Just a Few More Trip Pictures…

Hope you’re not too hungry as the next batch of pictures includes a lot of food. Though we always enjoyed the shore excursions, as Peter said “We’re always about 15 minutes short ” of the time needed to sit down and have a snack. We did have time one morning. Here you see a lovely German latte and a poppy seed bun. Poppy seed bakery goods are very popular and I want to research some recipes. It seems in the US that we just sprinkle them on things.

And the bakery window where we bought it…. Doesn’t everything look delicious?

Also on that street in Passau was a traditional clothing store. The windows were full of dirndls, lederhosen and everything you’d need to accessorize. Our guide in Vienna said that traditional dress was popular again and that she had several outfits that she wore to weddings and special occasions. Should you wish to drool some more, here is the store website.

And what’s a good German beer without a pretzel and amazing mustard? One of our favorite excursions was to Gut Aichet, a German farm, that the same family has owned for 500 years! The current owners have made it into an incredible enterprise – they board horses and have all sorts of fields and arenas for practise and competitions, they have a sawmill, a tile making business and they are a wedding venue. It was the most charming place imaginable. The pictures that I took don’t really show all the wonderful details. After the tour, we sat down in one of their venues where they opened a keg and we enjoyed the beer and music.

The big treat was when the owner of the farm came and danced for us. His daughter was our guide and said that her father loved dancing first and his sawmill second! Nothing like a man dressed in lederhosen dancing, huh?

Nuremberg, despite it’s World War II history, is a gorgeous city. Much of it was bombed, but everything has been re-built. I believe these roof lines are original. We kept wondering what sort of rooms were behind all those tiny dormers.

Here is a fantastic house sign, located in a square in Nuremberg. Or perhaps it indicated a business.

And more wrought iron signs….I am forever reeling down the street, looking up to see and photograph them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this last shot is of the incredible fence around the Beautiful Fountain (Schoner Brunnen) in Nuremberg! It was the end of a very memorable holiday.

And this concludes my trip pictures. Thanks so much for looking at them.  ;-D

A Cruise on the Danube!

On this rainy-windy-the-hurricane-is-blowing-through-us-day, I have decided to take a break from all my deadlines and write! Peter and I took another Viking River Cruise two weeks ago and enjoyed it very much! Despite the river being low and the fact that we had to change ships midway through, it was a lovely vacation. I’d like to share some pictures with you; some random ones. I do not take many cathedral or famous buildings shots because I know when I get home that I will not look at them. I like to take pictures of quirky things, that I found interesting or amusing.

We sailed from Budapest to Nuremberg, adding some new countries to our list. Budapest was really beautiful and we did not get to see as much of it as we would have liked. Both Budapest and Vienna had wonderful tile roofs that looked suspiciously like quilt patterns.

We had lunch in Budapest and I spied this charming stained glass window! How funny that we have the drinking dogs in the US and they have drinking roosters in Hungary.

In Vienna we took a carriage ride around the famous Ringstrasse. It was cold, rainy and windy but it was a memorable ride. Our carriage was pulled by Lipizzaner horses that must have failed in the Spanish Riding School. Aren’t they gorgeous?

We had lunch at a cafe before our ride. I found this sign in the ladies’ room, just in case I wasn’t sure of what to do…..

Cruising on the Danube one afternoon, we saw so many amazing castles, churches and ruins.

This is what the hall looks like when everyone on the ship is switching ships on the same day! Organized chaos, but Viking handled all the details with ease.

I didn’t mean to go on so long and I do have a few more fun shots to share, so I will stop now. To be continued….

 

 

A Cruise on the Rhine: Windmills & Cheese!

One of my favorite tours on the Rhine River Cruise was the (free) windmills tour in Kinderdijk, Holland. Before we arrived, I was pronouncing the name several different ways, but it turns out to be perfectly simple! Dijk is dike. ;-D This area has been a UNESCO World Heritage site for many years and is a delightful spot to visit.

What makes the windmills so magical? The Dutch have so many wonderful stories like the boy putting his finger in the dike and Hans Brinker and the silver skates, and somehow, windmills figure into the folklore. I was not the only one enchanted by them! The cameras and cell phones were out with each of us exclaiming that we’d gotten such a wonderful shot. It was an overcast day, which made most of my pictures sepia toned until the sun peeped out for a few minutes…and then we knew we’d gotten the best picture.

