Rome Apartment

In Rome we’re staying at the Aurelia Residence San Peitro.  It’s an apartment complex with 2 buildings that are rented out by the night, week, month.  It includes breakfast, wifi, and a cell phone to use in while you’re in Rome.  It’s about a 10 minute walk from St Peter’s square.  We’re on the ground floor so we have a large patio.  I should really take pictures before Benn & I invade the space.


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Bath – love the toilet tank high on the wall

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Shower with jets everywhere.  Beam me up Scottie!

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Kitchen with all the important parts

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Living room

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Soon what we did in Rome ….



I guess I should have done this post before now but …  Riverboats are completely different from ocean cruise ships.  Well, they both float but besides that different.  Riverboats have to be narrow enough and short enough to fit through the locks and bridges on the river.  The cabins (except suites) are small.  We booked a French balcony – basically a sliding glass door.  The bed and some storage is the only thing in the room.  After a few days it seemed bigger than the first day.  The bath was small but functional.  Sorry forgot to take a picture of the bath.

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Those little windows at the water line are cabins – aquarium class.  Most of the cabin is below the water line.  The windows are up high on the wall.  Our cabin was on the next level up – last one on the right.  The top level has suites and other cabins like ours but people can (and do) walk on the top deck.  We didn’t want people walking on our heads!

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When going through low bridges you have to watch your head.  The captain’s bridge compartment can lower all the way into the deck.  The shade covering lowers flat.

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When the bridges are going to be very low, like on the Main Canal, they take down the railings and fold up all the chairs.

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We were invited for a bridge tour.  The captain lowered it about half way so we could see what that was like.

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When there’s not enough dock space, riverboats tie up to each other, called rafting.  When they are Viking ships you can just walk through the lobby of one ship to the next ship.  But when different cruise line ships raft, you have to climb to the top deck to cross over.  Here are 3 Viking ships rafted and a walkway to the next ship.  The blue deck is the other ship.

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There’s an indoor restaurant that we had most of our meals and also this outdoor area for meals.

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Viking offers an audio system (quiet vox) for tours so everyone can hear the guide.  You’re divided into groups.  Each group has their own frequency.  To tune your quiet vox to the guide, you just touch it to the “lollypop” with you group letter.  Here we were 31D.

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This was our program director, Leonard.  He helps keep everything moving and with all the ship swaps and extra hotels we had, he was very busy.

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Laundry was fun.

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Soon accommodations in Rome …

Cologne, Germany

Today we leave the Viking Lif with a 2.5 hour drive to Cologne.  Then lunch and a tour of the city.  Our guide was very good.  He is an American married to a woman from Cologne.  He says she’ll never leave, so he’s here for life (and love I guess).

First a walk around the old city.

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This is an old community well.  No longer in use.

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And then on to the cathedral.

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Finally our last bus ride to Amsterdam.  We got in at 7:30pm so no time to see the city.  We’ve been here before and will be back in the spring.  We were up early for our flight to Rome.

Next a relaxing week in Rome …



Marksburg Castle

After the boat ride on the Rhine Gorge, we transferred by bus to Marksburg Castle.  The buses can only go so far.  So it’s a hike up to the castle.  First lunch and then a tour.    Marksburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is virtually unchanged since medieval times.  The fortress was used for protection rather than a residence for royal families.  All the hallways and stairs were narrow to keep more than one endeavor from entering at a time.

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Toilet open to below outside

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Blacksmith’s workshop

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Tomorrow another day in Mainz.  Benn & I are taking the day off.  See you in Cologne …

Mainz, Germany

Yes, Mainz not Koblenz.  Mainz is located on the Rhine at the confluence with the Main River.  This is are far north and west that we’ll go by boat.  We’ll spend 2 days here and then bus to Amsterdam via Cologne.

We have a full day ashore planned.  First a short bus ride down the Rhine to catch a smaller boat for a tour of the Rhine Gorge by boat.  Passengers from another Viking ship joined us.  This isn’t our boat but it’s similar.

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This is the part of the trip I’d look most forward to.  So I’m glad we got to cruise today, even if it was on a small boat.  I spent the day on the top deck, glad we brought gloves.

Castle on the right, castle on the left, castle on the right, and so on.

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And small towns in between.

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Some with their own castles

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This castle is usually an island – not today.  You can walk on the river bed to get to it.

