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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)

Chile aboard Crystal Serenity

Cruising south towards the Stra

overcast 58 °F

Several hours after we left port we entered the open Southern Pacific, where we spent the night being somewhat tossed and turned with 20 foot seas. We slept, but not that well. Late in the morning we entered the inland waters and the seas calmed, the air cleared and we were greeted with some wonderful scenery.

The morning was filled by two wonderful enrichment lectures. The first was given by South African Ambassador to South America, Tony Leon. His lecture "New Hope for the New World? The New South America", provided some interesting insight in the the future of South American countries.

The second lecture was "Trump Takes Washington, Shaken not Stirred" was an excellent, thoughtful discussion of the situation President Trump inherited upon assuming office. The presenter was former US Ambassador to Morocco, Marc Ginsberg. Although a democrat, he served under three administrations and presented facts and realities of the current world situation, vice ideology.

The day ending with yet another wonderful sunset.

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Posted by rpickett 06:58 Archived in Chile Tagged the of magellan cruising towards straits Comments (0)

Holland America's Koningsdam

Wrap-up

sunny 80 °F

Koningsdam may be my new favorite ship. I think I have figured out the dining situation. Holland America sailors aren't really open seating type folks, hence the dedication to most of the dining room tables to fixed seating. To compensate, Holland has made the offerings in the Lido as good and in some cases better than the dining room. Eating there may become even a better option than the dining room for some folks who want a little less formal, but not wanting to give up the quality - it's surf and turf in the Lido tonight! We all thought the food on this ship was far superior to Celebrity Infinity, which we just came off of. It's easily as good as Azamara and Regent Seven Seas.

We were finally able to get into the dining room today for the Mariners Club (past cruiser recognition) lunch. The main floor of the main dining room was full!!!

The ship is laid out wonderfully and it's easy to get around. There are lots of food options and specialty restaurants with superb menus (make your reservations before you depart!). The staff is as friendly as you can get and bend over backwards to satisfy your needs The entertainment is top notch, not quite as good as the true Broadway Productions on Royal Caribbean, but top notch. The Blues band was superb as was the dueling pianos. The world stage is exciting and they do the shows three times per night because of the demand. Bottom line - this ship "far exceeded my expectations".....and I don't say that lightly.

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Posted by rpickett 12:56 Archived in Bahamas Tagged the sailing caribbean Comments (0)

Legacy of the Incas

Photo Album

Travelers, I have finished my photo album.

Click Legacy of the Incas. to view it
Once on the site, click a picture to go full screen
Click "i" at the top to see the description of the picture

The scroll the middle right and left side to go forward or back in the album

Please feel free to share with one and all!

Posted by rpickett 09:23 Archived in Peru Tagged the of incas legacy Comments (0)

AMA Waterways, Lisbon and the Douro

Castelo Rodrigo and Cruising to Pinhao

sunny 75 °F

After breakfast today, we boarded our buses for a gorgeous trip into the hills to visit Castelo Rodrigo. It is one of the 12 historic villages of Portugal. Its heritage goes back to the 12th century, and town has a wonderful little Jewish Quarter. Again we tasted some of the local wine, cheese and almonds which are grown throughout this region as well as grapes and olives.

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This afternoon, we cruised east to Pinhao, past the Quintos of all the major port makers.

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Tjhis evening we left the ship for dinner traveling to Quinto da Avesadda. We were hosted by the very colorful owner - the "Mr. Bean" of Portugal. Again great food and wine with some local musicians and a little local dancing. We got back to the ship at about 11:00pm - late for some of us!

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Posted by rpickett 07:47 Archived in Portugal Tagged and the douro castelo rodrigo pinhao Comments (0)

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