The Netherlands at Last!

The Viking cruise we booked can be taken from Amsterdam to Budapest, or as we did, from Budapest to Amsterdam. There are merits to both based on what I read in advance of our trip, but for us, it meant that on day 14 (Tuesday July 16th), we finally made it to the Netherlands, the…

Cologne Cathedral – Six Centuries of Monumental Accomplishment

The stonemasons and craftsmen, who during the Middle Ages began building the great Cathedral of Cologne, probably had no idea that it would take more 600 years to complete one of the most magnificent churches in the world. Before work could begin, the old house of prayer that was on that site had to be…

Cologne – Magnificence on the Rhine

Visiting Cologne in 2019, it is hard to imagine that 95% of the old city centre was destroyed in the Second World war, and that the population had dropped from it’s pre-war numbers of around 800,000 to a mere 40,000. It is even more remarkable that the Cologne Cathedral survived when it was surrounded by…

Marksburg Castle – Medieval Life Perfectly Preserved

Our visit began at the dock in Braubach and as we disembarked from the Lif, we couldn’t help but look up at Marksburg Castle over and over again. It looked really spectacular, and that is probably because of its completeness relative to so many of the other ruins we had seen along the way. While…

The Main meets the Rhine

The Rhine River starts its journey in Switzerland, then flows through France, Germany and the Netherlands before entering into the North Sea. It is also the longest river in Germany with the Main River being one of its’ main tributaries. We were about to encounter it for the first time on our cruise. Early on…

Cruising and Biking the Tauber Valley

As the Viking Lif pulled away from its mooring location at Wertheim, we didn’t have all hands on deck. A few of our fellow passengers had opted for a 16-mile cycling expedition along the Main River to Freudenberg, where the ship would pick them up some four hours later in the day. Among those who…

Wertheim – “Between the Rivers”

Located where the Tauber and Main rivers meet, no matter what book, website, brochure, or handout I read, Wertheim was summed up by pretty much all as “a charming little town, very picturesque, and very cozy”. It was against that description that the Viking Lif eased its way into its’ mooring spot at Wertheim on…

Würzburg – Power and Wealth

“For centuries, the Würzburg prince-bishops wielded enormous power and wealth, and the city grew in oppulence under their rule”, and with that statement from our nightly Port Talk, the stage had been set for a visit to the site of one of Germany’s finest palaces – the Unesco-listed Würzburg Residenz. Würzburg is a very old…

Smoke Gets In Your Beer

There’s quite a bit to tell you about our visit to Bamberg, Germany on Thursday July 12th, but instead of describing it in chronological order, I’m going to go a little Quentin Tarantino on you, and start in the middle. For while there are many historical facts and features about the city, the most unique…

The Beauty and Infamy of Nuremberg

Until the Second World War, Nuremberg was considered one of the finest medieval cities in Germany with streets full of typical timber-framed houses adorned with beautifully embellished gables. In some commentaries I’ve read, it was described as a “large fairy-tale city” prior to the 1930’s. Starting in 1933, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party held their annual…

The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal

The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal (RMD Canal), connects the Main and Danube rivers between Kelheim and Bamberg, Germany, and runs through Nuremberg, our destination for Wednesday July 10th. Without the RMD, a river cruise like the one we embarked on in Budapest, would not be possible. The canal connects the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the…

Walhalla

During our bus ride from Deggendorf to Regensburg on Tuesday July 9th, our driver told us to look off in the distance and we would see the famous Walhalla Memorial. He of course pronounced the “W” in Walhalla as a “V”, and I must confess that I was a bit confused as Valhalla to me…