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Even the train tunnels look like castles.

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Later this afternoon Marksburg Castle ….

Wertheim, Germany

The weather on this trip has been fantastic.  Well, fantastic for sightseeing not for adding any water to the rivers.  Today the cold weather has finally come.  35 degrees and fog to start the walking tour of Wertheim.  High water marks on this building and the leaning tower of Wertheim. Ever heard of it?

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The owners were taxed on the foot print of the lower level of their buildings.  They found a way around that by making the upper floors larger than the lowest level.

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Town square

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They use goats to cut the grass on there terraces.  This goat thinks the grass is greener (tastier) in the middle.

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After the walking tour, Benn and I walked to the Jewish Cemetery – one of the oldest in this area.

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Tomorrow Koblenz ….  Well we’re supposed to be in Koblenz.  Don’t think we’ll make it.


Wurzburg, Germany

This morning we cruised along the Main River.  It twists and turn its way through this part of Germany causing us to cruise slowly.  Even the crew teams passed us.

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The afternoon was a walking tour of Wurzburg to discover the Bishops’ residence.  Sorry no pictures inside.  Too bad because it’s one of the largest and most ornate palaces in Germany and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

One wing –

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Middle –

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Tomorrow Wertheim  ….


Bamberg, Germany

I forgot to tell you that we’re no longer on the Danube.  Now we’re on the Rhine Main Canal.  It’s a man made canal that connects the Main River to the Danube.  It was built in the 1990’s and they didn’t think about river boats when they built it.  We can’t access the top deck for the next 4 days because the bridges are too low and it very dangerous.

We cruised all morning on the canal and arrived in Bamberg at lunch time.  They’re dropping off passengers for the Bamberg tour and the ship will continue to sail for 4 hours through some locks picking everyone up further up river.  I decided to stay on the ship and Benn went to Bamberg.  So he’s taking over from here ….

Editors note with Benn the engineer as the writer all spelling grammar and punctuation is suspended for the day.  So all you teachers out there put those red pens away.

So today is a double ABC day (another bloody castle and another bloody cathedral) more on that later.  Bamberg is one of the few cities in Germany not destroyed by WWII bombing.   It has the largest Old Town to retain its Medieval structures.

We started the day walking through the local market just outside of old town.  Lots of fresh flowers veggies and fruit.  Its Saturday so its packed with locals.

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Next up was the old town hall and a taste of Venice.  The old town hall was built on the Rengitz river.  As the the Bishop at the time who really did not want to share power said they could build a town hall but owned all the land.  So the locals said the river declared the river belongs to all and so the town hall was built.

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The local Bishop had an affinity for Venice as well.

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The local smoke beer being consumed outside side the Schlenkerla brewery in old town.

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Our tour ended at the ABC’s  Bamberg Cathedral and Palace Courtyard

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The rose garden inside the Castle

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Lastly a view of the city from the rose garden

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This is where our guide said goodbye and told us to make our own way to our bus to the ship which was down there where we started.

And now back to Meribeth

Tomorrow Wurzburg ….

Nuremberg, Germany

We left the Viking Embla in Passau this morning.  Drove 3.5 hours to the Viking Lif in Nuremburg in time for lunch.  Our rooms weren’t ready (we knew this would be the case yesterday).  After lunch, off for a tour.

First a driving tour of the old Nazi areas.  This was the parade grounds for party rallies.

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Next to the medieval Nuremberg Castle and old town center.

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Bas relief on side of church

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Local market in old town square

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Then back to the Lif to unpack before dinner.  We’re getting good at this.

Tomorrow Bamberg ….



Linz, Austria

Passau is as far up the Danube we can travel on the Embla.  So Viking offered the tour to Regensburg from Passau.  It was an all day tour with 1.5 hours drive each way.  So Benn and I opted for a half day tour to Linz.  We’ve never been there so this sounded good.  Only 2 other people went with us to Linz.  We had then entire bus for the 4 of us and basically a private tour in Linz.  The bus driver and the bus attendant answered all our questions and told us about the area between Passau and Linz.  The guide in Linz was great.

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The town hall had a great floor with an aerial photo of the city.

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This is the balcony where Hitler declared Austria would now be part of Germany.

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Mozart slept here.

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Vegan apple strudel to go.

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Then time to pack again.  Tomorrow we’ll be moving to the Viking Lif in Nuremberg.