Saturday, April 18, 2015

Europe Tour - Part 2 - River Cruise - Budapest to Amsterdam

Budapest to Amsterdam - 13 – 26 of March 2014

Compiled in March 2015
This is our travel experience and our first Europe tour by river cruise, visited different places each day. It was a wonderful experience, we both enjoyed it. Hope you too will enjoy reading it.
The cruise ship departed from Budapest on the 13th March late in the afternoon sailing through the Slovak Republic, Austria and stopped at Vienna. The ship was expected to arrive in there by the afternoon on the following day.
The ship is approximately 146m long and the width slightly smaller than the “LOCK”. Definition of Lock can be viewed here:
It’s big enough considering she has to meet with all the standard regulations for a river’s ship to sail in the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. She has 3 floor levels, a big room for entertainment centre and a bar on the second floor; a dining room and Portobello restaurant on the third floor. The ship can accommodate up to 164 passengers, the cabin passengers are also situated on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor.  
All foods, drinks, nibbles, dinner, buses, tour guides, entry fees into tourist attractions and access to internet (WIFI) are provided as part of the tour package; hence basically no need to spend extra cost except for personal needs i.e. body massage, laundry, ironing and medical attentions. There is also a gym that is available anytime for free.
At around 6pm local time we all gathered at the Entertainment Hall as requested by the tour director for a briefing called “Daily Port Talk” and also for individuals to make a selection of preferred tours for the next day if there’re multiple choices. It’s not possible to pick 2 choices because the tours start at the same time, hence it’s important to attend the briefing. Following the briefing normally a dinner held at the floor above (third floor), after dinner we can go back to cabin room to have a rest or to the Entertainment Hall for more fun. Those activities became regular or routine exercise during our trip.
Today was Thursday, 13rd March, it’s the second night being on board; we’re looking forward to a nice dinner again tonight as it was on the night before. Also we’re starting to make friends with some fellow passengers in this second day of the tour in particular with 2 couples from Canada and one couple from Queensland – Australia.
Friday, 14th March 2014 – Vienna (Austria)
The ship arrived in Vienna at about 6pm local time, and our tour start at 7pm. Austria Dinner Buffet has been prepared and ready by 5.15pm for all of us, hence we can enjoy a night tour without feeling hungry. It was well planned, and all running very smoothly.
That night we went to Lichtenstein City Palace in Vienna and then watched the concert in one of the concert hall in that palace. We had no idea about the palace and the concert, however the tour director gave assurance that we will enjoy the night.
The temperature outside was a bit chilly, Anna, my wife, and I need to cover ourselves appropriately to feel warm. The palace is just beautiful; we were greeted by the host with the champagne nicely flowing to everyone's glass. We walked around the palace starting on the first floor and then to second floor. The interior painting including painting on the ceiling and the decorations are beautiful, there’re also gold plated horse wagon on display. It seems this place was owned by a very wealthy family, and this Summer Palace or City Palace is one of their 2 palaces owned by the family. The other one is called the Garden Palace.  Here is the more info about the palaces:
The concert was supported by the beautiful concert hall. It was very nice evening, it seems all were happy and satisfied. At around 9pm the tour concluded and were all transferred back to the cruise ship.
I took some pictures and here are some of them, please note the date & time on the photos are still at Western Australia time zone. I forgot to change it. 

Picture 1: Lichtenstein City Palace
 Picture 2: One of the Ceiling Paintings
Picture 3: In front of the Gold Plated Horse Wagon
Picture 4: At the Concert Hall

Saturday, 15th March 2015 – Bratislava (Slovakia) and Vienna (Austria)
Today the ship anchored at Vienna, later tonight the ship set sail to the next destination. The programme for today was 3 choices which are:
1. Schoenbrunn Palace & Vienna
2. Spanish Horse Riding School, and
3. City Tour of Bratislava and Vienna.
After breakfast we’re set to go. We chose Bratislava a capital city of Slovakia. The buses lined up already for us all to hop in, at 8am the 2 buses left for Bratislava. I can’t remember what time we arrived at Bratislava, but I don’t think it took more than two hours to get there. Still a bit early when we got there, the shops and café/restaurant just started to open and some still arranging the seats. We start gathering in the city square, group 1 and group 2 with a tour guide in each group. The area that we’re in is an old city/town; this can be distinguished by old buildings wherever we walked around.
The tour was planned to be concluded by 1.45pm and off to city of Vienna. Later after tour by group finished we wander around ourselves to get glimpses of the town of Bratislava as much as we can.  

Picture 5: At the town square 
Picture 6: Still at the town square

Picture 7: The bronze statue of the Napoleon's soldier (1805-1809) who fell in love with the Slovakia women, he did not want to return to France instead he stayed and worked hard to have enough money to marry the women. He’s became a famous wine producer in Bratislava.

