Off the Boat at Last

Saturday, 12 August, 2017 – weather: Grey and Rainy, but improves

We have signed up to go to a castle tour and wine tasting today in Wrzburg. The weather is again dismal and it is tempting not to go, but I do it any way. So after brekkie I hop onto the bus. Julie walks into town.

Arriving at the Bishop’s Residence

I hope you noticed the weather conditions by the state of the umbrellas with the group. We are not allowed to carry water bottles, hand bags, umbrellas etc. which we put into a large locker before starting the tour. Additionally, we are not allowed to take any photos so there aren’t any. To summarise it is a huge place with the usual excess in terms of fittings, tapestries, etc.

When that tour is over and obligatory stop in the souvenir shop, we go to another part of the “residence” and down into a wine cellar for a wine tasting.

In the wine cellar

They set that room up for a wine tasting, but not for us

The secret passage to another part of the wine cellar

About to enter the tasting room

In the tasting room

Pouring the first wine a muller thurgau – not my favourite

Our tasting list

The Second Wine – a Sylvaner, again not for me

The third wine was a Riesling and was advertised as semi-dry which I was assuming to mean sweet.

The Riesling was actually quite good, I actually liked it, not bad for a white

One point about the bottle shape is that it is “reserved” for use in this area of Germany, only, except Mateusz Rose.

I return to the boat on the bus and relaxed. In the mean time, Julie is prancing into town. Some of her photos.

from David and Kate

Ducks

Julie returns and it is time for lunch.

Good soup

Meat and sauce

We had an electric violin concert. The guy was quite good but when I asked him about “The Devil Goes to Georgia” he had never heard of it

It is a quiet afternoon after that. Slowly the weather improves a little bit but you would hardly call it great. Any way, by special invitation we are dining in Portabello tonight. It is an Italian restaurant in the river café area.

We start with a bubbly (Prosecco, of course)

Our menu, part 1

Menu, Part 2

Our Hosts

Some of the guests

Other guests including Julie

Chianti for the red, OK

Pinot Grigio is the white

Antipasto “platter”

Marinated prawn and arincini – my favourite part of the meal

Rocket soup for Julie, quite good but very sweet

A little pepper for Julie

Large ravioli – filling was good

Fish

Beef in Barolo sauce. I managed to get a half glass of Barolo, my favourite Italian wine

Dessert

Cheese for Dessert

All in all, Italian is not my favourite cuisine and this meal largely represented what I don’t like about it. Plus I had to dress up Plus they were serving Duck, one of our favourites, in the main dining room although we are able to do something about that.

There is music in the lounge and some raucous dancing, I go to bed when they start playing rap crap.

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Still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain

Friday, 11 August, 2017 – weather: Grey and Rainy

For those of you that wanted more details about the special Rudisheimer coffee of yesterday:

Recipe for world famous Rudisheimer coffee

We get up and face another ugly looking day weatherwise. It is just grey but alternates between grey and rainy all day. There is a scheduled Oktoberfest on today but my enthusiasm is getting watered down, again pun intended.

After breakfast, we hang around in the lounge. After 11:00 we have a Zither concert by Tomy-the-Great.

Tomy-the-Great

Tomy played a number of Zither favourites culminating in the Third Man Theme

As we proceed down the Main, I take a number of photos, here are some.

A very low bridge

The backside of that bridge

Arrived at Miltenberg

Miltenberg is the jump off point for all of those going to the Oktoberfest. It has been described to us as beer, bratwurst and entertainment. Julie does not like sausages and does not drink beer, often anyway. I can’t drink beer because it cases me pain. Plus it is raining. So it was an easy decision to stay on the boat. However, there is time for a short prance for Julie. Some photos.

After everyone leaves, lunch was put on in the River Café. We had some quite satisfying fish and chips. I take some photos about our progress up the river including a sequence on the Lock action.

Sailing into the Lock with our little Hero on duty

A difficult lassoo from 10+ feet and he did it first try with ease

Our hero returning with the water pouring into lock

We moved to dinner below

Cucumber cocktail

Rissotto

Broth

Mushroom Cappuccino

Vegetarian

Lamb main

Cheese

Dessert

Relatively early to bed tonight/

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The Rhine Gorge

Thursday, 10 August, 2017 – weather: Rained all day

We are to enter the Rhine Gorge at around 6:00 AM so we are encouraged to get up then to view the entry. I wasn’t going to do that but since I am awake I put on some clothes and go out. Well, it is pouring rain and it is hard to see anything, so I go back to bed.

