A Travellerspoint blog

May 2019

Ama Waterway river cruise on Rhine and Lucern April 29th


Ama Kristina river cruise award winning for overall river cruising 156 passengers


We parked our car and got the shuttle from one stop parking at Hyatt Place. We flew KLM got there at 220 and left at 5 pm our time. We arrived in Amsterdam at 630.


There were 8 in Michele's group at the airport, Michele and Doug, Richard and Joyce, Liz and Ed. We met the Ama representative and were on our way to ship. Arrived at AMA Kristina a 0730.


I am getting a total knee replacement when we return home. We adveraged 5 miles a day. I hobbled along but Iam thankful I was able to see everything we did on trip.

Our rooms were not ready but they held our luggage and invited us to breakfast. Every day this was a buffet with omelet and egg station, Fruit, cheeses, muesli, cereal, assorted bread, meats, grilled veg, fresh orange juice and cappuccino, and espresso bar. You could also order off the menu if you chose eggs benedict, homemade hashbrowns, I probably gained a few pounds from just these potatoes they were so good. We finished our breakfast and went on top to wait for the room to be ready.

Jim was getting antsy and wanted to go exploring. We got off the ship and walked toward the train station and caught the free ferry to the other side of the canal. Amsterdams Architecture is quite an eclectic mixture of 17th-century canals and innovative buildings. See that square shaped building as we got closer we saw there were swings up high. Too high for me.We headed back to ship for lunch and then our rooms were ready so we unpacked and took a nap.


Bikes everywhere! Boy was I wrong when I got home I googled the bikes that I thought were cheap. I was so wrong Most of them were Azor brand and ranged from 999-1225 in price.WOW! Remember bikers rule and always have the right away.

Cocktail hour one hour prior to dinner in lounge wine, beer, drink of day included.

We ate supper with Joyce and Rick from Wisconsin, had a great time getting to know them. He is an awesome story and joke teller. I had coconut crab cake and beef and dessert.


I went to bed at 1000 to rest my knee. Jim went out to take pictures I am pretty sure he just went out to see what red light district

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Tuesday, April 30th. We took the one-hour scenic canal cruise in a covered canal boat.

We then walked around Amsterdam on our own.

1245 AmaKristina sails to Cologne.

Tonight we had Chefs table with Michele's whole group of 22 people.

Heirloom tomato and eggplant caviar

Turnip cucumberTartar


Carrot ginger soup

Skin grilled pike perch

Free Range Nabraska beef


Cologne Wednesday, May
Holy City Walking Tour departs with a walking tour through the colorful city which combines modern and historic. The tour ends by the Cathedral where the guide described its 632-year construction.Your floating hotel docks just 10 min from walking center of the city. There was a back up at locks so the captain had buses pick us up and had a 45-minute bus ride to the city.

Cologne gothic church


We were lucky to see tapestry baroque that is only displayed for a few weeks each year. They show the Triumph of the Eucharist.

Cologne Cathedral began construction of gothic masterpiece took 600 years to complete. It was built after the relics of three wise men were brought to Cologne

b202edb0-74c0-11e9-a84d-f58f06f647e6.JPGDSC_0266.JPG in 1164, The Shrine of the Three Kings is the largest reliquary of Middle Ages

We walked around then stopped for a beer with our friends. Kolsch beer the oldest brewery in the area a pale ale.



Supper was in the quiet area on the ship and had our own private table with 10 in a separate room.

My knee was bothering me and I went to bed at 1000. Jim went out for a walk and got some great night pictures.


Today is Castle day! Our Morning will be an unforgettable experience. We started off in a mist of clouds in a dreamy scenic cruise through the most famous stretch of the Rhine River.30 castles will be on this short stretch of the river valley. We met up top and they provided blankets. We were cozy with a hot cup of coffee and ready to watch. the magic begins. I felt transported back in time and could only imagine what life was like then.



Castle Stolzenfels is a castle in Koblenz Germany, It is a former medieval fortress castle turned into a palace a 13th-century fortress.



Castle Konigsstuhl or Kings Chair is now a hotel, This is Royal Throne of Rhens where German Kings were elected in 1346


Castel Liebenstein and Castle Sterrenberg were castles built by feuding brothers. Major restoration toook place in 1977 and today is hotel and restaurant.


After marker 555 is the famous Loreley rock

On the right bank at the bend in the river is the rugged cliff bearing the name of Lorelei the siren who inspired Heinrich Heines melancholic poem. At its best in the evenings, sunshine-the ledge offers a grand view of Oberwesel and Schonburg Castle. Down the crag from which the lady lured sailors to their doom.

I don't know what it can mean that I am so sad,
a fairy-tale from ancient times
which I can't get out of my mind
the air is cool and it getting dark,
and the Rhine is flowing peacefully
the mountain's peak is glittering
in evening sunshine

The most beautiful virgin is sitting
up there, marvelously,
her golden jewelry is sparkling
she combs her golden hair.
She combs it with a golden comb
and at the same time sings a song
that has a wondrous
tremendous melody.

