AMA RIVER CRUISE Rhine River - trip report
Rhine River cruise on the AMAPRIMA. We cruised on the AmaPrima, a small boutique luxury river cruise ship. The cruise began in Amsterdam and visited four countries - The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, ending in Basel. We viewed Rhine castles, and visited charming towns on the river. Though we have had many cruises, this was our first river cruise, and we loved it. Only 120 passengers, incredibly easy boarding and disembarking, first class accommodations, great cuisine, and fun excursions. And a lovely cross section of passengers. We definitely plan to do more.
During our cruise the ship was being decorated for the holidays. And we were treated to classical and holiday music in the lounge.
RHINE CASTLES AND TOWNS
Leaving Amsterdam we cruised a long to the Rhine River by way of a canal and connecting rivers. When we reached the Rhine we traveled along a stretch of about 30 miles with dozens of castles, charming little towns and vineyards.
We visited Rudesheim, and took a hike though the very charming old German town, up to the vineyards above the town.
That evening we returned to town to visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet which is a museum of automated musical instruments. The tour was narrated by a very animated and amusing guide.
We then visited Heidelberg, the home of Germany’s oldest University. We visited the partly destroyed palace above the town, which provided great views of the town, the river and the posh neighborhood just across the river.
The undestroyed part of the palace included some interesting buildings and statues. Check out this guy’s pants! (They are actually a form of armor with padding inside.)
Inside the wine cellar there are some huge wine casks, including one you can dance on.
The grounds around the palace are extensive and provide some interesting sights -various sculptures, grottos and such. Here is Bacchus who has emptied his wine jug.
Our lovely guide then took us through town, visiting the cathedral, the Heidelberg University Library, and other monuments.
We then crossed the bridge pausing to rub the mirror held by the famous monkey next to the bridge. This is said to bring good luck or wealth. We feel fortunate to already have much good luck, but what the heck we rubbed it anyway! Why not?
This is a lovely town that we will surely revisit one day. This city has been part of France or Germany – back and forth about 5 times in the last couple centuries. It is in France now as a result of WWII. Here is the road through town that is blocked to traffic, in holiday decoration, and lined with very good boutiques, and cafes. We had a great lunch at very French bistro. And I found some nice things in the shops along here.
One part of town is called “Petite France” and is really postcard charming.
Central Strasbourg is surrounded by canals.
And there are many little bridges that open to allow boats to pass. Here is one bridge, in Petite France, before and after opening for a boat to pass.
I found the architecture of the town in general to be really interesting.
We stopped for tea and rest at this place on the left, a hotel near the cathedral. It is said to have 77 windows and is very quaint inside and out. The tall narrow building in the middle of the right picture shows a total of 8 floors, diminishing in size. The ground floor, three upper floors with white stucco, and then four more floors with dormer windows jutting from the roof. Remarkable use of tight space.
Finally, we visited the cathedral and its remarkable complex clock with all kinds of moving figures dating back 5 centuries.
We returned to our ship which displayed its still evolving decorations inside and out.
So you have never heard of Riquewihr. Well neither had we. But it turns out that his town has been named the most beautiful town in France, and rightly so. It has endless charms that cannot be exhausted on a short visit.
Here is a tiny fraction of the marvelous gingerbread houses this town is packed with - along with an ancient clock tower and a drawbridge guarding a gate to the walled town.
We of course stopped for some wine in one of the many tasting shops. This one dating back to 1579. We tried three wine shops and were in pretty good spirits in the end. We bought several bottles to enjoy on our cruise.
Outside the town walls are walks and gardens just as pretty as the walled town but less ornate. I found a nice likeness in the town.
After leaving Riquewihr we embarked on the long upriver cruise to Basel, rising through dramatic locks that our ship barely fit into.
That's it for our report on our AMA river cruise. We really enjoyed it and look forward to another river cruise.