After I get up we have a good breakfast, similar to yesterday, and go out to see the sites, especially the world famous Lorelie.

Its out there somewhere – the rain makes it very hard to see

Refer to this link for the Lorelei

As we travel along the Rhine Gorge, there are lots of old castles and towns. So here are a few photos of some of them.

We dock at Rudesheim. There is to be a tour around various parts which starts with a small train ride into town to the Music Museum. I was going to go but all the rain dampened my spirits, pun intended, I decide to stay on the boat, maybe I will never leave it. But Julie goes on the train. There is a long queue to get into the museum so she prances around town. Following are her pictures.

From the cable car

From the cable car

A special way of making coffee

The special coffee – the following are the steps

The finished product

All those ducks

It continues to rain all day. Eventually the troops start arriving, walking back from town rather than waiting for the return train. Julie eventually is one of those. Around dinner time we turn off of the Rhine onto the Main River. From here we pass through a number of locks, of various sizes, I think there was the mention of 68 or something like that. We pass by the towns of Mainz on Main and then Frankfurt

Dinner tonight is downstairs but there is an ala carte menu.

Turkey fajitas starter

Pumpkin soup

Leek Broth

Julie’s Salmon, again overcooked

Larry’s (double) serve of sauerbraten

A regular serve of sauerbraten

Cheese for dessert

Lots of folk, including Julie, danced to disco

The dj played such outstanding songs as YMCA, Macho Man, Nutbush City Limits, etc. I stayed up fairly late until he started playing rap, rap, eat my cr*p. It was time to go.

Somebody stopped by with an Irish Coffee.

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Lazy day on the Rhine

Wednesday, 9 August, 2017 – weather: grey, again

Lazy for me any way. For some reason we are up early and have to wait for breakfast. It was worth the wait.

Smoked Salmon for Julie

Freshly made Bacon, mushroom and cheese omelet for me

We are parked near Cologne (Koln). There is a walking tour of Cologne which Julie goes on but I stay back on the boat. Some of her photos.

In the mean time, a girl comes around and informs us that there is another event on board that had not been mentioned. It is a lesson in taste and aromas.

Our “Lecturer”

Our tasting experience opportunities

The colours are test tubes that have hidden odours in them. we were supposed to guess – I could not identify any of them

Our ship proceeds up the Rhine to our next pick up place. The buses from the Cologne tours are there waiting for us.

The troops awaiting the Pearl arrival

Scenic Pearl arriving to pick up all the bus people

Julie boarding

Then it was pretty much straight to lunch downstairs,

My plate of veal casserole etc.

Julie has the usual slug of salad

The plan for this afternoon / evening is to go to Marksburg Castle for tour, food and entertainment. I decide that I do not want to go on a 90 minute bus trip so stay back as does Julie for the same reason. All in all around 25 passengers stay behind and enjoy the cruise down the river.

The Remaining Troops

They invite us in for dinner at Portobello which is the converted River Cafe

One good point about this is that the meal is ala carte rather than the frequent smorgasbord.

Some of the rest of the troops

Salad starter for Julie

Beef and asparagus starter

Potato croquette starter

Broth good, dumplings not so much

Salmon and salad for Julie as a main

Vegie Main Course

Steak main course – just OK

Fruit dessert

Cheese

The main body of troops gets back around 11:15 and Don Roberto starts playing music. I stay up too late until after midnight.

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Cruisin’

Tuesday, 8 August, 2017 – weather: grey, again

Although we were on the boat overnight, we still have not left the Amsterdam docks. Additionally, there are a couple of tours around Amsterdam scheduled until we finally get cruising in the afternoon. We start the day with breakfast downstairs. It too is a smorgasbord which is really quite good for that sort of thing.

Julie loved the smoked salmon etc

The two scheduled tours are a canal cruise and a windmill tour in a bus. I decide against both of them and so does Julie, but she decides to go on another prance around Amsterdam. Some photos.

What’s that smell in the air?

An important destination because of Julie’s Son

Duck, of course

Grotesque. Julie wanted to buy it, I am glad she did not

I had had brekkie but decide to get a cheese platter from the River Cafe

More goodies

Julie returns just in time as we are actually going to start moving on the water. Sure enough we get going. But in the mean time lunch is on downstairs – once again a buffet lunch.

I had roast chicken and other stuff

and a second serve of chook

A string quartet of young girls from around the world performed

First of several Irish Coffees for the madam

Tonight is the welcoming dinner downstairs. It is ala carte and we are supposed to dress up somewhat.

