Saturday, October 18, 2008

Half way through posting Dad called us via Skype. It was wonderful to talk to him. We’re so impressed at how internet savvy he’s become in the past 2 weeks. Mom was starting to get a little nervous when it was 15 minutes until we were to meet the group and we were 6 blocks down the way. I managed to post everything and start running to catch up as she had left me behind. Unfortunately it had started raining, again, but this time with some heavy wind. We did meet up with the group, but then had to walk another 6 blocks in the peppering rain. We had an umbrella, but it seemed to come from all directions. We finally made it back, poor Mom – today was about all she could handle. We had a 45 minute trip back to the boat. About 5 minutes into the trip back, the bottom dropped out. We sure were glad we weren’t still out in it. When we arrived back, they had hot towels and juice for us. We decided to go directly to the lounge to have hot tea. We ended up staying in the lounge until Wouter came in to give tomorrow’s overview. We will be in Strasbourg, France, which is a more leisurely trip as we will be sightseeing via a canal boat. Next it was on to dinner. Tonight we had a Tandoori chicken appetizer, cauliflower soup, lamb, and tiramisu. The lamb was excellent, and I’m not even a fan. We had some lively dinner conversation, but decided it was time to head on up. Mom has taken her Percocet, so I shouldn’t be hearing much more out of her J We do have to get up early; we leave at 8:30. As it stands now we’re supposed to have weather like today. I don’t mind the cooler temperatures, but I don’t like traipsing around in the pouring down rain! I’m not even sure if internet will be available, so we’ll see how it goes. Thank you again to all who are leaving comments, as it is great to hear from folks at home.

Friday – Strasbourg, France
Happy Birthday Hunter!

During the early morning hours we arrived in Strasbourg. We went through a couple of locks during the overnight hours. We left our window open to feel the nice cool evening air, which also meant we heard the commotion of the crew as we went through the locks. Today was an early morning. We ended up getting up around 6:00 and getting ready. We went down and had a nice warm breakfast since it was so cold outside and we had a long morning ahead of us. We looked out into the harbor and there were dozens of swans swimming around as we watched the sun come up. For once we were once of the first people at the tour. We boarded our canal cruise with our tour guide Giselle. We went all around the island that they call Petit France. We had to go through 2 “mini locks”. There is a wide mix of architectural styles from the German half-timber houses to the buildings that are in the style of Louis XIV. After an 1 ½ on the canal we got off of there and walked to Notre Dame de Strasbourg. It is another stunning cathedral.

This was where to tour ended and our free time began. We spent almost another hour in there just taking in everything. It was started around 1108 and finished in the 1400s. There is a pipe organ that dates to 1389, very early. We left from there and walked along the many cobblestone streets. There are lots of little shops selling everything from pottery to linens. I guess it’s because we still have such a long time abroad, but neither Mom nor I have any desire to purchase much. Not to mention we don’t have any room to carry things home. Along one “rue” there was a store front selling crepes – of course I had to get one. Mom and I managed to eat the whole thing.

We strolled some more and it was time for our bus back to the boat. We have come back to get a bite of lunch – soup and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. I think mom is now ready for a nap. Yesterday took a lot out of her, so I will venture back into town on my own to find the internet café. Tonight is the captain’s farewell dinner, so it is a formal night. I will have to get back in time to get ready. Tomorrow will be an all day tour in the Alsace Wine region, so I really doubt I will be able to post, but who knows! Keep checking back…

The rest of the afternoon was very nice. I did a little shopping and bought a flat iron with a European plug. If nothing else I will have it for the rest of this trip and any time I travel. I really enjoyed the town of Strasbourg. I caught the 4:30 bus back to the boat. I had to quickly get ready for the 17:30 disembarkation meeting. We will have to catch a taxi at 5:45 in the morning on Sunday! We then got dressed for dinner since it was the farewell dinner.

We sat with Anita and Bob while we had our Kir Royale cocktail and listened to the captain thank everyone. We then went down for dinner and sat with our lunch partners from Thursday (from PA and DE). We had such a wonderful dinner, so many courses. We started with gazpacho, followed by a salmon tartar with caviar, then it was a shrimp on risotto, then cream of mushroom soup, then the palette cleanser, a strawberry granite – finally our entrée, filet mignon with asparagus and potato tartine; baked Alaska was served for dessert. What a meal!!!! I think we shut down the restaurant talking, such great folks. We went up to the lounge to hear the French singer and accordion player. The onboard hotel manager Ferdinand joined us for a cocktail as we discussed his work, etc. Finally it was time to go to bed – tonight was the latest we have been up in a while.

Saturday – Obernai and Riqueweil

Today was an early morning, again, especially after a late evening. We had our breakfast downstairs and then boarded the bus. Today is an all day trip down the Alsace wine road. We had
a quick 30 minute trip to Obernai, a really cute French village with a heavy German touch.

We took a brief tour through town and then had some free time. We ducked into a bakery – patisserie - and bough an almond croissant. It tasted amazing (as you can tell from the video). Then it was time to be back on the bus. We are now driving through many small villages and in between tons of grape vines, very picturesque.

I will post pictures from today at a later point, but we are now in Ruiqueweil, sitting a bench and I have wifi!!!! I can post, then eat lunch here.
(Here I am posting and the next picture is what I am looking at across the street).


Hunter said...

Bon Jure SL! Crepes!! Looks like you all are having a good time in France. Thinking of you and have a good time as you go through Switzerland. L, H

Anonymous said...

Can't believe you are now close to beginning your third leg of your trip.What a different experience this cruise was.Can't wait to hear about the next one. I would say have fun, but I think that is a given. Kathleen

Laura said...

Wow! I want someone to wait for me as I come in from cold rain with a hot towel!! The ultimate in luxury. Everything looks so beautiful and it's so nice to follow along with ya'll. Enjoy the boat trip tomorrow.

Kasey said...

Good Call on the Flat Iron- never leave home without one. Another day of Market down. I am angle-ing to get to go to NYC 2 times a year to REP for Ralph. Wish you were here to shop. I am glad you guys are having so much fun. Miss ya.