Continuing our journey down the Rhine. For those of you who joined us late, Patricia and I missed this river cruise, but I’m pretending we are traveling along instead of sheltering-in-place. Join us on our armchair travels!
Day 5— Speyer, Germany
This morning we disembarked to visit the historic town of Speyer. The City’s six towers dominate the skyline and the Altpörtel, or Old Gate, is what remains of the town’s old walls.
Old Gate, Speyer
We would have loved to go to Heidelberg, but the all day tour (no doubt spending a good deal of time on a crowded bus) put us off. We’ve been traveling and sight-seeing nonstop for the six days since we left our homes. Patricia and I agree to relax on deck, sip Moselle wine and read in the lounge chairs on this beautiful day. Besides they are taking us to dinner onshore tonight.
Day 6— Strasbourg Highlights
“Another Gothic cathedral,?” I sigh….but this is one of Europe’s finest. We admire the lovely rosette window, beautiful red sandstone portal and remarkable astronomical clock. Construction started in the 12th century and wasn’t completed until 1439. Amazing how one generation after another took on the work of their fathers, even knowing their life work would not be finished during their time on earth.
A view of the cathedral from a tributary of the Rhine River.
The picturesque Petite France area is crisscrossed by canals and covered bridges with their defensive towers. We stroll past quaint, half-timbered buildings that make me think more of German than French architecture–call it Alsatian. This may be my favorite place – what about you Patricia? I love this City steeped in both French and German culture.
Old houses on a canal
I have a story about this area – perhaps some of you read it before. Years ago, I stumbled upon a long trough and embankment that ran into the trees, not far to the east. I realized I was standing next to an eroded trench where young men had fought and died in WWI. That discovery still gives me a chill to think of what played out there – over a century ago now.
Day 7 Black Forest
We disembark early to drive through the dense, lofty fir and pine forests of Germany’s Schwarzwald, a land of cuckoo clocks and fairy tales but also vineyards cradled in the undulating hills. I’m not big on bus trips but the scenery is enchanting. We stop at a hotel and I choose to walk through the forest while Patricia debates whether to explore the cuckoo clocks or the glassblower.
Hofgut Sternen Hotel, keeps Black Forest traditions ( photo by DrubbaGmbH)
Our last stop is the town of Freiburg where I have a long lost friend who was a university professor, but Ulrich has retired and I am unable to find him. At any rate, they didn’t even give us enough time to sit with a coffee and a slice of Black Forest cake. Maybe I’m just sad that this is our last day… but that night at dinner they serve Black Forest cake or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. This chocolate layer cake with cherries in the middle and whipped cream on top is delectable! A fine way to end our day.
Patricia and I are both history buffs so this is the perfect cruise for us. (Here’s hoping we can reschedule it for real next year.)