The boatman in his little ship
is seized by a mad woe;
he doesn't see the rocky reefs,
he's only looking up into the heights.
I believe the waves will engulf
boatman and boat in the end
and that, with her singing
the Lorelei has done



Oberwesel Schonburg Castle has 25 rooms for hotel and restaurant


Gutenfels Fortress below the town of Kaub is now a hotel


Pfaltzgrafenstein built in 1327 a tiny castle in the middle of the Rhine that was a toll castle.


Rudesheimer Coffee Abachbrandy is a specialty of Rudesheim and a key ingredient of the coffee. It is poured in a special mug set on fire, doused with coffee and topped with whipped cream and chocolate flakes. We were served a cup up on deck.


Furstenburg built in 1219 is in ruins today


Sooneck Castle first mentioned in 1271


Reichenstein Castle


They served us a German Lunch today and we docked in Rudesheim at 2 pm

We chose to due to the gondola ride to over the vineyards to a Germania monument of German defeating France of the war of 1870.


Jim's night walk

Friday May 3 Sunny- cloudy 55

We cruised in the morning up ride the Rhine. Took a bus 45 minute to Speyer one of Germans oldest towns. Founded by Romans in 1024. They constructed a mighty cathedral that was completed in 1111, It was the largest of the time and its monumental significance symbolized the imperial power of Christianity.



The first Jewish community merged in Speyer was one of the most important Jewish communities in Middle ages at the Bishop in 1084, He granted the Jews rights and privileges which went well beyond contemporary practice. The ruins of the Speyer Synagogue are the oldest visible remnants of building in central Europe.

the Ritual bath Mikveh Here the Jews undertook the religious cleansing proscribed by the Mosaic Law by immersing themselves in the cold natural water.


Tonight we ate with Joyce and Rick had a lovely evening. I will remember the story of the squirrels! I was laughing so hard.


Saturday, May 4th. Cold and rainy Strausburg

Strausburg is a beautiful historic city. It is fused with Franco-German culture. The city's main site is the Cathedral of Norte Dame de Strasbourg with its famous Astronomical clock. The Medieval cityscape and the Petite France district.



We had great guide Eme we took a walk towards Cathedral started in 1015 completed in 1439 is a masterpiece of gothic art.

The StrasbourgDSC_0956.JPGDSC_0954.JPGDSC_0953.JPG69b26050-79b5-11e9-8d7b-8bd27b13ae6b.JPG698ef9d0-79b5-11e9-9ee9-0f4703799eb4.JPGDSC_0991.JPG60f8a460-79b5-11e9-9ee9-0f4703799eb4.JPG astronomical clock is in the cathedral

The current clock dates from 1843 its main features besides the automata are a perpetual calendar, a display of the real position of the Sun and the Moon, and solar and lunar eclipses. The main attraction is the possession of the 18-inch figures of Christ and the Apostles which occurs every day at solar noon, while the life s

We then went to lunch

We walked around and the met back at Grubers for our wine tasting Michele had set up for our group


Wines of the Alsace. Deliciously crisp and dry the wines of the Alsace owe much to the region's location in a valley in Northeast France, the best sites in Alsace are low southern and southeastern facing slopes. German types like Gewurztramier and Riesling are the most popular.

We got back and 550 and went to the lounge for a dress up night. Casual no suits.


Up early and to breakfast at 0730 with Doug and Michele. The boat was late getting through the locks so tours were an hour later.
Riquewihr Frane, one of the most beautiful villages of France. The true charm of Riquewihr is simple to amble through the streets admiring the fine houses Our guide was Monica very vibrant

Stork nest have been part of Alsace for centuries and are thought to be symbols of happiness and faithfulness and bring fertility and good luck79495f90-7e61-11e9-94c1-9d03170347b7.JPG79115fa0-7e61-11e9-94c1-9d03170347b7.JPG78843ad0-7e61-11e9-94c1-9d03170347b7.JPG


Our ship was delayed getting through the locks so they took us to a restaurant and we were served a traditional meal of sausages, potatoes and


Michele had wine tasting for us in the dining room in the back


A great week with new friends and new adventures to be seen.

Tomorrow starts part 2 of Jim and mine adventure, trams, trains, buses, cable cars, cogwheel trains, gondolas, in Switzerland on our own,

Part 2https://cindygad.travellerspoint.com/97/

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Part 2 Switzerland, Lucern and Zurich

Trams, trains, buses, trolleys, cogwheel train, gondola, cable cars learning the Europe travel system on our own

Switzerland on our own. I loved the river cruise and organized tours but was so glad we decided to do the last part of the trip on our own. Liked being able to do things at our own pace. Very easy to use transportation in Switzerland.

