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A European Adventure

Viking River Cruise

Vienna to Amsterdam

October 5 ~ 21, 2004

 

This travel adventure started with an overnight flight from the USA to Vienna.  As luck would have it, my suitcase decided to take another later flight from Washington to Vienna.  The suitcase arrived just before bedtime the first day on the Viking Spirit.

 

 

This is the Viking Spirit my home for the next 12 days.  My cabin was on the lower level and was very comfortable.

 

 

From our ship I had a good view of UNO City located across the River on the eastern outskirts of Vienna.  The complex is leased to the UN for a symbolic price of 1 Austria Shilling per year.  My guess is that the rent is now paid in Euros since Austria joined the European Union.  There are about 5000 persons working in the complex.

 

 

On the morning of our first full day in Vienna, we had a bus tour of the city with our final stop in the square where St. Stephen's is located.  This beautiful cathedral was built between 1263 and 1511. 

 

 

This is one of the many statues found in Vienna.  It is on the side of St. Stephen's where the horse carriages wait for customers. 

 

 

This is a confectionary shop window.  The figures are made of chocolate.  The base is a large block of chocolate.  Vienna is a place where a person with a sweet tooth would go nuts!

One evening, I attended a performance of a typical Viennese Concert held in one of Vienna's many palaces.  The music of Mozart and Strauss was performed by a Viennese orchestra.  There was singing and dancing during the evening which was most enjoyable. 

Since this was my 6th visit I did not take a lot of photos of the various scenes around the city.  There are pictures found on my web page of other times I visited this beautiful city.

 

 

On day four, we sailed from Vienna to Durnstein.   Durnstein pretty village of 500 people, that lies on a bluff over looking the Danube.  This was a short morning stop with a walking tour of the village.  This is a picture of the Parish Church with was build in the 15th century. 

 

 

It is fall and the ivy was in full red hue making our visit colorful.

 

 

This is the ruins of the castle fortress where Richard the Lion-Hearted was held captive.  The ruins overlook Durnstein. 

 

 

Just in front of the train is a monument to of Richard the Lion-hearted and his loyal minstrel companion Blondel, who searched for Richard after he was captured returning from a crusade.  England paid a large ransom for his safe return. 

 

 

One of the many beautiful sights along the Danube River as we sail to our next port of call.

 

 

This is the village of Spitz which I visited during a tour in June.  It is in the wine region of the Wachau Valley.

 

 

Our second port of call on October 8th as at Melk.  This was where I was touring on 9/11/2001 when I heard the news of the terrorist attach on New York City.  Needless to say it was a concern that affected the rest of that trip.

 

 

The beautiful Melk Abbey is on a bluff and dominates the area around.  It has a large library and a beautiful chapel.

 

 

A River view on a cloudy day.  Heading for Passau.

 

 

Passau on the Danube River.  These two boats are a museum on the River bank.

 

 

This is the site of the measuring instruments attached to the wall of this building in downtown Passau.  There were placed there so all citizens could check to see they were not being cheated.  The instruments are on the left of the steps before the drain pipe.  This same type of measurement instruments were display in many of the cities we visited.

 

 

Passau is know as the city of three Rivers, the Danube, Ilz and the Inn.  Above is a picture of St. Stephan's cathedral.  We had a short organ concert during our visit to the cathedral.  It was a rainy day so there was not a lot of extra sightseeing beyond visiting a couple of churches.  I did find an internet cafe and was able to check my e-mail. 

 

 

We sailed into Regensburg at breakfast time.  In the morning we had a walking tour of Regensburg.  This Germany medieval city suffered virtually no damage during World War II. 

Picture taking during the walking tour was difficult due to a rainy morning.

 

 

After lunch on board the Viking Spirit we had a cruise through the Danube Gorge.  It was a beautiful part of the River and it was too bad it was an overcast day.  We were sailing on a boat like the one passing us.

 

 

Along the way we saw a rock climber scaling the face of a cliff.  Can you find him?  There was a lot of activity on the gorge ranging from rock climbing to canoeing.

 

 

At the end of our boat ride was the Weltenburg Monastery.  It was a beautiful spot on a cloudy day.  This monastery was founded in the seventh century.  In 1050, a brewery was founded at the monastery and has brewed beer every since.  I sampled their dark brew and it was quite good.

