Friday, May 30, 2014

Nuremberg - May 30

I have been titling my daily posts to include "Day #" but I really think I'm getting out of order so I think I'll switch to the day of the week.  Especially because we had days in London before the cruise, and will have days in Amsterdam after the cruise.  So there.

Today was a late wake up - we were travelling through lots of tall locks and under many low bridges (the bridges are the reason the sun deck is closed until Frankfurt) but we've been able to enjoy the break in the weather by sitting up in the lower sun deck, in the biting wind (and I do mean 'biting' brrr it's cold).

Nuremberg (spelled Nurnberg alternatively) dock is far from town so the daily tours start on a bus with the guide - our bus ride into town took about 20 minutes.  We got to see the worlds largest red metal chair sculpture. (on the other side of the bus from me) and we were able to drive by the worlds prettiest cemetery (also on the other side of the bus but I managed a few photos) between our tours of the Nazi Rally Grounds, the coliseum, the Documentation Center Museum and Courtroom 600 (of the Nuremberg trials) - during our WWII tour.

At dinner we talked with a number of other couples that took the Nuremberg City tour, and while they liked it, they all seemed to wish they had gone on our tour.  For me, I wish that we'd had at least 15 minutes of free time in the Old City Center in Nuremberg, but alas, we weren't able to do that.  So while the other tour group got to have free time to sample the local variety of beer and sausage and do some shopping, we were not able to do so.  But our guide (Art) was wonderful!!!!  So I think he's made up for that lack.  I do recommend the WWII tour, if you're at all interested - but note that it isn't what I'd think of as a 'war tour' in that fighting was barely mentioned (I mean, besides the fact that 90% of Nuremberg was bombed and destroyed) so it isn't about battles per se.  It is more about Hitler and what he and his people did.

The sun came out when we got out of the Documentation Museum, and we were on our way back to the ship.  Back on the ship we were treated to an OmmPaaPaa band (4 gentlemen in appropriate attire) who play really well.  They played for about an hour.  Then it was time for dinner.  Sunset tonight was gorgeous.

Leaving the last of the tall locks - we used to be up at the top of that contraption!

About to go under this bridge - I did take a video which I'll post on YouTube when I get a chance

Turned the camera around (we're not allowed to face backwards) and you can see the captain sticking his head out of the lowered command center (bridge)

The only place I know of where a river goes OVER a road - not because the road is in a tunnel, but because the river is in a bridge!

The coliseum (Congress Hall) - as reflected in the lake.  The coliseum is 60% complete - should have been 40% taller but it wasn't finished 

an unusual (to me) duck

Zeppelin Field - this was completed, but the columns were blown up, as was the gold swastika, and the rest left in ruins on purpose 

Our guide is holding up a photograph of what it looked like before it was partially destroyed

These were all around the grounds in a ring, they had 6 poles on top of each with banners flying and spotlights shining upwards.  When the lights were on they shone 5 miles up (a feat, considering that was 70 years ago) and the desired effect was awe inspiring.

The inside of the coliseum

Gives me chills, and not the good type

The side of the coliseum, where the Documentation Center Museum is housed - entrance is on the left up a funky staircase

Courtroom 600 where the Nuremberg trials were held - and since it's in Bavaria, not Germany (you would have to have been on the tour to get the humor - it's sort of an inside joke that is the truth) they do not have separation of church and state so the cross is allowed (though if you are on trial and you are offended by it they will cover it with a cloth, the guide said)

Our quick drive around old Nuremberg included slowing down at St John's cemetery, the rose cemetery - most beautiful in the world (and I believe it).  It started as a leper colony.

The only street in Nuremberg that remains after the bombing - note the half timbered buildings

The Omm Paa Paa band (they liked their beer)

Standing on the front of the ship with Ken, enjoying the sunset

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Engelhartszell Aquarium and Abbey (found some photos)

I was just going through my photos and realized that I was missing a bunch of them.  Turns out my camera is still set to Pacific time so it put almost all my photos of Engelhartszell in the previous day's folder.  It was late when I was writing up that posting, so now that I've got not much to do but cruise through a bunch of locks I figured it was a good time to organize the room (we've been busy non stop since we got on the ship) and to organize my photos.

Thus I realized that while I mentioned Harry, I didn't show you photos of him/her.  Or the Abbey, or some of the other Engelhartszell activities.

Engelhartszell Police Station....glad I was just walking by and not visiting inside

The Abbey - Stift Engelszell

Inside is beautiful, it has two styles of painting

This Abbey also had what I found out are saints.  They were buried here (is it still being buried when you're in a clear coffin above ground?  I'm serious.  I don't know what to call it, truly) a long time ago

Not too often you see 20th century art on the ceiling of a church - this is in the cubist style

Here's more the traditional style

The herb garden that is used for the brewery

A nice little park that is about the Danube River Valley

9 meter long "Harry" the Sturgeon

The real thing - this is the 6ft long Harry

Here's Ken checking out the types of fish that are found in the Danube - he truly enjoyed this aquarium (as did I)

A real German Brown Trout....ok, it's a photo, but still, we're in Germany...

