our tour director has likened the Rhine Gorge to a Grand Slam Tennis Match (looking from side to side at all the sights). Very cold outside so everyone positions themselves in the lounges next to the windows. Not me and Bruce, we have braved the cold and gone up to the sundeck - will probably never thaw out but definitely worth it. After lunch we visited the small township of Rudesheim. Christmas Market # 2 which was absolutely magical. Christmas here so vastly different from home - rugged up in jackets, scarves, beanies drinking mulled wine in the cafes. Just love it. The markets have all sorts of beautiful Christmas ornaments and also heaps ... read more

Europe » Germany » North Rhine-Westphalia December 16th 2016

Cruised overnight through the industrial area on the Rhine River reaching Cologne at about lunch time. Made our way off the ship and went looking for the Hard Rock Cafe. Again after a few wrong turns, we found it - and without having to ask anyone. After the usual purchases by Bruce we headed back to the Cologne Cathedral and had a look through the Christmas Markets. Just as I expected with the decorated marquees, glass baubles, food (everywhere) and Christmas carols. The baubles are absolutely beautiful and I want to buy some but I know that it is very unlikely they will survive the trip home. After the Markets we headed inside the Cathedral and sat in awe at the beautiful building, arches and stained glass windows. We lit candles for those we have lost ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam December 15th 2016

Today we went from the bustling city life where their are approx 800,000 bikes (32% of city traffic - takes "Ride to Work" to the extreme) to the quiet country side at Zaanse Schans to see a working windmill. De Kat is probably the last remaining paint mill in the world. From there we toured a Clog Factory and saw a demonstration of how the clogs are made and finally got an explanation of why they wear them! Worn mostly in the country, they are apparently excellent for working outdoors due to their good insulation properties and strength (the Dutch version of safety boots). Best worn in winter with thick socks and in summer with thin socks. They take a bit of getting used to but apparently very comfortable when you do get used to them. ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam December 14th 2016

8:15 am - conditions worse than day 1 (until about 1.00 pm). Out early to catch canal cruise around to Hard Rock Cafe. Arrived there about 11.00 am - Bruce did his usual shopping for pins, T-Shirts, etc. Thankfully this time no 1kg tankards! Lunch was the usual Hard Rock fare (burgers etc). A trip to a Hard Rock Cafe for me would not be the same without a Pina Colada - and it was a good one 😀. After lunch went across to the Museum area - Bruce soaked in some culture in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum and I went to a diamond museum and factory (surprise, surprise). Was very restrained and didn't buy anything but did see a 181 carat rough diamond. How they can be so beautiful when cut is amazing considering ... read more

Europe » Netherlands » North Holland » Amsterdam December 14th 2016

Arrived in Amsterdam to a very grey day with heavy fog and light rain. We we're met at airport and led to our bus like Japanese tourists - following along in a group with tour guide holding up a sign so we could all follow, all while she was continually looking around to check we were all still with her!!! Arrived at hotel at about 10.00am, left bags in room and headed out and have a look around Amsterdam. Bought a Hop On, Hop Off canal cruise only to find that it wouldn't get us to Anne Frank Heis in time for our tour so had to walk anyway! After MANY wrong turns, finally found Anne Frank Heis and spent about an hour going through it - a very reflective and sobering experience! From there we ... read more

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