Monday depart AMA Kristina and travel to Lucern by train. We got up at 6 and had our last breakfast with Doug and Michele at 7. We got off at 8 and walked a block and half straight ahead to catch the tram. Now the figuring out of tickets to buy???? Zone one or two ??? We were unsure and no one spoke English. Finally, a young lady saw us struggling and helped us. The 8th stop was the train station. We then needed to buy our ticket for the train at the Kiosk. We got it figured out and took 0915 train to Lucern. What a beautiful ride. The second class was great with plenty of room. Arrived at the train station and took the number 2 bus to get to our air bnb. When we got off the bus had a little difficulty finding. It was behind. Our landlord had agreed to let us in early. She was a music professor and had a break between classes. The place was very clean and basic. The bed looked quite interesting. We had a nice kitchen area and planned to eat light breakfast in. We walked to Aldi's a block away to get breakfast food. Bought fresh peaches, yogurt, and English muffins, and some sort of bread. Interesting buying all in German. When we opened a loaf of bread it was covered in chocolate, Oh well not what we thought but Jim was happy

Lucerne described by French writer Alexandre Dumas as " a pearl in the world's most beautiful oyster" It is a beautiful city with the lake, Mountains as background and beauty everywhere you look,

The famous old bridge was not far from us and we started off walking. Spreuer Bridge is the oldest timber bridge in Switzerland was completed in 1408 as part of the Citys fortifications. It features 67 paintings depicting a dance Macabre added between 1626 and 1635,



Museggmauer or Musegg Wall

This wall with its nine towers was built around 1300 to protect the city. It is one of the best preserved and longest wall fortifications in Europe
The clock on the Zyt tower dates from 1535 and has the privilege of chiming the hours one minute before the others in town.

Jim wanted to do this climb. My knee was talking to me and all the steps in the tower were hard for me but the view was so worth. We felt so blessed to stop and enjoy the beauty.


Next stop was a walk through the old town. The old town picturesque squares flanked by buildings featuring historic frescoes.



Lion Monument The Dying Lyon of Lucerne is a famous monument. Carved out of rock it commemorates the heroism in 1792 of Swiss soldiers who died attempting to protect the Tullieries Palace in Paris during the French Revolution.


Supper was at Rathhouse brewery

Jim had sausage and potato salad. I had veal cordon blue.

Tuesday is Mount Rigi day a day I have looked forward to since I started our planning. It would end up being Jim and my favorite day of the trip.

We got up and was surprised to have both slept well on the funky low to ground bed. We took the 0830 bus to train station. Took the 0900 boat


Vitznau to Cogwheel railway to Rigi-Klum


from pier 1 to Vitznau where you take Cogwheel Railway to Rigi-Klum. We bought the two days tell pass for 180swiss franc for 2-day travel pass for everything we would do the next two days, the pass is per person. When we got off the train the view was breathtaking. We waited to0f687060-7e35-11e9-aadc-73efa7b551b6.JPG0dc065b0-7e35-11e9-bbeb-37b9853acb19.JPG0e190d00-7e35-11e9-aadc-73efa7b551b6.JPG0c497d20-7e35-11e9-bbeb-37b9853acb19.JPG tell everyone got their pictures and went further up to peek. We took our time here and enjoyed the tranquility and natural beauty. You walk up a small trail where you are greeted by snow. We d


We decided to walk down to cable car. This was very difficult for my knee but I am so glad I did the beauty from the mountains astound me. Tranquility is around us if we just take the time to breathe and take it all in. Thankfully there were benches to rest and enjoy the view.


Cable car going down



Beautiful lakeside town. We were tired or I would have spent more time exploring Weigis. The boat was just pulling in as we arrived from the cable car. Took the boat back to Lucern.

Tonight we met Doug and Michele for supper at a pub and good beer and some sandwiches. We had them walk to our air BnB to check it out. Not quite the fancy hotel they had but it served the purpose. I had read about the hotel up on the hill and talked them coming up with us for a drink,

There was a free funicular to get up there and the view was amazing. Jim had a peanut butter drink and I had one called the cloud.


We helped them get on a bus and was off to bed.

Wed is Mt Titlis day we use our second day of Tell pass. Took the bus to the train station and Engelberg. There was a bus ride to the cable car valley station.



We explored the Titlis glacier cave a frozen cave in the heart of the glacier.


It was snowing and blowing and Jim was not too sure about the Titlis cliff walk. It took your breath away. It was a narrow suspension bridge. We only went part way but got your pulse racing.


titlis rotair revolving cable car


We then took the train back to Lucern we ate at Pfistern and Jim said he had his best sausage of the trip.


Thursday travel to Zurich. We got up and took the bus to the train station. We took the train into Zurich.a beautiful hour ride through the countryside. We were looking for our transfer bus to the hotel. Well, this was our first travel blunder, We need to take the train to the airport station. Back on train short ride to the airport station. Caught the shuttle to our hotel. Arrived early noon and they let us check in and gave us a newly renovated room. We dropped our suitcases off and walked a couple of blocks to get the train back into Zurich. We walked to old town.


Loved wanderng the streets and found a lovely Italian restaurant for late lunch early dinner.


Friday travel home day. Up at 4 and took shower blew our cercut in room when drying my hair. Room went completely dark. we went down stairs to report it and breakfast was set up so we ate. The manger came and said he fix our problem. We caught airport shuttle to airport.Unieventful flight watched 4 movies. Home to Chicago rush hour traffic.

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