Picturesque view of the valley as seen from the Abbey

We're walking through the park, about to pass the 9 meter long Sturgeon

Ken enjoying the first of the two beers included in the tasting

I enjoyed the first of the two beers too.  Not the second.  That was one Greg and Ken liked though.

We all had a good time

They gave us a sample of cheeses (yummy 'stinky cheese') and Magenbitter - the guide said it would make you feel better when you were sick.  You'd drink it and either feel better, or throw it up and then you'd feel better too. So it was a win/win!  :-)  We haven't tried it yet - I think we'll have some good tastings once we reach Amsterdam and drink all the things we've purchased so far!

Regensburg - Day 5

Last night after dinner there was a local entertainer on board - played 'favourites' on his guitar.  Good voice, was able to sing German, Australian and American songs upon request.  Quite nice, and as the evening progressed you could tell people were feeling looser...more dancing (including Ken and me).

The tour Ken and I signed up for in Regensburg was cancelled, not enough people signed up.  Crushing, because it was a beer tour.  Poor Ken.  But we made do...the suffering....we slept in a bit and I had the light breakfast in the Piano Bar (fruit, a roll with honey and a glass of OJ).  I think I'm coming down with whatever 'crud' Ken has.  Nothing bad, just that neither of us are 100% (we're probably just 90%).  That and the rain, which also isn't anything bad.  Mostly just enough to either have the jacket hood up, or use the free umbrellas or my trusty 'Robin' hat.  (Thanks again Robin, it's been wonderful to have)

We opted to have our own walk around town today, rather than the guided tour.  All the shops are closed today.  It's Ascension Day today May 29th.  We were told that there is a special service going on that they are expecting 20,000 people for (Mom and Dad sat with a visiting priest who said 50,000), so they can't do the services in town in the Cathedral of St Peter, instead they have to do it out of town in a coliseum/stadium because it is so popular.  So again, not so many people in town.  There are quite a few ships, though not as many as Passau and the river is narrower here so there is no double parking.

Walking across the Old Stone Bridge (Steinerne Brucke)

The bridge supports (pylons?) look like a ship's prow.  

Here's a section of the bridge not yet under repair, see the bridge supports...

Too bad the sky is grey, the water reflection would have been extra cool if it weren't raining, too.  But still gorgeous!

Since we didn't go on the guided tour I just knew that this was an important statue, I just looked it up and found out it's Bruckmandl - a mostly naked boy shielding his eyes from the sun, at the highest point on the bridge, and is said to symbolize the city's freedoms and its emancipation from the control  of the Bishop.  I'm happy that I read about it before, so when I saw it I was able to recognize it as something special.  The benefits of my pre-research, I guess!

Selfie on the Old Stone Bridge

Looked up a street and noticed some art on the wall ahead

David and Goliath - notice he's resting his arm on the window!

Cathedral of St Peter (Dom St Peter)

And Ken noticed this guy - we still aren't sure if it's a cow...

And I'm glad my horse isn't ugly like this poor creature

Ludvig I - Koning von Bayern (Yolanda translated that to King of Bayern, a province in Germany)
Not sure what this is - an old city wall or just a cool stone covered archway, but it looked neat.  And yep, that's Ken.

The Old Stone Bridge is going through a major renovation that'll take a few more years to complete

The Historic Sausage Kitchen (Historische Wurstkuchl) - I've heard it's Germany's oldest sausage house

We couldn't read the menu (turns out they have an english menu but we just pointed to the plate next to us - the  universal language and ordered exactly what they had.  Then we started talking to the couple, they're from Portland, Oregon travelling on their 35th anniversary.  Very nice.  

Yep, that's me drinking a dark beer!  When we placed the order we'd just asked for what the people next to us had - 10 sausages (bratwurst) mit sauerkraut, two beers and they had a giant basket of crusty rolls - when we paid after our meal they ask you how many rolls you had (we had 2) and they charge accordingly.  We paid 23euro for our meal.  

And you can tell we enjoyed our meal (oh, and when the waitress tried to take my beer glass away I grabbed it back - I wasn't finished with it and it was yummy!

That's Ken sitting with his back to the camera to the left of the door - our two umbrellas are hanging on the window sill and the doorway is into the kitchen (the earlier photo).  They had about 6 tables under an awning so we were able to sit out of the rain.  Additional 10 tables outside for nicer weather.

View of the building from the other side.  It's the small greenish building in front - very small, you'd miss it if yo blinked.

Toni and Bob - this is the day-cruise for you - a Swarovski crystal decorated ship.  They have a couple of them, very sparkly!

Map of Regensburg - but I bet you can figure that out on your own, huh?

Another selfie - with the River Princess in the background.  it's raining, still, but lightly

I like the decoration on the front of the ship

As we were sailing away we noticed this blue sign on the shore - we'd seen it on our way in also - we figured out it's the 'flip a bitch' location - where the ships all make u-turns!

At this point now, we're on our way to Nuremberg next.  The Sun deck is closed until Frankfurt due to low bridges.  We'll be hanging out in the Piano Bar a lot, I think!  Again, the suffering.  I don't know how we will manage.