Picture 8: View of another corner of the city of Bratislava 

Picture 9: Panorama in part of the Bratislava city 

Picture 10: At the background is the building of The Slovak Philharmonic (Slovenská filharmónia), a famous symphony orchestra of Slovakia


At 1.45pm we all walked back to the town square of Bratislava ready to go to the bus and back to Vienna, however some still enjoying themselves looking around at the beautiful city. We wait for a few minutes before the buses head off to Vienna. We had light lunch in the bus and by 3.30pm we’re at Vienna.
So without wasting our time we went off and got lost in the city of Vienna. Unfortunately the weather was not in favour of us all, it was wet, windy and cold. We have no choice but keep going walking while we have time for it, because we need to go back to the ship by 6pm.
The city is pretty and beautiful, we walked around in the central area at city square and St Stephen’s Cathedral. The Cathedral itself is huge and look very old but still beautiful. According the information, this Cathedral was built in the 12 century on the top of the previous church building and on that time Austria was still part of Germany. The link below is more about the St Stephen’s Cathedral. So yes it is old.
We didn’t go inside to have a look due to the limited time we had, instead we continue walking to explore the area with the brollie (umbrella) in hand ready to be used.….Vienna…..

Picture 11: City Centre – it was a wet day and cold
Picture 12: City Centre – preparing for night life 

Picture 13: The St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the city centre
Picture 14: Another interesting building in the city centre
Picture 15: There are horse wagons to hire at the city, they are line up nicely just outside the St Stephen’s Cathedral 

Although we only had a short period of time to wander in this city centre and despite weather problems, we managed to enjoy ourselves. However we also had a little drama here.
We went to the souvenirs shop, we noticed the shop was just pack of people; but anyway Anna managed to choose items she wanted i.e. ceramic & metal bells and also key rings. She collects bells from every country we visited. It’s time to pay and so she line up in the queue, at her turn she tried with her credit card (we didn’t have cash) and it was declined. Tried again couple of time and still didn’t work, using my credit card also produced the same problem. The shop attendant seems didn’t have much experience with that situation and we also not sure why our CC didn’t work. Farrrrr out….we just didn’t have time to come back and get these bells from Vienna because the ship sail away tonight. While we’re at the ‘unsure what to do’ situation, someone called my wife “Anna….I have cash, you can borrow it if you like”…..   Oohhh….angel's voice…we’re so thankful to her for helping us, she's Roberta our new friend from Canada as I mentioned earlier.

Anna was not settled yet about our CC problem, while we walk back to the bus she tried to use it at the cash machine (ATM) we’ve found and it did work. So she drew some cash as a backup in case the similar situation happens again.
Back on the ship, at the Daily Port Talk tonight our Cruise Director said plan for tomorrow were self-guided tour of Durnstein and then ride a bike to Melk. The weather forecast reported still cloudy, not raining, a bit windy and changeable, that was information that he gave to us all.

Sunday, 16th March 2014 – Durnstein & Melk - Austria

At 8.15am we started exploring a small town of Durnstein situated at the bank of the Danube River. I am not sure the total population here, it wasn’t big but certainly this is an old town. They kept the original buildings, the cobblestone paved road and the fencing; very interesting. In this town there is a church with the blue wall painting on her bell tower. It’s a unique colour like no other. I think only this church that has this colour, I didn’t see any other church that have blue colour until we finished our tour.
Of course this in not a big church but the inside is spectacular. Few of us have a chance to go inside the church, and admired by the detail and the beauty of everything inside.

Picture 16: Durnstein village with the Durnstein Castle on the top of the hill

Picture 17: Inside the Durnstein Church (16 March 2014)

Picture 18: One of the village road, there are lot of souvenir shops in this alley, still quite in Sunday morning (16 March 2014)

The wind was a bit strong that morning, but luckily no rain. So after about 2 hours walking and covered as much object as we could we head back to the ship, not sure if Anna managed to buy Durnstein bells; it's too early for Sunday. J J
The bike ride program to Melk (the next town) was cancelled due to the strong wind, instead the ship sailed to Melk. Hence we stay on board and went to the sun deck to enjoy the panorama view along the Wachau valley. At about 2pm we arrived at Melk and so we all heading to Abbey of Melk.
Melk is not a big town; total population approximately 5000 – 6000, but what make this village special is the Melk Abbey belong to Benedictine Monastery. The building sits on top of the hill along the Danube River, with baroque style architecture. The building is so beautiful, the inside is amazing. The columns/pillars to support the roof structures and the painting is so spectacular. Hope the pictures taken below speak more than what I wanted to say.

Picture 19: Few detail in the Monastery

Picture 20: The compound of Melk Abbey, we’re walking toward the Monastery building (16 March 2014)
Picture 21: The above picture taken from behind while we walked toward the ship
Picture 22: The photo is courtesy of "Stift melk 001 2004" by Walter Hochauer - Own work via Wikipedia

Picture 23a: View at the town of Melk

That was the program for today the 16 of March, in addition we managed to have a single photo shot with our new friends.

