Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hipolstein, Eckersmuehlen, Leerstetten, and Aquarium Class…

We are heading from Regensburg to Nuremburg and onward via the Main-Danube Canal, leaving behind the Danube River and eventually entering the Main River. This morning we passed through the three deepest locks of the whole trip, the Hipolstein, Eckersmuehlen, and Leerstetten locks, each of which is 25 meters (81 feet) deep. From now on, the deepest lock will be 19 meters and almost all will be seven meters deep or less.

The upcoming lock is Eiobach, a portion of the canal that goes OVER the road. It was, I must say, less than exciting. More exciting was being on the upper deck while going under a bridge where the ship’s bridge was lowered to its lowest position and it was suggested to those of us on the upper deck that we remain seated and facing forward. Why the facing forward suggestion, I don’t know as it is more than a little scary to actually watch as the really, really low bridge approaches. I could have reached up from my seated position and touched the underside of the bridge! Everything on the top of the ship is lowered to its max-low position, even the roof of the sunroom! I’m going to try to get a lowered/normal position comparative photos. It’s just that I have to remember to do that before they raise the sunroom again. I think it’s going to stay down until Frankfort; at least we are not allowed on the portion of the deck that is aft of the bridge. Aren’t you impressed? I know which direction is aft! I even know port from starboard. Our cabin is on the port side of the ship. I’m pretty sure of that.

At least part of our cabin window/door is often above the level of the walls of the smallest lock so we aren’t usually in the dark from the lock walls towering above us—except this morning when the walls were looming far, far above us! But Kathy & Ken and Greg & Yolanda are in what Kathy is calling Aquarium Class where the water is often lapping just under their window!
Randy, waiting for everybody to get off the ship and start on the tour of Bamburg

After tasting the "green" beer (young beer, not ready for sending to bars, but drinkable)

Where we did the first beer tasting

We tasted three kinds of beer in Bamburg

Where we had sausages and more beer

The large square in Bamburg

The ship had to make a very temporary stop to pick up the beer tasters

Even though it's temporary, they still have to take all the precautions of normal docking

We interrupted the filming of a commercial for the German Red Cross. Note the costume. We have no idea what the story line of the commercial could be. They were NOT happy that our ship docked in the middle of their filming.

This is what a temporary docking looks like. Note the crane that lifted the walkway in place. They have the crane because these temporary dockings are not unusual.

Bamburg street scene

Every town, it seems, has a town square with lots of food shops.

Stephanie was our guide for the walking tour as well as for the beer tasting tour.

What gorgeous foods are available

Kathy is not having any fun at all!

OK, try to straighten this photo!

Kathy and Ken in Bamburg

A building with some relief features

The Bamburg Cathedral. ABC. Another Bloody Church.

Ken, Greg, Kathy studying the cathedral. Kathy had done so much homework she could have been a guide!

The tomb of Emperor Henry II and Empress Cunigund, the only emperor/ess to be canonized

Probably the 11th century Hungarian king Stephen I, but nobody really knows who it is.

Beautiful organ in the Cathedral

One of the stations of the cross in the cathedral

Clement II died after only a year of popeness and wanted to be buried in Bamberg Cathedral. It is the site of the only papal burial outside of Italy and France. He was exhumed recently and it was discovered that he was actually murdered.

Kathy and Ken outside the cathedral

Beautiful door in the cathedral

Panorama of Bamburg

View from one of the many bridges in Bamburg

Randy and, guess what? Another beer!

Greg trying to intrude on a formal portrait of Randy.

This has been entered for the Guinness Book of Records

Our guide and Yolanda in Nuremburg (or Nurmburg or Nurnburg or other spellings)

Kathy and Ken went on another tour, the WWII tour, we were on the Nuremburg City tour

The castle in Nuremburg

Just a pretty courtyard

An homage to Albrecht Durer

Such beautiful places to eat and drink!

Randy and Greg at an eating establishment

Yolanda moving the brass ring on the fountain. There's a story to the ring that's too long to tell here.

Yolanda, Patsy, Jim, and Greg. Patsy is the person who wrote a poem to me on my birthday. You can read it in this

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hatches, matches, and dispatches...

