You know how much Nonnie loved the River Barge? She took quite a few trips every year and was devastated when times got bad and Eddie Conrad had to close it down. I only went on one trip with her but I was hooked. I loved the people. I loved the music. I loved the scenery and the activities. And I adored the pace! There really is such a thing as Barge Time!
Nonnie got an invitation in the mail recently from Vantage Deluxe World Travel. She was supposed to go on a European river barge trip this October and we had to cancel it in June but she is still on their mailing list. The trip was meant to be a get-together for the old River Barge Mates and was scheduled by Eddie Conrad. They are planning another trip next year and I just signed up for it. Yes, Ed and I will be going on a river barge cruise along the Danube and Rhine Rivers next September. I will get to see some of Nonnie’s friends and I am SO excited!
We will fly into Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and will take a canal cruise the first day and a city tour, including the Riijksmuseum, the next day. I’ll enjoy the history but for the art, I think I’d prefer to see the Van Gogh Museum down the street. From everything that I’ve heard, I don’t think I’m going to tell Ed where the Red Light District is. I’m not sure I’d get him back before the river barge sailed. On the other hand, they do sell cannabis there in some coffee shops. Boy, now that would supply an education that U.S. coffee shops couldn’t touch, isn’t it, even the Starbucks inside our major bookstores!
Then it is off to Cologne, Germany, with a lesson in German for Travellers, which will probably be good since we will have the afternoon free to roam the city. We will get a walking city tour and will get to see the Roman Germanic Museum, which should be fascinating, to say the least, but we will also have free time to see their Cologne Cathedral, which should be quite impressive, and the Shrine of the Three Kings, which supposedly contains relics of the Three Magi. The cathedral was started in 1248 but wasn’t completed until 1880. The locals sometimes call it “the eternal construction site” and I guess it does tend to help keep the locals employed on a regular basis. I don’t know where it is, but what I’m really looking forward to seeing is the 1900 year old Roman boat, found in 2007. It’s one thing to see a stone building that is 1900 years old, but a boat??? Wow!
Overnight and the next morning, we will cruise toward Rudesheim, Germany, leisurely sailing past cliffs and castles of the Rhine to get there. Have you heard of the legend of the Lorelei? Various songs and poems have been written about it, not to mention various references to it in pieces of literature. The most famous of these stories probably began from a poem by Henrich Heine. Lore-Ley was a woman who lured shipmen along the river to distraction with her singing, who then crashed on the rocks in the riverbed below. From this poem, folklore was created. In actuality, there is a small waterfall in the area and when combined with the special echo the rock produces, a murmuring sound is amplified across the water. We will actually get to see this huge rock as we sail past it. They say it is difficult to hear the murmur today but you can bet I’ll be listening!
No, this is not the end of our trip and I’ll write more tomorrow. Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions on what to see when we have choices to make, PLEASE leave a comment on what you would do and why you would make that choice. I can read forever but that is not the same as any first-hand knowledge you might have. And there are other Barge-Mates reading these posts and I’m sure they would also appreciate your comments.