Picture 23b: With our new friends

Monday, 17th March 2014 – Salzburg - Austria

Today there’re 2 choices of tour: a day tour to Salzburg and the other one was a day tour to Cesky Krumlov (Czechoslovakia). We chose Salzburg, because Anna wanted to see the scenery and the shooting location of the movie 'Sound of Music'.
Also later this evening our little group had dinner at the Portobello Restaurant, this was coincides with St Patrick Day. We know that one of our ladies in our group is Irish, so yesterday I asked the chef/restaurant manager if they can accommodate this occasion at the dinner time. They said they will try ….finger cross J J
The ship needs to stay at Linz/Aschach – Austria to re-stock hence the bus took us to Salzburg, two buses for Salzburg and another 2 buses for Cesky Krumlov. Both groups then travelled to Passau at the conclusion of the tour and the ship waited for us at Passau.
At 8 o’clock sharp, the bus left the city of Linz for Salzburg. The scenery along the way was very nice, saw the mountains, lakes and the very green panorama. In the bus our tour guide distributed a song lyric of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” as was sung by Rolf and Liesl in the Sound of Music movie. So we sang that song together:
               You are sixteen going on seventeen
               Baby, it’s time to think
               Better be ware, be canny and careful
               Baby, you’re on the brink

At about 10.30am we arrived at Schloss Hellbrunn – “Sound of Music Pavilion”. We had half an hour at this pavilion to see the gazebo where Rolf and Liesl used to perform and sang that above song.

Picture 24: The Gazebo used in the Sound of Music movie & “rusty couple Rolf & Liesl”

When everyone was ready the buses left Schloss Hellbrunn for Salzburg City. We got to the city at around 11.30am, the tour guide brought us to the famous garden called “Mirabell Gardens” followed by lunch at Stiftskeller St. Peter. It was free time after lunch until 15.30 and then the bus took us to Passau.

Mirabell Gardens at the Mirabell Palace was beautiful, according to the information (Wikipedia) several scenes in The Sound of Music were shot here. Maria and the children sang 'Do-Re-Mi' whilst dancing around the horse fountain and using the steps as a musical scale.

Picture 25: The horse fountain – Mirabell Gardens (17 March 2014)

Picture 26: Mirabell Gardens at early Spring time
 Picture 27: "Gardens at the Palace of Mirabell" by Skyguy414 at English Wikipedia

If you have plenty of time, you can enjoy the tour using the hop on hop off bus. I am not sure what’s on offer with this tour, but you can find it easy by visiting the counter.

 Picture 28: Hop on hop off bus in the city of Salzburg

Lunch at Stiftskeller was excellent. The tour guide brought us to the “Stiftskeller St. Petera restaurant within the monastery walls of St. Peter's Archabbey, Salzburg. This restaurant is claimed to be the oldest Inn in Central Europe and also the oldest in the Europe, it was cited and documented in 803AD (

Picture 29: At the veranda of the oldest restaurant in Europe (17 March 2014)
Picture 30: On the way into the restaurant – with the old grave yard next to foot path (17 March 2014)

Is it a bit spooky? Anna said that, but it was interesting being in the old environment which still stands up till today. We can’t believe that we did go to the oldest restaurant that existed in 803AD wow…… The menu was good and the beer also good. The menu was not old though…….. J

Picture 31: "Stiftskeller Salzburg" by Testsieger73 - Own work – (not sure when this picture taken)

After lunch we have free time for approximately one and half hour. So …………. we were already had the “Sound of Music” mood, ……. the next one has to be the Mozart the famous music composer mood and we’re at his birth place here at Salzburg. Without wasting any time Anna and I headed off to the city of Salzburg, a bit unsure at the beginning but here we’re strolling among the crowd in the “Mozart” city. At first we bought Mozart Chocolate Spirit, Mozart Chocolate delicatessen, and of course ceramic & metal bells with embedded photo of Mozart on it. We have bought Mozart music CD records when we were at Vienna.

We continue strolling along the street, windows shopping and enjoy the scenery/panorama in this city as much as possible. We went to the city market, saw a street performer/artist, into the St. Peter Cathedral, and the last one was taking picture with Mr. Wolfgang Mozart full size statue.

Picture 32: Scenery at the river bank

Picture 33: The Padlock Bridge??

Picture 34: The city shopping precinct

Picture 35: Watching the street performer/artist

Picture 36: At the market – A Market Day

Picture 37: With Mr. Wolfgang Mozart Statue

At 15.30 the buses departed for Passau back to the cruise ship, and we can’t wait for the dinner tonight. By 6pm we’re arrived at the ship, oohhh ……. what a day. It was very good tour and we enjoyed every bit of it J J.