Yesterday we were in Dürnstein and yesterday was my birthday.

One of the many picturesque doorways/streets/houses/etc in Durnstein

And picturesque gates, too.

The ferry to the other side of the Danube

Greg & Kathy in the courtyard of a small inn.

The local cemetery and Randy (red shirt) with Paul and Jim, husbands of Patsy and Susan, about whom there will be more later.

Yolanda at the gate into the cemetery

These are the bones (yuck!) of people who died in town but couldn't be buried in the picturesque graves.

Randy and a view of Durnstein and it's ruined castle on the hill. Richard the Lionhearted was held here for ransom oh so many years ago.

Our boat and one other, the Amalyra plus another docked nearby made about 500 tourists in town.

I don’t know which of those was better. Well, yes, actually I do—it was my birthday!

The best part was dinner! I got the obligatory cake (deliciously decadent, so I’m told, I didn’t have any) from the ship but what was absolutely wonderful is that Susan, a professional opera singer, sang Happy Birthday to me! What a gorgeous voice she has! And Patsy, Susan's and my friend, composed the following little poem for me:
Happy Birthday to Pam, what a pet!
She’ll become a new friend, this I’ll bet.
She’s as nice as can be,
Shares her drinks with me free,
And she owns a brand new red Corvette!
On your birthday just let me be frank
And I hope I’m not turning your crank;
I think you’re just swell,
Family, husband as well,
You’re really a great gal for a Yank!
Last night you shared the last of your brandy,
And for that I think you’re just dandy.
Trading room cards was fun,
We had each other on the run
But next time make sure I get Randy!
For your birthday, advice is my best,
Just be happy and here is the rest.
Drink wine when you thirst,
Laugh and love till you burst
And your whole life will truly be blessed!

Patsy and Susan are Canadians who seem to accept Americans as almost equals and they, but especially Patsy, are a real kick!

All in all, a wonderful day, perhaps the best birthday ever.
All of us in our "It's a Ryan thing; You wouldn't understand" shirts. I think everybody on the ship knows us. Certainly after the serenade and the poem last night they do!

L-R, Patsy reading her poem to me, Jim (Patsy's husband), me, Paul, and the wonderful singer, Susan.
My cake. As if you couldn't tell!

The weather has changed to rain so that’s not good but yesterday was (mostly) beautiful sailing up the Danube toward Germany. The captain warned us to expect a small bump as we transited from Austria to Germany. I’ve lost track of the locks as we go through some in the middle of the night but I think we still have about 58 to go until Amsterdam.

Just one picturesque sight after another.

And one ruined castle after another.

Have I mentioned picturesque villages before?

Impossible to see on the photo, but this ferry has no power. It is attached to a guy wire across the river and the power of the current pulls it across and back without an engine or motor of any kind.

What a tough life. We are having to wait for Ferris to bring us our drinks. The drink of the day is a Seabreeze.

You've heard of dancing around a Maypole, well, here's the Maypole.

Yet another---ABC

One of our friends deliberately running in front of the photo I was trying to take.

This is what I was trying to take a photo of, Kathy & Ken

Last year's flood was well above the top line on this marker on the white house.

You want me to build a castle WHERE? That will be extra!

Up THERE? Seriously?

Kathy and Ken doing selfies in the Piano Bar.
Tamas (the Cruise Director, from Hungary) told us that yesterday was just a taste of what was to come in the way of castles. Soon we’ll be seeing two to four castles per mile. ABC: Another Bloody Castle/Church/Cathedral is becoming our mantra.

There are rabbits on the roof of this church for no discernible reason.
Seven rabbits. Nobody has any idea why.
 Today, however, is miserable. We’re in Passau, it is cold (13C/54F), rainy, and the river is rising (although we are still able to get under the bridges, thank goodness). Everybody in my family except me is out and about in the rain. I’d like to go but am not feeling really great and figured that getting cold and wet is probably not the wisest thing to be doing!

Tomorrow will be better. I hope. Maybe.

Oh, yes, Hatches, matches, and dispatches: those are the only times our Australian friend, Derek, wears a suit. Therefore, no suits for him on this cruise!