Sooo proud to be an American
Lots to catch up on....but first of all, what a nice remembrance to all those who died serving our country as the Red, White and Blue flags and bunting are hanging throughout the ship. After breakfast and going thru the last of the 80'+ locks, we had an interesting lecture on the development of Nuremberg. We are not to the ½ way mark yet for locks. A lady came on board to give a lecture on the development of Nuremberg, followed by Bloody Mary's.
To back track a little....
Saturday, we had a full day starting with with early departure to Cesky Krumlov. The scenery was spectacular as we left Austria and crossed into the Czech Republic. We did a walking tour, lunch at The Ruiz, (classiest hotel/restaurant in town according to our tour guide, George). Then some spare time to stroll thru this beautiful city. Back on the bus and left for Bavaria....and of course, more gorgeous rolling hills, farm country, trees, etc. From all the red roofs of Austria, we are now into the dark brown roofs of Germany. Barbara is a German native, so she's in her element with so much excitement as she describes it all. We enjoyed beautiful German music on our return to the ship. Hot towels and apricot juice awaited us as we boarded. After dinner, we enjoyed The Sounds of Austria in the lounge - great entertainment with opera and other favorites topped off with songs from The Sound of Music.
Sunday started with Mark and Paul going to a lecture on the Main (pronounced Mine)/Danube Canal and the lock system. After arriving in Regensberg, 14 of us took off for the trek up the hill and 10:00 Mass at St. Peter's Cathedral – wow.....magnificent and all in German (one week ago we were at St. Stephen's in Budapest – all Hungarian). Today is the feast of Pentecost and tomorrow is a holiday. The cardinal of the diocese of Passau presided over the “high” mass along with bishops, many priests, and altar boys – so much pomp and circumstance. The oldest boys' choir in the world, the Regensburg Domspatzen sang and what a fabulous treat. The brother of Pope Benedict XVI was the choirmaster for many years. Unfortunately we were not able to stay till the end of mass (2 hours) as our bus was departing.
Regensberg is the hometown of Pope Benedict XVI and although a city of 141,000, it has so much charm with all the coffee cafes, outdoor restaurants, cobblestone streets, shops and the wonderful architecture. The Europeans believe that a good cup of coffee, cappuccino, espresso, etc., should be savored over a relaxed atmosphere amid all the beauty of the area......there are no take outs or take aways.....so getting a cup of coffee as we strolled around was not going to happen. There are several McDonalds and Starbucks, though. We Americans are always “on the go” with our drinks – not so in Europe.
We spent Sunday afternoon in Weltenberg (a 45- minute bus ride) starting with lunch and tour of the monastery. They have a large beer garden on the premises, too, which was packed by the locals and tourists. Took a boat ride to Kelheim and entered the Danube Gorge. After this short trip (½ hour), our buses were waiting and back to the ship where we immediately left for Nuremberg. The next 5 days we will be going under several low bridges, so no admittance on top deck – bummer! But plenty of lovely scenery to see from the lounge or our rooms with open French balcony. Another wonderful dinner and then entertainment in the Latitude 52 Lounge by a guitar player/singer who sang and played a variety of familiar tunes.
So....back to this Memorial Day – we had a wonderful lunch at Heilig Geist Spital Restaurant here in Nuremberg where we sat with students from the university – had a delightful visit with Anka, a senior who will graduate in 3 weeks. Very interesting to question her about Nuremberg, her family, studies, the culture, etc. We had a city tour by bus and visited the Documentation Centre.....what a sobering experience for this Memorial Day. God bless all those who served and are serving our country!
Tomorrow we are off to Bamberg – Barbara describes this as a “Jewel” of a town with great history, shopping, eating, beer, wine, etc.......as I write this Mark is at a lecture on the history of beer making! At 4:00 tomorrow, we'll have High Tea......the fun, pampering, spoiling, etc. continue and we are lovin' every minute and havin' a ball!.