Dinner at Portobello Restaurant

After cleaning up we went to the Daily Port Talk to hear about the news & weather and the program for tomorrow. Tonight the ship was leaving Austria sailed to Regensburg – Germany. Sunny and mild wind speed was expected. After finishing my 2nd glass of White Russian we went upstairs to Portobello Fine Dining Restaurant.

The room of the restaurant was separate from the Dining Hall, and from the inside restaurant can’t see other people at Dining Hall and vice versa. I think it has small room for two table of 2 and a bigger room that can accommodate two long table for 8 people each. Anyway we’re all in and ready to experience what the Portobello had to offer.  At first they surprised us with the table set up, it’s mixed with green and St. Patrick Day card, wow wonderful…so we all say greeting to one of our ladies; our Irish lady - Jackie.
Picture 38: St. Patrick Day at Portobello Restaurant

At the table ladies sat down in a row and the boys sat opposite face to face with the ladies. The chances of having dinner in Portobello restaurant only happened once during this tour, because everyone offered the same thing by the cruise ship manager. Anyway the dinner tonight was very nicely presented and delicious, the chef prepared a full dinner very well. They also took us to have a tour in their kitchen….impressive.

Picture 39: Our ladies at Portobello Restaurant

Picture 40: Ladies with the boys at Portobello Restaurant

Tuesday, 18th March 2014 – Regensburg – Bavaria, Germany

There were 2 tour choices available for today, we selected a bike ride tour to the Passage of Walhalla Memorial, the other tour was Walking Tour of Regensburg. We hoped by the time we finished riding, there was still a chance to go to the city of Regensburg. However preparation for the bike ride took a bit longer due to battery on certain bikes was flat and other problem was they needed to change the bikes to suit everyones taste.

I was not sure how long it took to get to the Walhalla Memorial, but when we got there we climbed high up the steps and I was nearly run out of breath and needed a rest. Not sure why the location was chosen here considering it's far from anywhere, but it’s outstanding when you see it from the ship while cruising along the Danube River.

The Walhalla is like a’ hall of fame’ i.e. to honor distinguished, famous scientist, politicians, and artists of the German tongue. The building itself was conceived in 1807 by Prince Ludwig (later become King Ludwig I), the construction finished in 1842.
The cruise ship provide each of us a device and ear plugs for everyone to listen to any information especially from a tour guide, however he, the tour guide, decided not to use it. So when we were at the hall we kept walking back and forth to our tour guide for questions, at the end we just tried to absorb what's in the hall by ourselves. It was worth to visit her though.

Picture 41: The Walhalla Memorial

Picture 42: In the hall - Displays of the famous people with the German tongue

Picture 43: Statue of King Ludwig I

It didn't take long to go back to the ship, so we hurried up ourselves and went to city of Regensburg. We knew that we didn’t had much time, however we’re still able to do some shopping and walked around in the city square. Yes Anna bought a ceramic bell, metal bells and some other stuff.

Picture 44a: Anna and Anna Kaffee in the city of Regensburg 

Picture 44: Walking around in the city of Regensburg

Picture 45: In the city square – Regensburg

Wednesday, 19th March 2014 – Nuremberg – Bavaria, Germany

Nuremberg is the second largest city in the state of Bavaria after Munich, this city is situated at the Pegnitz river and Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. The last one also known as Main – Danube Canal which basically a canal that connects the Danube river and Main river. It’s a very important canal and is also known as Europa Canal. Anyway today we visited the Middle Ages Imperial Castle, had lunch at Heilig-Geist-Spital Restaurant and toured around the city.

The Imperial Castle of Nuremberg or Nuremberg Castle was built sometime in the 11th century when King Conrad III was in power. The city grew rapidly and has been an “unofficial capital” of the Holy Roman Empire ( During the World War II the Castle and its fortresses were undisturbed while other building surrounding the castle were destroyed. The fortress/fortification is very thick and still exists today. The castle itself was known to be one of the Europe's most formidable medieval fortifications -

Picture 46: Entering the Castle passing the fortification wall

Picture 47: Some buildings in the Castle

Picture 48: Another corner of the castle

The next trip to the restaurant for lunch. We went to the Heilig-Geist-Spital not far away from the Imperial Castle. The name translates to the “Hospital/Hospice of the Holy Spirits”. It's an old building and in the past was a hospital taking care of elderly people. The situation of the building is unique i.e. extended to the middle of Pegnitz River. The menu they offered on our visit wasn’t special or extra ordinary, probably the same as to other restaurants. I think is just the character and history of the building that make this restaurant become famous in Nuremberg.

Some of the information said the Hospital of the Holy Spirit was established in 1332–39 by Konrad Gross, a wealthy patrician for the care for the elderly and needy. It was the largest private endowment in the Holy Roman Empire up to 1500AD. After 1500AD the building complex was extended over the Pegnitz.

