Ship Under Attack!

Terror is filling the halls of the boat. Who will be next? Many have succumbed and have not been seen for several days. You are asking what has happened? Germs have come on board and are lurking everywhere. It has gotten so bad that after the walking tour of Miltenburg, there was another type of tour arranged. One to the doctor. The diagnosis for many was bronchitis. So we wash our hands a bit more often, use the sanitizer spray, limit the touching railings, and avoid areas of congregating people who are coughing. There are only a few days left, surely we will not be hit by any illness.

Miltenburg is a lovely medival town. Many of the houses are built right into the side of a mountain. There is only one street through the old part of town. I will let the pictures do my talking today (hopefully they will come through). One thing to note is the amount of wood used on these half-timber homes. This is an indication of the owner’s wealth.

Here I am at the finish line! I have only missed one day and that was due to no internet connection. What a sense of accomplishment I feel! Thank you to Ruth for writing the posts that said why don’t you take the challenge. I think I will continue with the Tuesday slices and I hope to continue to read and learn about the lives of the fellow slicers, you will be learning about mine.

Glimpse into the Galley

The tour of the galley opened the eyes of the passengers. The space is so small to create so much food. Every night we have a small plate appetizer, a soup, a salad, an entree, and a dessert. The table is set with two types of bread, some type of tapenade or creamy cheesy spread, herb butter, plain butter, lemon flavored olive oil, and basalmic vinegar. Two choices for soup: one a broth base, the other a cream base. Three choices for entrees: a meat, a fish, a vegetarian (plus there are two additional choices available as stand-bys). Four choices for dessert course: two different desserts (one usually involves ice cream), a cheese plate, or a fruit plate. There are 120 “starving ” passengers eager for their dinner. How the staff can take orders and deliver the food in a timely matter is a miracle. Once the food service starts the wait staff are in constant motion. Clearing plates from tables, serving the next course, pouring wine or water, “What else can I get you?” There is no rest during the dinner time.

When we get home, dinner will be a much simpler affair, but it will be nice to have memories of being treated like royalty.

Sous chef explains hot and cold preparation

Only 6 burners on this stove

Locks on the River and Canals

The lock system on the rivers and canal is quite impressive. However, it can be aggravating to someone on the internet. The aggravation comes when the boat enters the lock, the satellite internet connection is lost due to the concrete walls surrounding the boat. Once you are out you hope for the best and try to get work done before the next interruption.

Approaching the lock

We will be traveling through sixty-eight locks as we travel from Budapest to Amsterdam. Thankfully many of them are at night. These locks are necessary because there is an elevation change of about 1,000 feet as we travel from the Danube to the Main to the Rhine River. Some of the locks are small and we can get in and out quickly. Others are quite large and it is at least a 20 minute process.

Slowly we sink.

As we move into a lock, the boat jostles a bit. Thump, thud, as we bump into the sides (these are usually the locks when we go down). Sometimes we glide into position effortlessly, then you wouldn’t even know we were in a lock until the light disappears as we sink down. The concrete walls glisten as we slowly sink. Before the lock master opens the gates the dripping water sounds like a shower being turned off. The gates open and we glide through.

Gates open, we slide through.

There was one point where the canal was above the road. It was a very bizarre feeling to be floating over the highway below. It was like a giant water tube you might see at a water park. My only thought was I hope they don’t have earthquakes around here.

Not only is the scenery beautiful, but I marvel at the ingenuity of the engineering done by those who have created the lock system.

Bamberg

 

Old city hall

Bamberg is an old medieval city that has been declared a  UNESCO World Heritage Site. In German the building to the left is Altes Rathaus (city hall). I wonder about the word rathaus, is that a commentary on the officials who work in city hall? Hmmmm . . . .

 This building was built in 1440, enlarged in 1668 and the frescoes were added in the 1700s. It is no longer city hall, it holds a collection of porcelain.

The fresco has an unusual feature. One of the cherub figure’s leg was fashioned out of plaster. The purpose of the 3-D was to draw the observer’s eye to the figure and follow his finger, which points to a sign advertising the painter of the fresco.

Check out the leg!

I find these little stories amazing. We don’t really think about humor of the people long ago. They were quite creative in their subtle way. I appreciate learning these little details that bring the world from centuries ago into my world.

City hall is on an island.

Nuremberg and a Birthday

 

Nuremburg appears to be a large industrial city. The colors of the previous city are not as evident in Nuremburg (at least not in the section we visited). After a quick bus tour of the city wall, moats, and towers we were left on our own in the market square.

Boxes of color attracted the people like magnets to each stand. The flower stands had masses of primroses, pansies, jonquils, tulips, pussy willows, and so much more. The fruit & vegetable stands brilliant colors drew you in just to see if it was real, it was so vivid. Many shades of red were at the sausage booth. But the gingerbread stand had the longest lines. The cookies were soft and chewy, with a hint of citrus peel. These are not the gingerbread cookies we make at home (these are so much better!). We bought cookies (after trying samples), then we searched for a coffee spot to enjoy the cookie in some warmth.

The highlight of the day however, was not in the city, it was at dinner. Another birthday celebration with lots of silliness, for today was Phillip’s 45th birthday. It is unlikely he will have another birthday, he has a brain tumor. He has been battling this for two years and now the tumor is winning. Our group decided to make it a birthday to remember. Arrangements were made with the chef to create a special Indonesian meal just for our table. It was fabulous! Flowers were bought at the market to brighten the table. There will be a smile when anyone remembers this birthday.

cast of characters from the birthday

Regensburg, a bit of Bavaria

 When you think of Bavaria, what comes to mind? I see the blue and white diamonds of the Bavarian flag fluttering in the breeze. But mostly, I think of beer, brats, and big pretzels. All three were present and accounted for today.

