06 Sep 2014
Here's a day that beats traveling the world. I had school lunch with my grandkids, Lucy (K) and Eli (1).
You can't believe the spread they have at the school. It rivals the strip casinos.
I had chipoltle chicken, guacamole and cucumber water. Lucy had a half pear and Eli a pb&j sandwhich like normal kids.
22 Aug 2014
Koblenz is located on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Mosel River.
Located there is a famous huge monument of Emperor William I on horseback. He was the King of Prussia and the first German Emperor.
Of interest to my Seattle friends/family, he was the arbitrator between the US and Britain that gave us the U.S. San Juan Islands.
We took an aerial tram up to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Great trivia fact – We all know that Mosel wine bottles are green and Rhine brown. Today I learned the colors are taken from their respective rivers. The Mosel is quite dark with a greenish hue and the Rhine is dirty brown looking.
21 Aug 2014
The day started with a wine tasting near Rudesheim at Schloss Vollrads (one of the worlds oldest wine estates going back to at least 1211), which is known for outstanding Rieslings.
Most of the day was spent leisurely cruising the Rhine Gorge and taking in many castles and countless vineyards.
Contrary to what it may appear, the castles were not built for the vineyard owners.
This area has been a major transportation route since Roman times. River barons staked out their territory and extorted toll from the ship captains.
19 Aug 2014
Strasbourg - The day started with a relaxing canal tour of Strasbourg.
Their Notre Dame Cathedral was the world’s tallest building until 1874. It’s the highest standing structure built entirely in the Middle Ages. This gothic masterpiece is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful buildings that I have ever seen.
It is the capital and principal city of the Alsace Region and the official seat of the European Parliament and dozens of international organizations, which makes it politically one of the most important regions in the European Union.
The Parliament Building looks unfinished on purpose symbolically saying that European unification is still work in progress.
Black Forest - A half day of touring was fine for me, but Allyn wanted to continue on to visit the Black Forest and have a piece of cake.
She liked the trees too. I guess I’ll have to take her to the Cascades sometime.
Besides cakes and trees, they are known for their cuckoo clocks. This is the world's biggest. The people and animals are life sized.
Alsace history – Being a baby boomer, I was raised thinking of Alsace as strictly French, although in the East with wines similar to one from nearby Germany.
It turns out they are a strong mixture of both of the two countries and have been back and forth for centuries due to war results. They speak their own language. Since 1871 they have been French three times and German twice.
18 Aug 2014
Colmar, in Northeast France, is the capital of the Alsatian wine region.
Its “Little Venice” area and quaint cobblestone squares make it quite photogenic.
Their most famous sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi has works all over town. However his most famous piece is in New York – The Statue of Liberty.
I love the solarium area in our cabin where the entire window drops to become an outdoor balcony.
Here I am at the first of many locks we will be passing through this week. Leonardo da Vinci invented the miter lock that even today is used round the world.
It's so peaceful being on the water.