A glorious day to sit on the top deck to view The Middle Rhine.
This morning The Kara docked at Braubach below are views from the boat as it arrived there.
After an early breakfast it was on a bus to the Marksburg Castle. This castle is one of the principal sites of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fortress was used as protection and of the 40 hill castles between Bingen am Rhein and Koblenz this castle was the only one which was never destroyed.
After the visit to the castle it was back to the boat for lunch and sailing down Middle Rhine to Rudesheim. Middle Rhine is UNESCO Heritage Listed due to the castles and Fortresses. The weather was glorious and the views breathtaking.
The Kara actually docked at Zons which is 28kms from Cologne. This amazing bridge was the gateway to Zons.After an early breakfast the 4 were on a bus being driven to Cologne, while the Kara sailed to Cologne. They arrived at Cologne and walked to Cologne Cathedral, a Catholic cathedral known as Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and meet their guide. The 4 thought that the walking tour of Cologne should of been called,the walking tour of the cathedral. Too much time was spent in it. It was monotonous, and Lil was gagging to get into a shop!The guide did show them the area around the Cathedral but Lil was desperate she wanted to get into a shop, a particular one she had seen as they strolled around the square were the Cathedral sat. After the guide told them 4711 was made in Cologne Lil had enough grabbing Kerry off she went.Yes she’d seen a pic of the wonderful Iris Aphel who was promoting Atelier. Lil was particularly interested in the watch Iris had on, but it had not been released as yet. Yes she was very down hearted, so off the 4 went for their own walking tour.Then it was time for a late lunch and a drink, they found the oldest pub in Cologne. Bauhaus Sion.Above was Lil’s pork knuckle so huge she didn’t even touch the massive bread roll. While they were eating a group of Asian tourists came in for lunch. Obviously a tour group with an arranged lunch and not a beer insight. They got what looked like tortellini! Lil popped out to the loo and when she got back the look on her face was priceless. Kerry actually said I can’t wait to see Lil’s reaction when she gets back. All the Asians were gone, they had only been there for about 30min and hadn’t even finished their lunch, the bowls still had tortellini in them!The Swingers went for anouther walk around the shops, Lil needed tinted moisturiser and found a Sephora. Shopping done off they went in search of coffee and look what they found a bakery with the best pretzels and cakesAfter sharing 1 pretzel between 4 they went for a brisk walk over the Hohenzollern bridge. The Kara was moored there and they also wanted to walk up 27 flights of stairs of a certain building to get the best view of Cologne. The bridge is covered in love locks, David and Keith reassured Kerry and Lil had they known they would of bought 1 each! They would of struggled to find a place to put it as the bridge was covered in them.In the picture above is the building that the 4 walked up the stairs to enjoy the view.The Kohlin Triangle also known as the Cologne Triangle had great 360 degree views. After the 4 caught their breaths they then admired the views.
The 4 then went back down the stairs and back to The Kara for a well earned drink and to get ready for dinner. After dinner everyone was entertained by Colognes WDR Symphony Orchestra. Two young woman who were so good and explained about what they played and sung.
Waking up on the boat going down the Rhine felt like a dream for the 4. The boat morred in Rotterdam and after breakfast in the dinning room it was time to visit a farm/ cheese making factory. This was done via a bus. Unfortunately it was cold and the 4 especially Lil found the weather challenging. The cheese making process was interesting but the farmers “after shave” troublesome in the barns.
Lil was most disturbed when they where told that once the calves were born they are taken from their mothers and put in igloo’s and bottle fed by the farmers parents. No bonding at all,as it’s a working farm and they have to produce milk,
While they were at the farm the boat left Rotterdam and sailed down to Kinderdijk. The farm visit finished the four back on the bus for the ride to Kinderdijk. The country side so green and lush, and the bus driver stopping at a new war memorial for air force pilots of WW11.
The cottages around the country side had many thatched roofs.
The bus arrived back at the boat and then the 4 walked to view the windmills of Kinderdijk. These were built in the 18th century and features 19 mills and 3 pumping stations. The dykes and reservoirs control flooding in low lying areas.
The above windmill allows the visitors to go inside and climb to the top. Lil climbed half way but the other 3 climbed to the top. A family of 14 lived in there 100’s of years go, how they did that is mind boggling.
The Swingers treated themselves to Dutch pancakes and observed a fisherman.
Then it was a stroll to see the Archimedes screws of Kinderdijk.
Then it was back to the boat and a late lunch.
The above was how the boats laundry delivered everyone’s clean clothes.
After lunch the boat set sail for Cologne. Dutch afternoon tea was served to the passengers, then it was off to get ready for the Captains drinks and dinner. Below are some pics Lil took from their state room as they sailed to Cologne.
Drinks and dinner was delicious and the person in last night’s amnesia episode kept drinks to 1.
Getting ready for bed Lil managed to get a fabulous picture of a disused nuclear power plant.
A visit to the Van Loon house occurred the morning of their Cruise. Willem van Loon was the co-founder of the Dutch East India company. The house and garden beautiful.
Then the 4 walked back to their hotel via some canals.
Bags packed the 4 hopped into a van that took them to the Amsterdam Wharf’s to embark on The Kara.
They dropped their bags off to staff and went for lunch on the outside deck. Food and wine really good and then they went to the Maritime Museum to look at another potential cruise boat!
All 4 decided they had chosen the best ship! So back to Kara to unpack and get ready for dinner.
A great dinner and night even though 1 of the 4 had a small mishap which resulted in that person having a bout of amnesia!
Museum’s , red light district, and a city walk. No photos allowed in the red light district,to protect the workers privacy. The guide was so informative, he knew a lot and was married to a worker. Lil was so impressed with him she gave him a large tip.
The Rijksmuseum was wonderful museum with many Rembrandt paintings. The most famous being restored, much to the swingers delight as they got to see that being done. Night Watch was the painting.
Walking around Amsterdam the 4 found it challenging as they had to give way to bike riders and watch for trams.
Lil saw a large selection of embroidery pictures pointed to one and said, that’s Latvian, she was right.
There are many pigeons in Amsterdam especially in the square in front of the Royal Palace. Lil had to get some pictures there as her daughter Sarah is a fan of pigeons in fact she loves all birds.
There were many cheese shops also, a lot for the 4 to choose from. All 4 love cheese so they sampled as much as they could!
They also saw another variety of shop that they found interesting.
The Amsterdam flower market is small but the flowers beautiful. The 4 had popped on the light rail to have a look.
Canals, bikes,light rail,”coffee shops” all make up the personality of Amsterdam. Not to forget the Sex, Erotic and Prostitution museum’s, all 3 of them, unfortunately the 4 only had time to visit 1.
The 4 had a very long tram ride to the Verzetsmuseum – Dutch Resistance Museum. All 4 found it moving, heart breaking and uplifting.
With David driving, off they went to Amsterdam. It took 2hrs to get there. On the way there they stopped off at the beach and also saw the Storm Surge gates.
Below is Dixi the public toilet system in Holland!
The guys dropped of Lil and Kerry at the hotel and drove the car back to the airport. They bought light rail tickets for all 4 of them, jumped on a tram and arrived back to the hotel. All 4 went for a walk, what did they notice – bikes and more bikes and the riders had no helmets. Really old people, men in business suits, mum’s and dads cycling with their children no one had a helmet on – it’s not law.