Picture 49: Entry to the “Hospital of the Holy Spirits” Restaurant

Picture 50: The “Heilig-Geist-Spital” Restaurant building above the Pegnitz River

After lunch we went to the city centre to have a look, I noticed the size of every buildings are quite big and tall with typical German rural windows and wall colours character. We stopped at the square in front of the big beautiful and exquisite building; the St. Lorenz Church. I kept looking back at that church when we went away, questioning myself when was that church built and how long it took to build. 

Picture 51: Panorama of a street at the city

Picture 52: St. Lorenz Church is the most majestic and largest Church in Nuremberg, it’s a gothic architecture. According to the source, the building started in 1270AD and took about 200 years to complete.

Picture 53: City Hall of Nuremberg

Back to the ship, the theme for the night was something about Bavarian. We were looking forward for this occasions. It turned out to be about the Bavarian Beer, of course about beer; one of the Bavarian specialty. You may be interested in one of this situation; you see...the Bavarians can read the symptom and give advice what to do to alleviate it. Here are the examples:

Symptom: Beer unusually pale and tasteless……what happen?
Advice: Your glass is empty
Action: Get someone to buy another glass of beer 

Symptom: The opposite wall covered with fluorescent light…..
Advice: You have fallen backward
Action: Have yourself lashed to bar
There was beer tasting too on that night, and look at this table of menu that was placed at all tables. Certainly this day was a beautiful day and nice evening.
Tonight the ship sailed to Bamberg another city of Bavaria State, I heard that the Three Musketeer movie was filmed there. 

Picture 54: Bavarian Beer Menu

Thursday, 20th March 2014 – Bamberg – Bavaria, Germany 

This morning the cruise ship arrived at Bamberg. The tour started after breakfast, part was guided tour lead by tour guides but most of it was self-guided tour.

As I mentioned earlier some of the scenes in the movie “Three Musketeer” were filmed here, but first we went to the Bamberg Cathedral - St. Peter. Like other Churches we visited during our tour this Cathedral was also built hundreds of years ago, this one was built around the 11th century and then consecrated at around 1,237AD. Anyway we didn’t take lot of pictures there, here is some of them. 

Picture 55: Bamberg Dom - St. Peter 

Picture 56: Entry door of the Dom 

Picture 57: Hallway inside the Cathedral/Dom

Adjoining the Cathedral is an Old Court (Alte Hofhaltung) a half timber building, this building was originally a bishop palace. In this location one of the duels in the Three Musketeer movie was screened.

“The Three Musketeers (2011) location: D’Artagnan arranges to duel with all three musketeers in the coopers’ yard: Alte Hofhaltung, Bamberg, Bavaria, Germany”.

Picture 58: Old Court - Alte Hofhaltung a half timber building, built at around 14 – 15 century

After we finished at the Old Court, we walked slowly further to the east (I think) until we got to the Old City Hall. There were so many interesting objects along the way, including a wonky building as you can see below.
Picture 59: The wonky building, shape of the door and windows aren’t normal

Old City Hall is a unique and has an interesting story. This building is in the middle of the bridge; thus in the middle of the river. According to some sources, there was some sort of disagreement to build such building in town. The citizens want to have the Town Hall, but the bishop refused and said you cannot build it on the land but ‘in the air’. So here it is a Town Hall built not "in a land" but in the middle of the river. Whether the story is true or not I have no idea.

Picture 60: Old City Hall built in the middle of the river 

One of the scenes of “The Three Musketeer” movie was also took place on the bridge as seen on the Picture 60 above. Here I copied the text from

D'Artagnan is invited to stay with the Musketeers at their lodging by the Obere Brücke (Upper Bridge) and the ornate building that was once the 14th century Rathaus (town hall) of Bamberg. More camera trickery extends the modest bridge to suggest a major crossing of the ‘Seine’.

That’s the tour for today, at 14.15 we had to be on board and by 14.30 the cruise ship sailed to Wurzburg.

Friday, 21st March 2014 – Wurzburg - Rothenburg, Bavaria; Germany
The cruise ship arrived at Wurzburg at around 12pm, and for today we went to a town called Rothenburg at about an hour away to the south from Wurzburg by bus. Rothenburg is well known for its well-preserved mediaeval old town, a destination for tourist from around the world. It is part of the popular 'Romantic Road' through southern Germany.

At approximately 1pm we arrived in the town. Again this is one of the old town that still exist today, the peoples and the government are working together to maintain it. Tourism is one of the main incomes for old towns like this.  

Picture 61: The Town Gate 

Picture 62: The Town Hall of Rothenburg 

The buildings within the walled city reflected the city's medieval history, but this part of the city is also in many ways a normal modern German town. Stores/shops, café and hotels catering to tourists are clustered around the Town Hall Square and along several major streets.

