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Germany

Munich and the Rhine

Cologne

sunny 52 °F

After a quiet morning of cruising the Rhine, we tied up in Cologne (Koln), Germany about 1230.
Cologne was founded and established in Ubii territory in the first century AD as the Roman Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, from which it gets its name. "Cologne", the French version of the city's name, has become standard in English as well. The city functioned as the capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior and as the headquarters of the Roman military in the region until occupied by the Franks in 462. During the Middle Ages it flourished on one of the most important major trade routes between east and west in Europe. Cologne was one of the leading members of the Hanseatic League and one of the largest cities north of the Alps in medieval and Renaissance times. Up until World War II the city had undergone several occupations by the French and also by the British (1918–1926). Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II, the Royal Air Force (RAF) dropping 34,711 long tons of bombs on the city. The bombing reduced the population by 95%, mainly due to evacuation, and destroyed almost the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible, the successful postwar rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape.

Its most famous landmark is the Koln Cathedral, which was mostly spared during World War 2. During the War the stained glass windows were removed and then reinstalled. Some of the windows date back to the 1200's.
Construction of Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880. The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires. The towers for its two huge spires give the cathedral the largest façade of any church in the world. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any medieval church. Cologne's medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as "a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value" and "a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe".

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Posted by rpickett 08:35 Archived in Germany Tagged cologne Comments (0)

Munich and the Rhine

Rudesheim am Rhine and the Rhine River Gorge

semi-overcast 50 °F

This morning we toured the wonderful vineyard town of Rudesheim am Rhine and took a gondola ride up to the Niederwald Monument, which provided a wonderful birds eye view of the valley. Following our trip to the monument we were treated to a wine tasting of three Rieslings produced by a local vintner.

The area was settled first by the Celts, then after the turn of the Christian Era by Ubii and later by Mattiaci. In the first century, the Romans pushed forth to the Taunus. In Bingen they built a castrum, and on the other side, near what is now Rüdesheim, lay a bridgehead on the way to the Limes. The Romans were followed by the Alamanni, and along with the Migration Period (Völkerwanderung) came the Franks. Archaeological finds of glass from this time suggest that there was already winegrowing in Rüdesheim even then. The town's origin as a Frankish Haufendorf (roughly, "clump village") can still be seen on today's town maps. Rüdesheim had its first documentary mention in 1074. Its livelihood came mainly from winegrowing and shipping, particularly timber rafting. On 1 January 1818, Rüdesheim received town rights.

The Niederwald Monument was constructed to commemorate the foundation of the German Empire after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The first stone was laid on September 16, 1871, by Kaiser Wilhelm I (William I). The sculptor was Johannes Schilling, and the architect was Karl Weisbach. The total cost of the work is estimated at one million gold marks. The monument was inaugurated on September 28, 1883. The 38 metres (125 ft) tall monument represents the union of all Germans.

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After a wonderful German themed pork featured lunch we got underway to traverse the Rhine River Gorge. The river has been an important trade route into central Europe since prehistoric times and a string of small settlements has grown up along the banks. Constrained in size, many of these old towns retain a historic feel today. With increasing wealth, many castles appeared and the valley became a core region of the Holy Roman Empire. It was at the centre of the Thirty Years' War, which left many of the castles in ruins, a particular attraction for today's cruise ships which follow the river. At one time forming a border of France, in the 19th Century the valley became part of Prussia and its landscape became the quintessential image of Germany.

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Posted by rpickett 07:56 Archived in Germany Tagged and the river am gorge rhine rudesheim Comments (0)

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

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)

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