Friday June 7, 2013

I hope you’re enjoying these riveting accounts, because our watery saga continues! We and the Amadeus Princess actually left Coblenz this morning, and spent four oh-so-luverly hours cruising up the flooded brown Rhine … ogling vine-cloaked slopes, forested cliffs, hilltop castles, and quaint riverside towns (some of them seriously underwater) … while being served a delicious Bavarian lunch (with free beer, wine and music) on the sunny top-deck.

But when we got as far as Boppard, we did a u-turn and headed back to where we started. How come? Well, despite our highest hopes and urgentest prayers, the floodwaters further east (on the Rhine, the Main, and the Danube) are still way too high, and we’d run the risk of getting our boat stuck under one of the many ancient bridges.

Time for Plan #B: What we’re doing right now is packing our bags and disembarking. And what we’ll be doing in a couple of hours is travelling by coach to the German city of Wurzburg where we’ll board the Amadeus Classic (which disembarked its passengers earlier and has been stuck up there for the week).

The reason for all this is simple: with hundreds of cruise-ships stranded on these rivers, hotels in the regions are full to overflowing – and finding enough rooms for 130+ passengers (let alone 23 Kiwis) is nigh impossible. And splitting everybody up would be even more chaotic.

So, it seems likely that we’ll have sightseeing in Wurzburg tomorrow, then do whatever necessary to get to the next place – which might even be Vienna (where other Amadeus ships are parked-up). In this fashion, then, we will eventually leapfrog our way to Budapest, arriving there as planned next Wednesday, with time still to do the planned sightseeing, etc.

There are (as you’d expect) a few grumpy types on board – threatening to sue the ship, demanding refunds, declaring they’re going straight home. But most people (Kiwis and Aussies especially) are taking it well and remaining positive and cheerful.

In fact, as we sat in the sunshine an hour ago enjoying our Bavarian lunch, we couldn’t help agreeing: “It doesn’t get much better than this!”

To demonstrate what I mean, let me tell you about yesterday …

For our alternative morning shore-excursion, we were driven out into the countryside along the gorgeous green banks of the Moselle River. En route, we passed through some of the prettiest townships you could imagine (each with its required pointy-roofed church) – and, at one point, we drove up onto a vast flat plateau of wall-to-wall crop-fields, a perfect patchwork of greens and browns and yellows that stretched from one horizon to the other.

Then, after a detour through steep-sided hills thick with lime-green woods, it suddenly appeared wedged in a hidden valley atop a high rock outcrop: the fairytale, pinch-me-please, spired-and-turreted Castle Eltz! This remarkable example of medieval architecture is fully 850 years old … has been in the same family for 33 generations … is still lived-in today … and has somehow managed to avoid the ravages of time and the destruction that invading armies (like the French) managed to inflict on so many of Germany’s castles.

We couldn’t believe our eyes. And, as we were shown through some of its 100-plus rooms, including a treasury and an armoury and a ‘knights-in-shining-armour’ dining room (all with original furnishings) it was vaguely kind-of spooky – and oohing-&-aahing reached record levels.

As castles go, this place was the real deal … as good as it gets, I reckon. And here’s the irony: If it wasn’t for the flood, we would never have seen it!

Eat your heart out, folks!

PEOPLE NEWS: Another quacky yellow duck was proudly earned this afternoon:

  • Janet took away our ‘So-Long Lingerie’ Award – for leaving her sexy black silk nightie under her pillow on the recently farewelled Amadeus Princess. Malcolm, for his part, can’t see what the problem is.

TOMORROW: We’ll be in Wurzburg, I think, and maybe Nuremberg – but we (like you) are just gonna have to wait-&-see. So don’t change channels, whatever you do …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this page, and add your ‘COMMENTS’! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief.

This entry was posted in 2013 Danube & Rhine by John Cooney. Bookmark the permalink.

About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!

7 thoughts on “FLOODING UPDATE #3

  1. For patty o.
    Hi Mumma! I’m now telling everyone ur on an intrepid journey. Has more cred then tootling on the Rhine anyway!
    Love the Fave. Xox

  2. Hi to John, Robyn Elaine and John…. Wow sounds like fun in the floods for you all. Hope that among the changes plan B C and D !!!! You still manage to keep the Midlife Madness spirit. Life in Napier is good, and both Graeme and I send our love to you all. When my health improves be sure you will have the walkers on another trip. Xxxx sue and Graeme xx

  3. Hello Cheryl – Thanks for the postcard which arrived on Thursday – what an adventure you are having – for what its worth it is absolutely pouring down here today, otherwise all is well.
    Free beer and wine and food as well – enjoy. Diane and John

  4. Hi Coons.
    Do keep the sagas coming. We are loving keeping up to date with the fates of Midlife madness tour. What adventure and as you say, you are experiencing some pretty amazing n wonderful treats which were not anticipated. Yay for KIWIS ability to adapt to change. Continue to have a blast.
    Much love. The Kerks xxxx

  5. Hi Mum (Cheryl), loving the texts so keep sending. Shame about the flooding but sounds like that hasn’t upset the tour. Glad your still seeing heaps of History and enjoying yourself.
    Looking forward to seeing all the photos, thats if ya haven’t misplaced your camera again haha
    Everybody fine back here,
    So keep makin the most of ya trip


  6. HI Mum (Helen McKenzie),
    Following your journey and the ups and downs avidly. Trust you are in good shape, it sounds like some of your day trips are brilliant. We’ve all come down with the flu – first Mia, then me and now Frankie looks like she is getting it. Lovely weekend, although a lot of rain in Auckland (hardly surprising). Love you loads Julie xxx

  7. To Shirley & Al Wonderful to hear you are all making the best of your trip and managing some unforeseen adventures along the way!!! Alls well with all of us, brilliant day today but no free lunch. David & Di now on their ship heading in the opposite direction to you so hopefully better weather.
    See you on the weekend, safe journey home.
    Love Paula & ALL the gang xx

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