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Viking River Cruise, would I do again. YES

We had stayed away from cruises in that we generally do not like orchestrated tours and crowds. But this ship with only 198 passengers was fine. Seems like groups broke down to about the size of 10-15 people. The tours were interesting and in many places just wet the appetite to visit for a longer period. These will be the last three days on the tour. Enjoy our trip.

Our last days were spent visiting Wertheim, the Middle Rhine Cruising, Koblenz, Cologne and finally Kinderdijk prior to arriving in Amsterdam. Each of these places continued to present picture post card opportunities and memories. So Wertheim is one of the best preserved middle aged villages in all of Germany, for two simple facts, No military importance, Plus when the locals learned that the Allied Forces were arriving and had destroyed many other towns they surrendered( even while occupied by Nazi troops). I have really good memories of this village in that our group seemed to really click together, we had lots of free time to wander around and my new friends Ken and Don found an electric heating pad. Yep, I have been unable to find one in our trips around France, ( lots of water bottles, but no heating pad) So a special gift for me. At any rate I enjoyed walking around this town and up to the top of the hill and the castle ruins to see the view.

Cobblestone street, half timbered houses, cafes and shops.
Yep this house was believed to belong to a witch. It is available for rent on AirBNB but very small.
Wertheim sits at the confluence of two rivers. It has historically flooded. With todays technology, the damage has been decreased, In fact houses are marked with a warning level telling occupants when they have to leave. Notice 1764 at the upper level.
This is still an active workshop. Elderly gentleman has been using it for over 50 years. Still does repair work.
Amazing number of half timbered houses in marvelous condition
One of several “platz” with an interesting English Church in the background
Yes I hiked up there from the village, great views over the river and valley, could not spot our ship from this area
Castle from a different viewpoint, Originally built in the 12C it was captured and destroyed during the 30 years War.

We were back on board and gone by 12:45 Pm, Made a stop in Freudenberg to pick up some guest that had done a different bus tour. By the way, I did not mention, but at almost every stop there was the option to take the local tour or take a bus tour. Being our first time cruising we generally stayed with the main program, except for a few previously noted trips. The one trip I wish I had taken was a bike trip along the river with a stop at a few points of interest, but having just recovered from the sinus infection, opted out.

Cruising the Middle Rhine from Wertheim to Koblenz was really enjoyable. We passed too many castle ruins, small villages, etc. to count. There are supposedly over 50 castles in this area, all used to collect tariffs and taxes for boats using the river. The nice thing, the water level was down, the bridges were high so the sun deck was open all the time. The arrival in Koblenz was perfect. We docked next to a park and it was completely full of tents, exhibits, etc, all dedicated to a huge beer garden party.

Jan enjoying the sundeck
Beer garden covered acres. Had to try a few. Side note the ship was not leaving till 3AM the next morning. We learned from our breakfast serving team they had been out till 2AM and were at work at 6 getting ready for the 7AM breakfast.

The Koblenz castle sits across from the docking area and main part of town. It can be visited by cable car, or by local bus. It is the second largest preserved fort in all of Europe. First settled in 400BC, a Roman Fort from 400-500 AD, the current fort was begun in 1100 AD.

Cablecar ride stretches over a half mile. Quite impressive.
Sunset was beautiful
Showers produced a small rainbow

We arrive the next day in Cologne. Now we had just spent several days there in December for the Marche Noel, so we passed on the scheduled tours, and instead took some friends on a more leisurely walk of our favorite places. It was fun to be the tour guide, look our Rick Steves.

Really a great skyline, These are two of the only ancient buildings that survived the bombing during WWII. Small buildings survived, but most of the larger ones were destroyed.
It is difficult to describe how large this cathedral is. One of the largest in all of Europe. Wonderful building over 600 years to complete.

Last day of cruising prior to arriving in Amsterdam took us to Kinderdijk to see windmills. Really impressive. Have to say I cheated a bit. The weather forecast said heavy rains during our visiting time. So once the ship docked, I left early and crossed over to see a bit by myself. Got a few nice photos. When I returned the tour was just getting organized. As they crossed the road the down pour began. Glad I missed this one.

The Rhine is the busiest river for commercial traffic in the world. We passed one barge after another all flying flags from different countries.
First windmill siting.
Our tour site with multiple working windmills, Each has a full-time person assigned to the mill
One last photo of the windmills, The off for Amsterdam and our flight to Bordeaux

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