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Sunday, 27 December 2015

Christmas cruise on the Danube River - Dec 26th/2014....


The farther north we go, the colder it gets - for the first time, we could see our breath.  Being the day after Christmas, the town of Kitzengen seemed deserted.   It  is one of the oldest towns on the Main River and surrounded by vineyards, famous for its wine.

 The city’s main landmark is the Leaning or Crooked Tower.  It was built during the 13th century and is distinctive for its crooked roof.   Legends that Dracula’s heart is contained in the gold ball on top of the Leaning Tower, or that his remains are buried in the town’s graveyard, are untrue.  

 We received a walking tour of Kitzengen and a wine tasting before walking back to the ship.

Immediately after lunch, buses left the ship in for the optional excursion to the colorful, walled medieval city of Rothenburg - one interesting fact is that it was one of the filming locations for the Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hollows I.  

Back at the ship for lunch, I had just soup, a dessert, and a few espresso coffees.  I have been eating too much; the food has been consistently excellent.

We cruised on the Main River for a few hours.  I was only able to take a few photos while the ship was cruising because it was getting very cold.

We had a choice -  the optional Rothenburg excursion or the Wurzburg Residenz visit and walking tour.  I had already been to Rothenburg twice, but if I had never been, I would have selected it.  I selected Wurzburg - I had previously visited the Wurzburg Residence once but had not seen any other sites in the city.  So I had the chance to see something that I had not seen before, namely, other sites in the center of Wurzburg.  And I had the opportunity again to see the Wurzburg Residenz, which I think is extraordinary.

The first place we visited was the magnificent Wurzburg Residenz - this former residence of the Wurzburg prince-bishops is one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe and today it is on the UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list.  However, taking photos inside the palace is not allowed. 

From the Residenz, we walked into the center of town - the other major sites were the Wurzburg Cathedral, the Old Main Bridge, the Town Hall, St. Mary’s Chapel, and the Neumunster Church.

The Old Main Bridge was built in 1473-1543, and is the oldest bridge over the Main River.  This bridge, with the statutes, reminds many of the famous Charles Bridge in Prague.

One of the very few criticisms that I have for this cruise involves AMA’s scheduling of the excursion to Wurzburg.  It took time for the ship to arrive from Kitzengen and dock in Wurzburg; so we had to wait in Wurzburg to be picked up by buses and driven to the docked ship.  It was dark and cold enough to see our breath.  Most or all of the coffee shops had closed, so we had to wait in the cold for about an hour and a half until we were picked up.

For supper that night, I had the chicken-mushroom ragout in a puff pastry and oxtail soup.  Then a roasted rack of lamb and  red wine.  For the dessert, the orange mille feuille.  It was another nice dinner with another nice wine.  There was a glass blowing demonstration after supper, but I did not attend.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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