Also in the town is a Criminal Museum, containing various punishment and torture devices used during the Middle Ages. We went there to be “persecuted and sent to the Guillotine” L L

Picture 63: In the "Guillotine" – Medieval Criminal Museum
Picture 64: View one of the street/lane at Rothenburg

Picture 65: At the “Teddys Rothenburg” shop – one of the finest teddy bear producer in Germany 

At around 5pm the tour concluded, all of us hopped into the bus and headed back to Wurzburg. The cruise ship sailed to Wertheim and we arrived there at approximately early morning.

Saturday, 22nd March 2014 – Wertheim - Freudenberg, Germany 

Very early in the morning I heard ‘ping’ from my tablet, I had a feeling this must be a good news from my daughter/son in law back home. My feeling was correct, it was good news. My daughter gave birth to a baby boy. I shared this good news to Anna and woke her up from her sleep. We also shared this good news to our friends during breakfast time. 

Anyway, today we only had a few hours at Wertheim before we and several other set a journey to Freudenberg by foot, while most of other group caught the bus.

There wasn’t any official tour program to the city of Wertheim, but the city is only 5 minutes away from the ship port. So we and several other people went to the city to have a look around. The city still quite it was a Saturday early morning and also a bit wet. Anyway, it seems the city view is about the same as to the other old town i.e. Rothenburg. We went around walking along the road passed the morning market and stopped at the souvenir shops, then continued walking until the time told us to go back to the ship and be ready for our walks trail tour.  
Picture 66a: Saturday morning market

Picture 66b: View of the street at the city of Wertheim (22 March 2014)

Wertheim - Freudenberg

I can not recall how long it took to walk from Wertheim to Freudenberg am Main, I think not more than 3.5 hrs. Picture below shows our walks trail (the shortest one), approximately around 12 – 15 kilometres. The route passed through small villages, wet lands, small lakes, fruit plantations, quarry and wild life tracks. It was a good experience, I guess much better during the mid-spring through summer time when the trees are green and blossoming. 

Picture 67: Our walk route from Wertheim to Freudenberg – we’re at the southeast of Frankfurt

Picture 68: View of one of the villages along the river bank 
Picture 69: Red sandstone wall on the right hand side – an old quarry

Picture 70: Our girls having a good time

Picture 71: At the Apple garden/farm
Picture 72: Town of Freudenberg below the old castle
At about 1pm we arrived in the town and went straight into the restaurant. The cold beers and then followed by lunch was served, and there was an entertainment show too. I can’t remember what the menu at that time, but it was presented nicely and it tasted delicious. "It doesn't matter about the calorie intake", Anna said. And she began to talk about how far we walked and how much calories we spent according to ‘fitbit’ device. It was became an interesting topic during that lunch time among our friends, but seems everyone in our little group ‘settle’ with Anna's statement, “It doesn’t matter about the calorie intake, ........... that doesn't count”. J J Anyway, we enjoy our lunch and the company. 

Picture 73: At Lunch, happy & relax time with the Fitbit topic discussion
Picture 74: Another happy moment - an entertainer asked Anna to sing ….

During dinner time on the ship ..... looks what we got !! ………….. a congratulation card from all of our friends, how thoughtful they are; and also from the cruise ship team too. Love it all, thank you…..

Picture 75: A Congratulation Card for being grandparent from our friends

Picture 76: And from the cruise team

Sunday, 23rd March 2014 – Rudesheim/Koblenz 

The cruise ship left Freudenberg am Main at about 3pm yesterday, and this morning the ship at the city of Mainz where the Main and Rhine rivers confluence. So from here the ship sailed along the Rhine river until we got to the Netherlands.

The ship continued sailing and arrived at Rudesheim at around 9.00am, it was a long sail to get to Rudesheim.
Rudesheim am Rhein/Rhine is one of the most visited and one of the biggest tourist attraction cities in Germany, also known not only for the wine or even the Old Town itself, but also the picturesque on the legendary Rhine river landscape together with the romantic Rhine. The view from the top deck of the cruise ship was just beautiful. It's unfortunate the weather was a bit hazy causing the picture I took not really bright and contrast. 

At first we visited The Siegfried’s Music Museum a mechanical musical instrumental museum, very old collection of sort of musical instruments. I wasn't realized that those complex mechanical instrument have ever existed. I am not clear of what year the oldest and the newest instruments were in this museum, it’s very hard to remember which one and when each instrument was created. Some were created in the 1900s, and some before 1900s. All of the instruments are still working and operational, so it is worth a visit. The best way to show how complex of the instrument is by a video, link below is our video we recorded during this tour.

Next visit The Niederwald Monument built in 1883 to commemorate the Germany’s unification in 1871. Needed to ride cable car to get there. The location of this monument is up on the hill giving a better view of the area below; the Rudesheim town.  

