A Travellerspoint blog

Day 9. Regensburg, Barvaria

Still pinching myself

sunny 27 °C

The city of Regensburg is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site because it is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. Still standing are the Roman gates of 179 AD. We visited Dom St. Peter Cathedral. This Church was built in the high Gothic style and was completed in 1320. Incredible to think of all the births, death, marriages, baptisms etc that have happened in that church since that time. We had limited access to the church because it was Sunday and there was a service in progress. Unfortunately all the shops were closed. No commercial trade is done in Germany on Sunday. We did find a few touristy shops open on our way back to the ship. We sailed at 2:30 today as we have many locks to go through. The first three today have us rise 83 ft each over the mountains. One was so narrow we had only 3 inches to spare on either side of the ship. The bridge retracts about 8 feet to get under some of the bridges. Today they have closed the upper deck and lowered the side rails as there are so many old low bridges on this section of the river. Tonight we go over the continental divide through a lock around 2 AM. At some point we go over a viaduct and the road is underneath us. Hope that is in daylight. From now on we will be dropping instead of rising. Tomorrow Roth and Nürnberg. 10.5 km today. At this rate this blister is never going to heal.

Posted by GBallam 13:20 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 8. Passau 🇩🇪

sunny 29 °C

We were later getting started today because of a delay getting through a lock and then we were stuck behind a River barge. The river is too narrow and so it is illegal to overtake such large vessels. So we lost our spot at the docks and had to tie up on the outside of another ship that had taken it. By this time we were an hour behind but our guides waited and extended their time to accommodate us. We did a city walk and then attended an organ concert in St. Stevens Cathedral. It boasts the largest pipe organ in Europe and second largest in the world. And the church while being smaller than its sister church in Vienna was absolutely stunning. We stayed in town for lunch and poked around the shops and narrow winding streets. Passau is a very pretty city at the convergence of three rivers and certainly left an impression. We had to be back to the ship by 3:15 and we were sailing away again. The heat is coming to an end we are told and while we are loving the sunshine the 29-31 degree days are very exhausting. Especially since we are doing so much walking in very hilly terrain. 11.7 km today. Nodding off again. Nite nite.

Posted by GBallam 13:28 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 7. Melk,, Austria

sunny 30 °C

Awakened at 3:38 AM for 2 minutes. Just long enough to look out the window and see a concrete wall as high and close as could be. We were in another lock. Back to sleep until morning. We sailed past beautiful countryside in the Wachau Valley, vineyards, churches and small villages along the way to Melk. This valley has been listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. We passed a Church with rabbits along the capping of the middle roof, built in 790, then rebuilt 1730. Once docked we were bussed up to the beautiful and majestic Melk Abbey. Built between 1702 and 1736 as a Royal Palace, it has, since the 11th century been operated by the Benedictine Monks who still stroll amid the marble sculptures and frescoed walls. When our tour was over, we spent some time in the Abbey Church. We then walked back down to the ship in the heat of the day as usual. Of course we were able to take some refuge from the heat in the small shops along the way 😄. We were back on board and sailing by 3:45. We passed through more locks at dinnertime and again during the night. We are always amazed at how close we get to the lock walls and sometimes another ship in the lock.

Posted by GBallam 13:24 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Day 6. Vienna. 🇦🇹

Woke up in Vienna

sunny 29 °C

Had a good nights sleep. Ron woke early just in time to see us go through the a set of locks. I woke up and we were docked already. We were off the ship by 8:30 for a city tour. Oh my goodness. The architecture, the traffic, the streets and the people. I don't think I saw one intersection where the streets crossed at 90 degrees. In fact, few intersections had only 2 streets crossing! Like all medieval cities the city planners were not thinking about motor vehicles and the drivers here are paying for it. Narrow little streets, 3-5 streets intersecting, tight, tight turns and tiny traffic circles are just the norm. We were overwhelmed with history and trivia and our heads were spinning. We had a very short time on our own so we went into St. Stephen's Cathedral and then sat out in the square having coffee and sachertorte. Back on the bus and back to our ship Gin and I were complaining that we did not have enough time in the city. So after lunch we had the ship's concierge give us explicit instructions on how to get the subway back into town and then return to our ship. This was a tricky explanation as we had to get the subway on the correct side of the street. On the return we not only had to be at the correct station but on the right side and the right level. So we headed off down the esplanade, under the bridge, up the stairs, across the street, up 2 blocks and the signs were the right color and so we descended with our 2.20 euros and came to the dispensing machine which of course was all in German. Well Gin couldn't understand all the options offered on the screen and didn't want to lose our euros so we just stood there staring at the darn thing until a nice young man reached over and pressed the icon meaning "preferred language" and poof, suddenly the whole screen was in English. Looking very sheepish we burst out laughing but kept on staring at the screen so he pressed all the buttons for us and out popped our tickets. So we went through what passed for a turnstile, validated our tickets and hopped on the next train. We counted 4 stations as directed and got off the train and rode 3 sets of escalators up to the surface. Lo and behold we were right in front of the Cathedral. We strode up and down streets, did I mention no streets run parallel, and got ourselves so turned around. Because the streets are so narrow and the buildings so tall we couldn't see the spire of St. Stephen's. A few more turns and some helpful directions and we got back to the square where we started. Now we were pretty confident about purchasing our tickets, so down into the bowels of Vienna we went making sure we were heading in the right direction. So intent were we to catch the right train we forgot to validate our tickets and hopped on the next train. We really needed to get back to the ship, shower and be ready to go to a concert after an early dinner. It was so hot in the city, there was no breeze and it was really humid so we were really anxious to get it all right. We did, and no one checked our tickets thank goodness. By the time we walked the kilometer or so back to the ship there was no time to rest and we were off to a Strauss/Mozart Konzert with the Weiner Hofburg Orchestra. What else do you do in Vienna? It was another great day full of adventures and I need to sleep. Ta ta.

Posted by GBallam 00:07 Archived in Austria Comments (0)

Day 5 Bratislava

sunny 29 °C

Last night's smoked salmon and caviar, chateaubriand and mascarpone for dessert kept me awake so I pulled back the curtain and watch the water go by about 6 ft below our bedroom. This morning we went through the Gabčíkovo Lock. Just one of many we will see in our travels. We arrived in Bratislava just after lunch and rafted bedside a German ship at dock. We went for a city tour that dropped us off in the touristy part of town. We walked and walked on the city tour and of course more on our free time and poked in the shops. The guys walked back to the ship and Gin and I stayed behind to take in the sights a little bit longer. We were very careful to take landmarks and remember our right and left turns. Two lefts, one right, one zig, one veer, two slight bends and a jog. On the way back we zigged instead of zagged just once and wound up 3 blocks to the right of our ship. Or was it 3 blocks to the left of our ship? Then we couldn't remember what ship we were rafted to and there were lots of ships! And of course we couldn't see it until we were just meters away. We did make it back before dinner though! Very important as the meals so far have been superb. I for one am glad to be in the countries of Euros as they are much easier to understand than HUF Forints. Never did know if we were getting the correct change. Just wish I didn't have to pay to go to the loo, 'tis costing us a fortune 😆. We are so blown away by the history, the architecture and the people, so many people. Nodding off again. Nite

Posted by GBallam 07:59 Archived in Slovakia Comments (0)

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