A Travellerspoint blog

Munich and the Rhine

AMAKristina

overcast 50 °F

As there was a threat of rain today, we decided to take our 'rest day', which we usually do on every cruise, just to relax and enjoy the quiet on the ship.

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AMAKristina is the newest ship in AMA's fleet, sailing on only it's third cruise. It is state of the art in every way and a pleasure to be on.

TECHNICAL DATA
Built 2017 Built in Netherlands Length 443 Width 38 Crew 50 Staterooms 79 Suites 4 Registry Switzerland

It is a sister ship to the AmaViola and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in operation. Exclusive Twin Balconies are available in most staterooms, which measure a spacious 210-235 sq. feet, with four suites measuring 350 sq. feet. Passengers will enjoy gourmet dining with free-flowing fine wines at multiple onboard dining venues; a heated sun deck swimming pool with a ‘swim-up’ bar; fitness center and spa; complimentary ship-wide Wi-Fi and in-room Internet and entertainment on demand; and a fleet of bicycles carried onboard for passengers to enjoy on their own or on guided bike tours.

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Posted by rpickett 02:05 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Munich and the Rhine

Kehl and Strasbourg

sunny 66 °F

After cruising for the afternoon and early evening, we tied up in Kehl Germany, right across the river from the wonderful town of Strasbourg France.

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Before the 5th century, the city was known as Argantorati, a Celtic Gaulish name Latinized first as Argentorate , and then as Argentoratum. That Gaulish name is a compound of -rati, the Gaulish word for fortified enclosures, cognate to the Old Irish ráth , and arganto(n) the Gaulish word for silver, but also any precious metal, particularly gold, suggesting either a fortified enclosure located by a river gold mining site, or hoarding gold mined in the nearby rivers. After the 5h century, the city became known by a completely different name Gallicized as Strasbourg . Gregory of Tours was the first to mention the name change: in the tenth book of his History of the Franks written shortly after 590 he said that Egidius, Bishop of Reims, accused of plotting against King Childebert II of Austrasia in favor of his uncle King Chilperic I of Neustria, was tried by a synod of Austrasian bishops in Metz in November 590, found guilty and removed from the priesthood, then taken "ad Argentoratensem urbem, quam nunc Strateburgum vocant" ("to the city of Argentoratum, which they now call Strateburgus"), where he was exiled. Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is immersed in the Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the second largest in France, and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture. The largest Islamic place of worship in France, the Strasbourg Grand Mosque, was inaugurated by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls on 27 September 2012.

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Strasbourg is also the home of a wonderful Cathedral. Strasbourg Cathedral de Notre-Dame is known as one of the most beautiful gothic cathedrals in Europe. The Cathedral stands on the exact site of a roman temple built on a little hill above the muddy ground. The first version of the church was starting to be built during 1015 by proposal of Bishop Werner von Habsburg, but fire destroyed most of the original Romanesque building. By the time that cathedral was being renovated (at the end of the 12th century, this time with red stones carried from the nearby mountains of Vosges), the gothic architectural style has reached Alsace and the future cathedral was starting to develop all characteristics of gothic aesthetics. The project of the first cathedral in Alsace was handed to craftsman and stonemasons who had already worked on the also famous gothic cathedral in Chartres. The cathedral greatly contributes to the history of Gothic sculpture. The façade of the southern cross bar is decorated with the famous Church and Synagogue from the same workshop than produced the remarkable inside pillar of the Angels (1230-1250). While previous façades were certainly drawn prior to construction, Strasbourg has one of the earliest façades whose construction is inconceivable without prior drawing. The statues, dating from the 13th to the 15th century, located above the triple portal of the Gothic façade, depict the Prophets, the Wise and Mad virgins and the Virtues and Vices.
Inside, it is possible to admire the high Gothic styled baptistery made by Dotzinger (1453), the magnificent pulpit decorated with numerous statuettes sculpted by Hans Hammer in 1485, the Mount of Olives in the northern transept by Nicolas Roeder (1498), and the St. Lawrence's portal dating from the middle Ages.

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Posted by rpickett 08:29 Archived in France Tagged strasbourg Comments (1)

Munich and the Rhine

Munich to Basel, and Riquewihr

sunny 53 °F

After a sobering day at Dachua we completed our tour of the Bier Kellers with a stop at the Hofbrau House. As it was the day of the spring celebration, it was hopping but the service was horrible. Bier Madchens have been replace with a number of middle Eastern waiters. Just not the same...

