My parents worked hard all their lives, lived frugally, and saved money. When they died in January of 2013, they left everything behind—all their clothes, their keepsakes, their prized possessions, and their money—for my siblings and me to divide among us or otherwise dispose of. I know my parents loved and appreciated my husband Mark, so I chose to do something for him with a bit of my parents’ hard-earned money that came my way. Mark loves to travel, so I took us on a Viking River Cruise on the Rhine River from Basel to Amsterdam. My father served in the army in the early 1950s and was stationed in Baumholder, Germany. During his time overseas he went on a short cruise up the Rhine, on what they call the Middle Rhine.
In a drawer where Dad kept photos and cards and other keepsakes I found a letter from him to his parents dated August 15, 1954, in which he wrote, “Last Sunday Rothacker and I took off on a trip along the Rhine. It sure was nice except that the weather was pretty bad. I am enclosing some pictures to give you an idea of what it is like. There is a castle every mile or two along the river. At least it seemed that way. It may be a bit further between them, but not much. It would be a beautiful trip during nice weather.”
On Day 5 of our cruise, we traveled along the Rhine and saw all the castles like Dad did all those years ago. We had nice weather and it was a beautiful trip.
From Basel to Amsterdam – Overview
I took over 1800 photos on our one-week cruise along the Rhine and two-plus days in Amsterdam. It’s going to take me a while to sort through them all. Over the next weeks I hope to share a few of them with you here. Today I want to give you the overview of our Viking River Cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands. At the end of this series of posts I plan to give you my review of our Viking River Cruise experience.
Day 1 (Saturday, May 24) – We arrived in Basel, Switzerland and settled into our stateroom on the Viking Tor. The ship left dock in the evening for our first stop in Breisach, Germany.
Day 2 (Sunday, May 25) Morning – We docked in Breisach and went on an included bus excursion through Germany’s Black Forest, making a stop at a church and one at a small square with shops and restaurants where we could take a short hike into the forest, or watch a cuckoo clock-making demonstration.
Day 2 (Sunday, May 25) Afternoon – Mark and I went on the optional afternoon excursion to the restored medieval town of Colmar, in Alsace, France.
Day 3 (Monday, May 26) – Overnight we traveled to Kehl, Germany where we docked across from Strasbourg, France. In the morning we took a bus and walking tour of Strasbourg. In the afternoon, Mark and I spent time on our own visiting Strasbourg and caught a Viking bus back to the ship about 3:00.
Day 4 (Tuesday, May 27) – Again we traveled downriver overnight to Worms, Germany where we docked and went on an excursion to see the Heidelberg Castle in the morning. We took the bus to meet the ship that had sailed on to Gernsheim while we were touring Heidelberg. In the afternoon we traveled downriver to Rudesheim, where we spent the evening. Mark and I went on an optional excursion for evening entertainment and dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 5 (Wednesday, May 28) Morning – This was my favorite day of the trip, and the one I had most looked forward to. Our ship sailed for Koblenz, first thing in the morning, along the middle Rhine where we saw many castles up on hillsides and small villages along the water’s edge.
Day 5 (Wednesday, May 28) Early afternoon – We docked in Koblenz and took a bus ride to tour the Marksburg Castle just north of Koblenz, and way up on top of a hill. This was the best-preserved castle I have ever, in my limited travels, visited.
Day 5 (Wednesday, May 28) Late afternoon – Mark and I walked around the town of Koblenz and stopped to have a refreshment or two.
Day 6 (Thursday, May 29) – Our ship left dock early in the morning while we were still sleeping and arrived in Cologne at 9:00 a.m. Right after breakfast we left on an excursion to visit the Old Town and the cathedral.
Day 7 (Friday, May 30) Morning – We cruised through the Netherlands past grazing cows, sailing yachts, and the occasional surprising windmill on our way to Kinderdijk.
Day 7 (Friday, May 30) Afternoon – We arrived in Kinderdjik in the afternoon for our shore excursion to tour the Kinderdijk windmills.
Day 8 (Saturday, May 31) – We were docked in Amsterdam when we woke in the morning. Mark and I had arranged for transportation to our hotel in Amsterdam at 8:30 a.m. We disembarked after breakfast and began our two-plus days on our own in the Venice of the North.