Picture 77: The Niederwald Monument – made using 32 tonnes of bronze 

Picture 77: View of vast of winery and housing on the other side of the river taken from a cable car

Picture 78: View of the town of Rudesheim and the Rhine river taken from a cable car

The next visit to the old town of Rudesheim. The town is just beautiful; we walked around at the Drosselgasse, narrow cobblestone avenues in one part of the town. It was the town's cultural heart, loaded with beautifully decorated restaurants, open-air wine gardens, and lots of souvenir shops.  The streets or lanes are narrow with the shops, cafés and restaurants on either side.

This is one description about Rudesheim from one of tourist website:

Most of the German part of the Rhein River valley wound among the country's bustling industrial base, this  including such major cities as Mannheim, Cologne and Dusseldorf.  But in the province of Rheinland-Pfalz between Mainz and Bonn, the Rhein enjoyed the relative peace, quiet, and beauty of one of Germany's wine regions.  The valley was a very popular destination, with its sprawling vineyards, many huge castles, and charming little towns.  The state of Hessen owns just a small part of riverfront territory, but one of the absolute best was the beautiful little town of Rüdesheim, just a short drive west from Wiesbaden (

Picture 79: A view of a charming cafés and shops along the cobblestone narrow lane

Picture 80: Another cool view of the town

Picture 81: Little bit further out of town is an old castle which is became museum

Picture 82: My wife and me having a rest (2 separate pictures combined) 
This scenery is further out southeast of town at the river bank, it’s a nice narrow lane with the type of Sycamore trees on either side, beautiful; imagine those with full of leaves or flowers

Sail to Koblenz

At 14.00 hours the cruise ship sailed along the Legendary Upper Middle Rhine Valley, we had been informed about this last night during our Daily Port Talk. It's about the best of Rhine, and it is only in between Rudesheim to Koblenz. So I was at the sun deck with the camera ready to action.  There were castles and castles up on the hills at both side of the valley and there are towns in between, unfortunately the sun wasn’t bright enough to capture good pictures. Here some pictures captured, however I didn't recorded the name of the castles, locations and the town for these pictures below. 

Picture 83

Picture 84
Picture 85

Picture 86

Mystical of Lorelei Statue

About halfway through the journey to Koblenz there is a statue at around Lorelei rock, a lady sitting there with a sexy and inviting pose; so her name is Lorelei. One of tell-tale story dated back centuries ago said there were lot of boats/ships incident in this area, the sailors blamed to the appearance of a beautiful lady who was sunbathing on the shore. That was destructing view to the sailors, causing their ships hit the rock and sank. The location where the lady appeared is at the narrowest and deepest part of Rhine river. 

Picture 87: Lady of “Lorelei” Statue near the Lorelei rock

Did she have long blonde hair with blue eyes or may be long red hair and green eyes? Were the sailors distracted because she was laying sunbathing along the river’s edge? Or was she intentionally lured bewitched sailors to their doom by singing the loveliest song they had ever heard? There were many version of the lore in Rhine valley I guessed. Want to visit there? here is another information
or this one

Anyway our ship passed the Lorelei rock area safely because of her present as a warning to the sailor to be careful entering the narrow path of the Rhine river.

Monday, 24th March 2014 – Cologne, Germany

Last night Anna felt not well, this morning even worse. Fever, coughing, it was the bad flu, but she had good reason to insist in joining the walks to the old town of Cologne/Koln. We don’t know whether we ever come back to this city.
Cologne was existed in the early century, the Roman founded and established in the first century and named as “Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium”, now is one of the major metropolitan cities in Europe with the population approximately 10 million inhabitants.
So today our tour guide brought us to the old town and passed some interesting places and buildings before the tour ended at the Cologne Cathedral. Actually our cruise ship anchored not that far away from the Cathedral. We walked around and sometime through the cobblestone's narrow lane of the old town. 

 Picture 88: A Hotel occupied the old building dated back in 1,234; yes 1,2,3,4

Picture 89: At Heumarkt Square, stands the pedestal of King Frederic Wilhelm III of Prussia (1770 – 1840) riding a horse. The statues below him are of German personalities from the world of economics, politics, science and art.

Picture 90: One of local beer brewer “Gafell Kolsch”

Picture 91: Old City Hall – under repair, I can’t remember what the tour guide pointed out

Picture 92: Cologne Cathedral viewed from the side, it’s a huge Cathedral. This church is one of the most visited and popular tourist attractions at Cologne and even in Germany

We had to go back to the ship to have a rest as Anna can not stand the headache and nausea. However the ship has left  for Dusseldorf as programmed, hence we had to wait for the bus to arrive. Moment later the bus took us all to Dusseldorf where the ship waited for us.
It was ruining her day being sick during our holiday. Next time we probably need to slow down and have adequate time for sleep. But it is a holiday, who wants to sleep when the next destinations keep adding the excitement?
When we boarded the ship we asked to the tour director if a doctor available. The doctor visited the ship on that night, the visit was not just for my wife but also for several other passengers who got sick too.

