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PART 1 of 3 of 16 days of a balcony suite as we traverse the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers

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Link: https://secure.travellerspoint.com/member_map.cfm?user=Kangatraveller&tripid=971871

Wednesday 14 December was a lazy day of transferring to the Scenic Amber. Launched in 2016, Scenic Amber has capacity for 169 passengers and 51 crew. This all-suite river ship (called "Space Ships" by the company) offers a contemporary cruising experience which will likely appeal to a younger demographic as well as long-time river cruise fans. As is the case with all Scenic ships, fares include all meals and drinks, butler service, airport transfers, gratuities and shore excursions geared to three different energy levels: relaxed, moderate and active.


This morning we had a tour out into the country to Zaanse Schans and Edam. Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood of Zaandam, near Zaandijk in the Netherlands.

This is the road to Zaanse Schans at 9.30 am. The whole day was cloudy and fog.

It has a collection of well-preserved historic windmills and houses. From 1961 to 1974 old buildings from all over the Zaanstreek (nl) were relocated using lowboy trailers to the area. The Zaans Museum, established in 1994, is located in the Zaanse.

We went inside a working windmill that has been operating since 1672.

We saw clog making. People still wear clogs in parts of the countryside. They are made out of English Willow. Wooden upper clogs; are made by hollowing out a lump of solid wood to make a combined upper and lower. Whole foot clogs; where the wooden upper covers the whole of the foot to near the ankle, are the familiar Dutch klomp. They are also known as "wooden shoes". Whole foot clogs can give sufficient protection to be used as safety footwear without additional reinforcements.


Next we visited Edam. Edam is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands, and is named after the town of Edam in the province of North Holland. Edam is traditionally sold in rounded cylinders with a pale yellow interior and a coat, or rind, of red paraffin wax. Edam ages and travels well, and does not spoil; it only hardens. These qualities (among others) made it the world's most popular cheese between the 14th and 18th centuries, both at sea and in remote colonies.

We saw the oldest house in this town. It was built in 1555.

Wooden houses were outlawed in the 17 th century because if the high incidences of fire. This is the only remaining wooden house in Edam.

Edam was granted the right to hold cheese Markets twice a week. This is the cheese weighing Station and in the square in front was the marketplace.

FRIDAY 16 December - Crusing into COLOGNE in the afternoon.

We chose to go to the Neanderthal Museum. Neanderthal Museum is a museum in Mettmann, Germany. Located at the site of the first Neanderthal man discovery in the Neandertal, it features an exhibit centered on human evolution.

The museum gives a background of the migration of people from the savannas to the modern cities with emphasis of Neanderthals. Their life size models are cast and exhibited on the basis of fossils excavated from archaeological sites. The exhibits are displayed in the four floors of the building which are interconnected through a spiraling ramp. At the beginning of the ramp, in the first section, there are exhibits on the history of the Neanderthal named "A valley and its Secret", which provides information on relics of the skeleton of the Neanderthal. The next exhibit, “A journey through time”, is about crucial stages of human history. Based on the main subject "Evolution of Humankind", the thematic areas spread over five sections exhibit sequentially the "Life and Survival", "Tools and Knowledge", "Myth and Religion", Environment and Nourishment" and "Communication and Society".

Here we are arriving in Cologne.

The Neanderthal Museum is outside de Düsseldorf. Apparently all people except for Africa cans and Australian Aboriginesave between 4 to 9% Neanderthal genes.im

SATURDAY 17 DECEMBER - Sailing to Ruedesheim through the beautiful Rhine Gorges.

The Rhine Gorge is a popular name for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a 65 km section of the River Rhine between Koblenz and Bingen in Germany. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in June 2002 for a unique combination of geological, historical, cultural and industrial reasons.

The region's rocks were laid down in the Devonian period and are known as Rhenish Facies. This is a fossil-bearing sedimentary rock type consisting mainly of slate. The rocks underwent considerable folding during the Carboniferous period. The gorge was carved out during a much more recent uplift to leave the river contained within steep walls 200 m high, the most famous feature being the Loreley.

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle is a toll castle on the Falkenau island, otherwise known as Pfalz Island in the Rhine river near Kaub, Germany. Known as "the Pfalz," this former stronghold is famous for its picturesque and unique setting.


This afternoon we docked in Rüdesheim. It lies at the foot of the Niederwald on the Rhine's right (east) bank on the southern approach to the Lorelei. The town belongs to the Frankfurt Rhine Main Region and is one of Germany's biggest tourist attractions. Only Cologne Cathedral draws more tourists from other countries. In fact this town of 10,500 draws 3 million visitors a year.

Rudesheim is a little town on the banks of the Rhine in Germany, an hour west of Frankfurt. The population is officially 10,000, but the town is always crowded and busy. Three million tourists visit annually and a big part of the attraction is Siegfried's Mechanical Music Museum.


Anyone interested in the reproduction of music, anyone who loves the interaction of cogs and wheels and levers and shafts, will regard this place as Valhalla on a carefully turned and polished stick. Siegfried Wendel started the museum in 1969 after years of combing dumps for anything musical, from music boxes to massive orchestrions built for fairgrounds, and invested a lot more time getting it all working again. There is nothing electronic in here: it's all steam or clockwork, some of it hand-cranked. So it's intensely mechanical, with things that whir and reciprocate and pump lots of air. There are panels that open and close, and figures that move in time to the music, and even seem to play it.

The next machine, the Phonoliszt Violina, is flat-out astonishing. It looks like a pianola with a second storey on top, and when Rebecca throws the lever it sounds like one, too. Except there are strings coming in. At first I figure this is a modern device secreted somewhere to give the music a bit more ambience, but then she opens the curved doors of the second level. There are half a dozen violins in here mounted vertically, the bowing done by a revolving wheel, the fingering by little rounded plungers. Think hard about how all this coordinates so perfectly.


We took the chairlift up to Nederwald. This is just below a large monument, Germanic, that celebrate the unification f the states to Germany in 1870-1871. we passed over large vineyards with the weeds green and the vines dormant.


SUNDAY 18 DECEMBER - a Zither Concert in the morning with Tomy Temerson (one of only five masters of this instrument) and Oktoberfest in the afternoon.

Zithers are played by strumming or plucking the strings, either with the fingers (sometimes using an accessory called a plectrum or pick), sounding the strings with a bow, or, with varieties of the instrument like the santur or cimbalom, by beating the strings with specially shaped hammers. Like a guitar or lute, a zither's body serves as a resonating chamber (sound box), but, unlike guitars and lutes, a zither lacks a distinctly separate neck assembly. The number of strings varies, from one to more than fifty. Tomy's Zither was made in 1928 and has 42 strings.

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It was a short 15 minute ride to Freudenburg for the Oktoberfest - lederhosen, beer, schnapps, beer, Bavarian food and more beer and music.


Here are the Schnapps.

We took the coach to Wertheim to see the Christmas Markets.

In the morning we sail to Wurzburg to travel the Romantic Road.

This is the first of three instalments of our Scenic River Cruise.

Posted by Kangatraveller 12:07

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