 

 

On the way back to the ship, we had a brief stop at King Ludwig Memorial to celebrate the victorious battles against Napoleon in the Wars of Liberation. 

 

 

Next port of call is Nuremberg.  Nuremburg was the site of many Nazi party rallies.  Hitler want to make Nuremburg into the capitol of his empire. 

 

 

The infamous Nazi Rally grounds.  Hitler reviewed Nazi youth parades from this stand.

 

 

In the distance is the unfinished Coliseum that Hitler was having built. 

 

 

The building where the Nuremburg World War II Nazi trials were held.

 

 

A view of the Imperial Castle.  Note the half timbered house on the right. 

 

 

A picturesque bird house in downtown Nuremberg.

Nuremberg tour was kind of a bust due to the fact that our tour was for the morning only and if we stayed in town it was necessary to take a taxi back to the Viking Spirit which was docked far from downtown.  It was a beautiful sunny day and we were stuck in the harbor area with nothing to see or do.

 

 

A last photo of downtown Nuremburg.

 

 

Sunrise over the German landscape!  It is Tuesday, October 12th and we are sailing to Bamberg.

 

 

Lock on the River ahead!  There was a great deal of barge and boat traffic on the River.

 

 

Bamberg next stop!

 

 

Bamberg city hall dominated downtown.

 

 

Bamberg cathedral built in 1237.

 

 

A beautiful city scene near the city hall.

 

 

On to Rothenberg, we docked in Volkach just before breakfast.  We were bussed along the Romantic Road to the Main River town of Wurzburg. 

 

 

We are visiting the baroque Bishop's Residenz.  This is the fountain in front of the Residenz.  It is early and the sun is on the wrong side of the Residenz for good photos.  A most impressive building that is still under going renovation.

 

 

This is the rear view of the Residenz with its gardens.  Unfortunately, we were there to late to enjoy its garden blooms.

 

 

The second stop of our day long tour was Wurzburg.  It was a beautiful sunny day. 

 

 

Wurzburg had neat narrow streets with many shops to help the tourists spend their Euros.  We had lunch in a local restaurant.

 

 

We had the services of a local guide to tell us about the sights and history of Wurzburg.  This a scene of some of the fortifications.

 

 

I am standing in front of some of the fortified walls built to protect the city. 

 

 

Wurzburg City Hall.  This was our meeting place at the end of our visit.

 

 

Statues in front of city building.

 

 

Day 10 and we are visiting Wertheim in the rain.

 

 

It is a lousy day for photos.  That is the problem with traveling in October. 

 

 

There were some interesting walk ways in Wertheim.

 

 

We sailed from Wertheim at noon and the day brightened and picture taking along the River was the order of the afternoon!

 

 

A shipyard along the River.

 

 

We arrived in Mainz for a morning walking tour. 

 

 

Mainz flower market brightened another drab rainy day.

 

 

We had a tour of the Gutenberg Museum where we saw the famous bibles on display.  As you can imagine security was very tight in the museum.  After our tour, we had free time to shop and then I walked back to the ship which was nearby.

 

 

The river traffic never stops!

 

 

We are docked at Rudesheim for an afternoon excursion. 

The tour started out cloudy but turned to rain.  I had to buy another umbrella to stay dry.  A view of one of the several churches in Rudesheim.

 

 

A camp ground on the River at Rudesheim.  There were many camp grounds along the River.

 

 

Siegfried's Mechanical Instrument Museum was a neat spot to visit.  They had on display all kinds of mechanical  musical instruments which were played for us.  Later in the tour, we had a wine tasting at a local winery. 

 

 

A winery overlooking Rudesheim.

 

 

It is still raining but I cannot pass up this photo.  This is the Mouse Tower in the River that was used to collect tolls from boats sailing on the River.  At this site there were dangerous shallows which made navigation on the Rhine rather treacherous. The Ehrenfels Castle overlooked the Mouse Tower. 

 

 

It is October 16 and we are sailing to Cologne.  The sun is out so everyone is on deck taking pictures as we sail along a very picturesque part of the Rhine.

 

 

Local people are out picking grapes in the vineyards this fine morning.

 

 

Note the opening of a railroad tunnel in the rear that looks like a castle.  During World War II there was an treaty not to bomb castles so the Germans turned the tunnel opening into a castle.

 

 

Castles and monasteries at every bend in the River.