More info about Cologne can also be viewed here:
While she's having a rest, I went to “Schloss Burg Castle” for a dinner including entertainment show with the other fellow passengers. This castle is located at the hill of the town called Solingen situated in between Cologne and Dusseldorf. Before dinner we had time to walk around at the castle, which was built in the 12 century. According to the source (Wikipedia) the castle went through reconstruction in 1828 for over 24 years, and then in 1920 a large fire destroyed much of the castle. Reconstruction began in 1922 and take 4 years to restore the castle, archbishop Engelbert 1 of Cologne led the reconstruction.

The dinner and the entertainment show went very well. The entertainers were German originals, including the costumes and the music instruments except for the language.

Picture 93: Statue of Archbishop Engelbert 1, outside the castle’s wall

Picture 94: Gathering in the Castle

Picture 95: The artist/performers with their unique costumes and music instruments

Tuesday, 25th March 2014 – Amsterdam, Netherland

Anna still needed a rest her condition was not getting any better, and she only had one (1) more day medication left. Yes the doctor gave her medication only for 3 days, not sure why he did that despite knowing that we were still be in Europe for another 7 days.

Anyway after lunch I went out to join a tour to visit windmill at town/village of Zaanse Schans, two buses took us there. This time I took lots of video movie for her to watch the tourist attraction in this village.

It didn't take long to travel from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans. I saw many small canals full of water along the way during the trip. I heard the story about water in the Netherlands, so here now I saw how they overcame the situation. I guess every canals/drains are well interconnected and meticulously controlled to ensure waters flowing to the dedicated area, avoids flooding at other places.

Picture 96: Main canal (?) at the settlement area

Picture 97: Tributary canal or Drainage on village

Picture 98: Miniature windmill at the Zaanse Schans village

At first the tour guide brought us to visit a Cheese makers. They showed us the process to produce cheese start from raw materials (milk, etc), adding flavours, storage system up to the packaging. Interesting visit.

After the Cheese makers we visited a windmill to see how this machine works. We went into one of the windmills, there are 3 floors inside the windmill. A storage floor at the base and grinding floor on the second level, and hubs to transfer/connect the turning main shaft to the grinding shaft on the third floor. Hope my explanation makes sense.
The grinding section consisted of huge pair of stone or cement wheels that traverse on top of round table, these wheels smashed whatever material on that table. Due to the weight of the working material on top, the support structure is massive and mostly made of wood …… incredible !.

Here is a video I took during the tour

Just in case the video above doesn't want to play, the link to YouTube below may work better.

The next visit was to the wooden shoe or klompen manufacturer. Not sure what type of wood were used to make the klompen, but he started with wet wood log and a master klompen. Both arranged into a motorised cutting machine to make the new one exactly the same as the master klompen, and then went to the second machine to make hole for the foot to slide in. It seems very simple, I guess to make the master that it will take a little bit longer. 

After this klompen manufacturer show, it’s free time to do our own things including going to the souvenirs shops. I bought ceramic bells with embedded windmill picture in it and also bought a windmill water painting and of course pair of klompens. 

Picture 99: Operational windmill at the village

Picture 100: Daffodils garden in one of the family home in the village

Picture 101: At the souvenir shop - a giant wooden shoes/klompens on display

End of the River Cruise Tour

By 6pm we’re all back at the cruise ship. At this point basically our tour with the cruise ship came to an end. This evening at dinner time we said goodbye to each other and exchanged contact detail to keep in touch, who knows we may meet each other again one day. And also to say goodbye to the crew of the cruise ship, they did the most of their jobs very well…excellente……

For us this river cruise tour is one of the most unforgettable holiday journey, lots of memories for sure and importantly we had good company and made some new friends.

Wednesday, 26th March 2014 – Amsterdam, Netherland     

At 9am we were transferred to the Hotel Double Tree by Hilton and stayed there until 2pm before we embarked to the Amsterdam Centraal to catch our train to Paris. We planned to go around before then but that plan can’t be realised as Anna was still very sick. So I went out looking for some medicines for cold/flu.

I wasn’t sure where to go, and then I saw two (2) young police women. So I approach them and politely asked them “excuse me can I ask ………..?” Before I finished my question one of them cut off my sentence and said responsively … No! Surprise with her reaction, I just look at her and shake my shoulder…… That was the first time in Europe to come to the police asking for help, was that reaction common? Australian police are much helpful for people needing help even the simple ones.

Anyway after taking some wrong turns and keep looking word of ‘Apotheke’, finally I got there and bought enough stock for us both.

Compiled in March 2015
Semoga anda menikmati cerita ringan (dongeng kata salah satu teman.......) dari kita di Perth - Western Australia.
We hope you enjoying reading it. If you have any comments, please do so. We'll love to read your comments. Thank you