There are 19 windmills in Kinderdjik and all of them are inhabited but one, which we were able to go into. They are cosy, to say the least, but terrifically charming. The kitchen is generally outside because of the danger of fire. The downstairs has living areas and a small bedroom with a built-in bed not unlike a boat. It was surprisingly quiet! Then you start climbing up ladders and you can hear and feel the mill working. This was a fun view!

The people who live in windmills, no matter what the windmill’s purpose, are all called millers. These mills were built in the mid 1700’s to pump water. Some mills grind grain and others are sawmills but the guide said that most mills pump water – obviously a big priority in a country that exists below sea level. You can tell the purpose of the windmills by the shape and the length of the sails. Just one more little video….

Later that afternoon, Peter and I took an optional (paid) trip to a farm which makes cheese. It was a wonderful and informative tour; first to see the ladies and their babies and then to see how Gouda cheese is made. I grew up by my grandparents’ farm, where they raised Angus beef, but I’ve not been around milking cows. They are very sweet and seemed interested in us as well. We arrived while they were being milked, so I suppose they were glad of the diversion. This sweet girl is making sure her friend is clean, and right after I took this shot, she put her head in the food and sprayed it all over everyone nearby!

I won’t go into detail about cheese making, but I will tell you the proper pronunciation of Gouda, which is How-dah! The accent is on the how and you need to gargle a bit. (The proper pronunciation of Edam is e-Dam, accent on the dam!) The cheese making room smelled divine. Here are cheeses getting salted.

These cheese are aging, though they certainly look like loaves of bread ready to bake!

And here the cheeses are getting waxed. You can see that they make many, many flavors of Gouda, some of which arrived home safe and sound in our suitcase.

This farm is a family business. The grandparents take care of the babies and do a lot of chores. The father and the boys milk and care for the cows and the mother and girls make the cheese. They do have some workers to help as well. Obviously manure is recycled and they have some acreage to grow grain. The pigs down the street love the whey left over from the cheese making and the birds (lucky them!) get fed bits of cheese that is shaved off.

A trip to the windmills of Kinderdjik should be on your bucket list!

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A Cruise on the Rhine: Signs & Shop WIndows

After years of watching the ads for Viking River Cruises that precede Masterpiece Theatre, I finally went on one! Our friends invited us to join them more than a year ago and we had a lovely time. My plan was to write a blog every few days as we moved along on our voyage. Ha! Best laid plans…..

Though the Internet connection on the river was somewhat better than an ocean cruise, it was still iffy. One moment I would think I was online and sometime later I’d get a note that I was offline. The pictures I took on my phone never really downloaded onto my iPad, which I was using for the blog. And still, after all these years, I find the WordPress app to be unreliable and difficult to use. Thus, I am at home, wanting to share the trip with you and wondering how to do it. {My father delighted in very long slide shows after trips with my mother, complete with a sunset photo at the end! I will endeavor not to do that.} My plan is to group interesting topics together and hope you enjoy!

As you probably know from the adverts, Viking has free tours at almost every port. We always chose the morning ones for orientation and then Peter and I wandered around and amused ourselves. The local guides were for the most part, outstanding, and always gave great advice for lunches and shopping and further sight-seeing.

It’s so much fun to window shop in a foreign country and see how they display things or what interests them! This was my favorite store – hard to decide what it sold from this intriguing window display, but we discovered buttons and ribbons and threads and zippers. (What we used to call notions in the olden days.) The woman did not or chose not to speak English and my high school French does not include sewing and ribbon and notion-type vocabulary, so I ooohed and ahhhed and she smiled a lot. I would love to have asked her about some of the projects in the window display.

There were storefronts with garlands over the doorways. This entrancing one was above a bakery…

…and this one topped a butcher store. Don’t you love the hams hanging amidst the rose bower?

Many, many years ago, the stores and businesses advertised themselves with these sort of signs.

Peter spotted this sign high atop a building. Looks like it was a shoe shop long ago.

We were on a tour in Cologne Germany and did not have time to have a drink in this brewery. Peter was quite disappointed!

And here is the last one, advertising something unknown to me…

You certainly can get a stiff neck looking at everything and trying not to stumble on the cobblestones or be run over by the hundreds of bikes whizzing by…

 

 

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