 

 

Another beautiful sight from the River.

 

 

Another fortress commanding the River.

 

A monument to a German war hero.

 

 

A German Atomic Power Plant that was never fired up!

 

 

The remains of the famous World War II bridge "too far."  It is a memorial site today.  Note the American flag flying high.

 

 

Next port of call, Cologne, Germany.

 

 

Once again we have a walking tour in the rain.  This is the Gothic cathedral of Cologne. 

 

 

Since it was raining in Cologne, there were few photo ops.  Note the statue on the wall of this building in downtown Cologne.  It rather expresses my feelings about the weather!

 

 

My last port of call, Amsterdam.  We arrived at noon after a quiet morning on board ship.  The tour has covered 950.46 miles over 12 days from Vienna to Amsterdam.  We have sailed on the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers.

 

 

The Viking Spirit docked in Amsterdam.  We had an afternoon cruise on a glass-topped boat along the canals of the city. 

 

 

This is a photo of the view of seven bridges taken from our canal cruise boat.  I am not sure I captured all seven in this shot.

 

 

A view of an Amsterdam canal.  The sun is out at last.

 

 

A canal lift bridge.

 

 

As part of our afternoon tour of Amsterdam we visited the famous Rijksmuseum.  There were many famous artists featured in their collection.  The museum opened in 1885 and has 5,000 paintings in its collection.  I particularly enjoyed see the Rembrandt works.

 

 

A last sunny photo from our Sunday city tour of Amsterdam.

 

 

My River cruise ended on Monday morning.  I had elected to spend three extra days in Amsterdam before heading home.  I left the ship at 9:00 am on Monday morning moving to a Radisson Hotel in downtown Amsterdam.  Monday was a rainy day so I did not take many photos as I walked around sightseeing.  This shot is of the carnival rides set up in Dam Market Square.

 

 

Tuesday dawned with great promise for a sunny day and it did not disappoint me!  I had signed up for two tours to the Dutch countryside.  I started out at 9:30 am and finished at 7:30 pm.  It was a great day as you will see.

 

 

First stop on the morning tour featured the famous Dutch windmills.  We are visiting a wooden shoe shop and factory.

 

 

All colors and sizes.  I did not buy a pair!

 

 

Next stop the cheese factory.  The sample tasting were very

 good.

 

 

We next stopped for a walking tour of a seaside village called Volendam.  It was a pretty little village with canals traveling throughout.  We walked to the seaside section of the town where we boarded a boat to sail to the village of Marken.  This is a shot of a cute canal decoration.

 

 

The harbor sides walk at Volendam.  It was very foggy over the water.

 

 

Welcome to Marken.  This is another beautiful seaside village.

 

 

The boat we arrived on heading back to Volendam.  It is part of a regular ferry service between the villages.

 

 

One last look at a canal bridge in Marken.  Our tour is over and we are driving back along a dike to Amsterdam and for my afternoon tour.

 

 

The afternoon tour started with a stop at the Delft Pottery factory.  We were shown how the pottery produces the blue color dishes they are world famous for.  Of course they had a gift shop where you could buy Delft pottery.

 

 

Hats off to Delft!

 

 

In the background of this shot is a ferry boat just for carrying people and bikes across the canal.

The most disappointing part of the tour was that we only had a driving tour of The Hague.  The sights were interesting but no time for photos.

 

 

 

Our next stop was at Madurodam outside The Hague.  The above photo represents a boy plugging the dike with his finger.  It is on the front wall to the entrance of Madurodam.

Madurodam is a miniature town (25 to 1 scale) that has everything from an airport to canals and Rivers.  Many famous Dutch buildings are modeled at Madurodam.  They following are but a few of the many pictures I took there.  It was a great spot to visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Even a boat fire and a fire boat to put it out.

 

My last day in Amsterdam returned to one of rain.  I still ventured out to see sights.

 

 

This is a beer truck at Dam Market Square unloading beer by using a hose.  No heavy kegs for these guys.

 

 

This is the barge that goes travels around the canals to clean up trash and remove wayward bicycles that have been thrown in the canals.

My trip ends with these last photos.  It was memorable in many ways.  I learned a lesson about the best times of year to travel in Europe.  October is too late to travel and the weather is too unpredictable. 

I hope you enjoy viewing my trip photos as much as I did in taking them