Traditional way of serving brats

However, I now have another sight to associate with Bavaria. Dogs, they accompany their masters everywhere! Usually it is not just one dog but two dogs. They may be of the same breed or two totally different breeds. These dogs have better manners than most of the masters. They are patient, eyes on the master.

"Mama, when will we go home?"

I found it unusual to be sitting at the outside tables of a restaurant and people strolled through with their four legged friends. One couple decided to have a bite to eat, so they pulled out the pad for the two Rhodesian Ridgebacks to sit upon. The dogs immediately sat politely, surveying their immediate surroundings.  I’m sure they were hoping for a bite, which they got from a tourist sitting nearby.

"Can you spare a bite?"

I wonder . . .  how long does it take to train your dog(s) to sit quietly under or beside a table in a restaurant? My dog never figured it out at home in the kitchen. I can’t imagine what she would do in public.

Full Day!

It’s been an incredibly full day and I am soooo tired. So for today you get quick takes on the day’s happenings. Sound of Music was top of the list as we headed to Salzburg for the day. Here’s what happened:

  • Boat dropped us in Linz, Austria (boarded a bus for Salzburg)

    The church from wedding of Sound of Music

  • Stopped at Mondsee to visit the church where Julie Andrews married Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music movie (not really where Maria married the Baron)
  • Learned true facts on the Von Trapp family
  • Arrived in Salzburg and had a walking tour of old town
  • Saw Mozart’s birthplace
  • Had a sausage from the market for lunch
  • High school choir and symphony from Vancouver performed in Dom du Salzburg (the cathedral; absolutely marvelous!)
  • Some free time for shopping (bought a scarf)
  • Met the guide to head back to the bus
  • 2 hour bus ride to meet boat in Passau
  • Saw church where Silent Night was first performed
  • Arrived at the boat and walked around
  • Celebrated Kath’s birthday at dinner
  • Listened to an electric violin performer
  • Learned the Penguin dance from an Aussie
  • Collapsed
  • Wrote blog entry

Good night!

birthday girl is on the curtains side

Scenic Cruising

 

For two hours we scenic cruised the Wachau Valley  between Durnstein and Melk (in Austria). Those unafraid of the elements gathered on the sky deck of the boat. At the bow, you will find the sturdiest souls, braving the wind but having the best view. The rear of the deck was also quite windy, however in the center you can reap the benefits of being outside, glorious sunshine with a bit of a windbreak surrounding you. Hot spiced wine is served to keep the chill away.

Immediately you can see the serious sightseers, they have the high powered binoculars to their eyes, scanning for that tiniest detail the naked eye cannot see. Cameras are everywhere, around the neck, in the hand, on the tables. Visual memories will be preserved.

The resident tour guide is giving a narration of history, land features, and quick German lessons. Truth be told, he does drone on and on at times which leads to small pockets of conversation as the narration continues.

I can tell that lunch preparations have begun two levels below. The smells from the kitchen are wafting over us as we

watch the scenery floating by. What do you think we will be

Scenic cruising from sky deck

having? Something smells spicy, like sausages, maybe there is a hint of onions and peppers. Now they have turned on the deep fryers for the chips (say the Aussies, do you mean French fries?). The smells are calling us in and it is noon, so the dining room is open. It is time to leave the sky deck and the endless talking.

What we are viewing

Watching Life Move

 Ahh, Vienna, a city of cafes, cappuccinos, and concerts, I could write about each of them, but today I will focus a little slice of life in the slow lane.

After a panorama bus tour and walking tour of District 1 in Vienna, we return to the boat to rest and relax this afternoon before heading out to the Strauss concert tonight. I sat on the sky deck watching the life moving past, jotting notes in my notebook so I won’t forget the details.

Some of the locals slow their step to gaze upon this boat, curious about the people inside. Couples walk arm in arm or side by side with arms clasped behind their backs. Coats are buttoned up or flopping open with the breeze. Steps are slow, determined to complete this exercise or casual strolling. Joggers’ feet thump, thump as they move past the boat. Two styles of bikers emerge. One is out for exercise, they are dressed in biking clothes. They are a blur as they pedal by the boat, eyes straight ahead.  The other uses the bike for transportation, they will be dressed to continue life when they have reached their destination. They roll along, taking in the sights on their journey.

Now I spot a walker I recognize, it is my husband. He is moving quickly, arms are swinging at his side. “Slow down, take a picture of me,” I call out from the sky deck. He does, now you see my view of the life from the slow lane.

Hot Chocolate in Bratislava

Lovely, beautiful, gorgeous are words that can describe: flowers, paintings, people, clothing and many other items too numberous to list. Would you use them to describe food?  Specifically, hot chocolate? I don’t think I ever have, but in Australia they do.  More on this in a bit.

We have developed a friendship with four Australians. It feels as though we have known them forever, not just 3 days. How can this be? There is Sue, retired pharmicist who is traveling with mum, Yvonne. They are from Perth. Kath and Nahrell are good friends who are from a totally different area of Australia. These four did not know each other before this trip, but you would think they were best buds by their behavior.

Although it was a sunny day, it was crisp. We had a walking tour in old town Bratislava that left us feeling a bit of a chill. So, what will warm the soul and bones? Hot chocolate! The guide recommended a shop, it would only be 2 euros for a cup. Sounds like a deal!

It was lovely! It was beautiful! It was gorgeous! Creamy dark chocolate, the consistency of  freshly cooked pudding. Warm. Yum!!!

hot chocolate

 

 I think I will be using the Aussies’ vocabulary to describe food. It is lovely! It is beautiful! It is gorgeous!! Or should I say was?