This is the post I was unable to upload previously. We are now home in Wilmington.
Today we docked in the small town of Marktheidenfeld (try saying that three times fast). We had a choice of visiting a blacksmith, a paper maker, a winery, or a collector of antique pianos. We elected to visit the home of Michael Günther, an artist and collector of antique pianos in the small town of Homberg, Germany, which is not to be confused with the better known, large industrial city of Hamburg located in northern Germany. We thoroughly enjoyed our selected tour. We took a bus to Homburg and then walked through town to his home.
About nine years ago, we began our serious travel adventures by living in a Paris apartment for a month. In that time we saw most of the sites of Paris except for the Louvre. When asked our favorite city, we would always say Paris. In these two days our goal was to revisit some of our favorite sites and to take the included tour of the Louvre.
We are in the Atlanta airport awaiting our flight to Wilmington. There was one blog I have been unable to upload. I will try again when I get home. If successful, there will be one more blog. Thanks to everyone for following the blog and for your comments.
On Wednesday we embarked on what was to be an eleven hour (including lunch and rest stops) from Germany to Paris. We were lucky in that we didn’t have to leave until 8 AM. Most of those that were heading home had to leave much earlier – some as early as 2 AM. Our route took us through Luxembourg which ticked another box on our list of countries visited. We had a lunch stop in the small French town of Metz, which was easily the highlight of the day. Metz is located in the former Lorraine region of France, so of course we had quiche lorraine. It was delicious!
The hotel for the extension is a Marriott near the Opera Garnier. We are looking forward to revisiting some of our favorite sites in Paris.
This morning we sailed on the Rhine River from Cologne to Rüdesheim am Rhein. It was a morning of castles, churches, hills, rocks, half timbered houses, and vineyards. In other words, a morning of beautiful scenery.
Our destination today was Heidelberg, a two hour drive from the little town where we docked on the Main. The primary site there is the Renaissance palace on the hill above the town. The palace is considered to be one of the grandest palaces of the Renaissance. The courtyard is surrounded by four palaces, each one considered to be a masterpiece. Unfortunately, lightning strikes and wars have damaged the palaces which are now a ruin.
Our cruise director keeps telling us how lucky we have been on this trip. There was a section of the Danube that was impassable last week forcing the cruise lines to book passengers in a hotel. We had enough rain before we reached that stretch that we had no problem getting through. We heard last night that the Danube is falling again and most likely will be impassable again next week. The best part is that despite high odds of rain several days, we never had any rain during any of our excursions. This morning in Wurzburg was fine, but when we headed out on our own after lunch, we started to hear thunder part way to our destination. We decided to head back to the ship and reached it just a minute before the rain hit.
The town of Bamberg dates back to the 9th century. The medieval old town has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
We spent the morning on the walking tour of the city and returned to the ship for lunch and a departure to our next port. We are now on the Main River. Unfortunately, the bridges are very low on the canal from the Danube to the Main and on the Main; so we have not been allowed on the sun deck for safety reasons when the ship is moving. We are hoping for higher bridges soon!
In English we spell the city we visited today Nurenburg, but I am going with the German spelling as I always think a city ought to know how to spell its own name. The city is famous in history as the site of the Nazi party rallies under Hitler and the trials of the Nazis at the conclusion of the war. The city was chosen for the Nazi Party conventions, known as the Nuremberg rallies, due to its proximity to the center of Germany. Rallies were held in 1927, 1929, and annually from 1933 thru 1938. Today we visited the site of these rallies and the site of the trials.
Thanks to a very knowledgeable and insightful tour guide, we learned a lot about the Nazi history of Germany. We learned about the reasons for the rise of Nazism and antisemitism and why it is important to remember this part of their history so it is not repeated. Seeing these sites and knowing what happened there, made it an emotional day.
Regensburg traces its origin back to the Holy Roman Empire. Today, it is the fourth largest city in the state of Bavaria and is a major tourist attraction. We found it a beautiful city to walk around – so beautiful that we walked nearly 19,000 steps today.