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Yesterday our only task was the 5 hour plus train ride from Munich to Basel, switching trains in Ulm, to get to our awaiting riverboat AMAKristina, on the Rhine river. We arrived without a hitch, and enjoyed the German countryside.

After unpacking it was time for the Captain's Welcome aboard cocktail party, and the dinner for our group in the specialty restaurant!
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Today we visited the wonderful little town of Riquewihr, France in the middle of the southern Alsace wine region. A popular tourist attraction for its historical architecture, Riquewihr is also known for the Riesling and other great wines produced in the village. Riquewihr looks today more or less as it did in the 16th century. It is officially one of the most beautiful villages in France, or Les plus beaux villages de France. Originally the property of the Dukes of Württemberg, the town was converted to Protestantism in the 16th century. Historically, Riquewihr served as a Winzerdorf or "wine village" as a trading hub for Alsatian and German wine.

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We arrived back at the ship for lunch and continued on down the Rhine towards Amsterdam.
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Posted by rpickett 08:22 Archived in Germany Tagged riquewihr Comments (0)

Munich and the Rhine

Dachau

sunny 58 °F

We finished up the day yesterday with a trip to the Lowenbrau Keller for dinner. "For over 130 years, our beer garden has been one of the most popular in the city. No wonder, since our old chestnut trees offer a lot of shade even during the hottest of summers to relish a cold, fresh pint of Löwenbräu. Or would you prefer a Radler (beer mixed with lemon flavoured soda) or an Apfelschorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water)?
Independent of our numerous sun terraces and the pub garden, our beer garden is a “real traditional” beer garden, which means that bringing along your own meal is expressly permitted according to a decree from 1812.

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Today we took a guided tour to the Nazi Concentration Camp at Dachua. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. Opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded. The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or Arbeitskommandos, and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria.[4] The camps were liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945. Prisoners lived in constant fear of brutal treatment and terror detention including standing cells, floggings, the so-called tree or pole hanging, and standing at attention for extremely long periods. There were 32,000 documented deaths at the camp, and thousands that are undocumented. Approximately 10,000 of the 30,000 prisoners were sick at the time of liberation. In the postwar years the Dachau facility served to hold SS soldiers awaiting trial. After 1948, it held ethnic Germans who had been expelled from eastern Europe and were awaiting resettlement, and also was used for a time as a United States military base during the occupation. It was finally closed in 1960. It is a site that all should visit to experience the horror of the Halocaust.

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Posted by rpickett 08:25 Archived in Germany Tagged dachau Comments (0)

Munich and the Rhine

Munich

semi-overcast 50 °F

Off again on another adventure. We traveled from Charleston to Munich. We fly Iceland Air from Dulles, because their Saga Class (business) is about 1/2 the cost of other business class air. We do change planes in Keflavik, Iceland though, but it gives you a chance to stretch your legs.

Our hotel is a Sofitel on Bayerstasse, right next to the Hauptbahnhof or main train station. This makes it very convenient to get around. Dinner the first night was at the Augustiner-Keller, the oldest bier garden in Germany. The gardens are closed as Munich is still getting snow showers, but we ate in the restaurant.
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This morning we boarded the Grey Line Hop On, Hop Off bus and toured the city. Our firs stop was Marienplatz. Marienplatz was named after the Mariensäule, a Marian column erected in its centre in 1638 to celebrate the end of Swedish occupation. Today the Marienplatz is dominated by the New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) on the north side. The Glockenspiel in the tower of the new city hall was inspired by these tournaments, and draws millions of tourists a year. At the east side Munich's Old City Hall (Altes Rathaus) is located. It's a gothic council hall and ballroom and tower, which have been reconstructed.
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We then toured Schloss Nymphenberg. The palace was commissioned by the prince-electoral couple Ferdinand Maria and Henriette Adelaide of Savoy to the designs of the Italian architect Agostino Barelli in 1664 after the birth of their son Maximilian II Emanuel. The central pavilion was completed in 1675. As a building material it utilised limestone from Kelheim. The castle was gradually expanded and transformed over the years.

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Our final stop for the day was the BMW museum and world. BMW is celebrating 100 years of innovation in aircraft engines in the early days, and then motorcycles and fine motor cars. In the early 2000's it added Rolls Royce to its collection!

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Posted by rpickett 12:01 Archived in Germany Tagged munich Comments (0)

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