Great presentation

One last Irish Coffee

We had not slept well over night so have a relatively early evening.

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On the Boat

Part 4 – the River Cruise

Monday, 7 August, 2017 – weather: grey, again

We are to move to the last major part of our journey, to the Riverboat for a two week cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. But we have been told not to go to the boat too soon, although there are conflicting messages. We had thought that we would go on our other river cruise but had already made the decision that that was too boring.

We have breakfast upstairs in the buffet again. Then Julie decides to go out prancing until around Noon when we should checkout. Some of her photos.

Julie returns at 11:59:58. We finish packing and go downstairs to checkout, which we successfully do. My plan is to stay in the lounge until about 1:30 and work on the Blog because the lightning speeds on the Internet are stunning. Julie has more prancing to do.

Julie returns and we pack up ask and ask for a cab. It takes a while. The driver drives us to the docks, it seemed like a very roundabout way but I guess it was OK and it was expensive but we got there. When we arrive the room is not ready so we settle in the large lounge.

The Lounge

There is a small buffet where we can have some lunch before we check in as well as drinks. We meet a nice USA couple, Ruth and Larry and have a long chat. Eventually I manage to check-in and we are escorted to our rooms.

Well, I am disappointed. I thought we had booked upmarket rooms with lots of space. No. We are in perhaps the second bottom level with a room that is quite small but modern and well done. My illusions were shattered. Never mind, we unload our suitcases into the cupboards and slide the suitcases under the bed, never to be seen again until we leave. Hooray!

We have a small balcony and Julie mixes up a gin and tonic from the mini bar. There is a bit of sunshine which helps. After that we go to dinner and meet another nice couple. Well, it too is a buffet and it would seem that most of the meals will be buffets, which are not our favourites. I pick up a dish from just inside the room where the cook is preparing prawns.

Remnants of Salad with Prawns

Julie’s mostly salad dinner

I grabbed a range of stuff with the “special” course being roast beef which is OK. I ask for horse radish sauce which they bring from the kitchen, again quite OK. When finished, we go back up to the bar.

Julie departing the bar with her Irish Coffee

We have a chat for a while with some fellow Melbournites. Then to bed. I sleep OK for a while until some one starts doing activities. A lot more sleep would have been welcome.

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Tours of Amsterdam

Sunday, 6 August, 2017 – weather: grey, again

We wake up to yet another grey day. We were told that it rains 250 days a year in Amsterdam but, gee, this is the middle of Summer.

We decide to have breakfast in the smorgasbord on the second floor. It is OK.

Smoked salmon salad the feature for Julie

We have decided to do formal tours of Amsterdam today. We walk down to Central Station where the one we want to use starts. This tour does one bus trip around the city and two different canal tours. We start out with the Bus tour. It is not as good as Edinburgh but better than Brussels. Once again we did not take any photos from the bus. When we get back we cross to the place where one of the canal tours commences, albeit the instructions on how to find it were quite confusing.

When the boat finally arrives it is chock full but almost everyone gets off. As we board, we get good seats forward and on the water. There are two columns of tables with six seats per table, 3 on each side. It looked like we were not to have any one sitting with us but at the last minute two guys sat down opposite us. Some of my photos follow:

Looking out from the boat to the Victoria Hotel

Three levels of bike parking

Interesting white building

Very interesting

One of many “home boats” in the canals

Tower of a major church ahead

Interesting kind of draw bridge

I think I took this photo because there was something very rare – blue sky

We finish the canal tour and to be frank we considered it a bit boring. We were intending to do the other canal tour tomorrow before going to the Boat but decide that the one was enough.

On the way back we look at this restaurant that has very large serves of ribs, steaks, chicken etc. We will consider that for later. We also walk by and go into:

A very large cheese shop

Lots of cheese

Cheese maidens

Cheese making demo in the lobby

We reach our Hotel and Julie decides to immediately go out for a short prance. She heads to the red light district. Some of the photos.

It is the red light district

Apparently people saw her taking photos and yelled at her. Julie ran away and back to the Hotel. She wants me to make a decision about dinner for tonight so, perhaps foolishly, suggest we go back to the place we saw earlier when we came off of the canal tour.

Our restaurant menu

Salmon for Julie, apparently not very good

A mess of ribs. Fall of the bone but tough as buggery

Baked potato for a change, best part of the meal

Irish Coffee, of course

Our wine

As I hinted earlier, not a good choice. Any way, we are on the Boat tomorrow.

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