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About notamermaid

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    Rhine, Germany
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  1. @Host Jazzbeau Thank you for fixing the link. Don't know what went wrong. Hope this one is okay. The latest: https://www.travelweekly.com.au/article/scenic-appeals-court-order-following-class-action-threats/ notamermaid
  2. News from CroisiEurope: While the ship is not new, the route in Italy is. In 2020 the company will offer a trip from Venice to Mantua through the canal for the first time: https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/river-cruise-news/21542-new-waterways-for-croisieurope.html notamermaid
  3. This is it: http://www.hydroinfo.hu/mobil/en/hydroinfo.php notamermaid
  4. Last weekend I took a trip out in the car and ventured into the hills, enjoying grey skies and some late autumn colours. I had a quick stop in Koblenz: Yes, this is Koblenz, too, it is the village called Rübenach in the hills and belonging to Koblenz. After that we dropped down into the valley: Looks somewhat like the Rhine gorge doesn't it? Strangely absent, though, are castles and ships. It is the Moselle valley outside the village of Winningen. On a grey Sunday in November it was a pleasantly quiet stroll through the village. A bit more info on Winningen can be found in the thread on the Moselle: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2268619-the-river-moselle-infos-and-river-cruising-experiences/page/9/ To the situation on the Rhine. Experts have ascertained that most likely there will not be a scenario of low water for the Rhine in the remainder of this year. Snow has got closer to the valley, with elevations of over 600m having experienced some or soon to do. That is the Vosges mountains just West of Strasbourg and the hills just past Basel to the East and the Black Forest. Next week will see slightly milder temperatures though. Today I have seen the first "building site" for a Christmas market. Traditionally they start after Sunday of the Dead but a few have opted to open in the days before that, to the criticism not only of church officials. Talking of church: a church in Mainz reached international "fame" earlier this year and I would like to update you on that in my next post. notamermaid
  5. Thank you for your comments on the roll call. It sounds as if you have had a great start to your cruise. The river past Passau is doing better, with rain having fallen in Austria. But also Pfelling is able to keep the level above 300cm with a slight rise indicated on Sunday. There has been much snow in the mountains of Austria and the Alpine region of Italy. But snow is also coming closer to the Rhine valley with the lower mountains now also seeing frost at night. But more on that later in the Rhine thread. notamermaid
  6. Senga, May I just point out that checking the length of the Opal (135m) I saw the number of maximum passengers given as 169. Still, that is a quite a few less than Viking's 190. 200 only applies to a few ships. notamermaid
  7. BayWatching, wheezedr has already said it, ocean and river cruising are two very different things. (US) Advertising mostly steers ocean cruisers towards Viking when they first get interested in river cruising. Excuse my directness, but my gut feeling says you might not be your happiest on one of their ships. Crystal, if that is within your budget, I also think might suit you best. But do look around, the sizes of ships and their passenger counts vary. On the larger rivers compare the 110m to 135m ships also. For a different style you could look at the European lines that also operate on the American market, like CroisiEurope and Riviera Travel. The German line A-Rosa has more or less the same passenger count as Viking and the ships are built in the same shipyard. This might not be your thing. However, A-Rosa has the option of not paying for tours, you can just buy the basic product and add excursions from a price list. The sailings will be bilingual. The product river cruise is so varied these days that I think we can only hint at a few things here. As jazzbeau has recommended, read the info on river cruising and the various cruise lines. It is a great way to eliminate what you do not like and steer you in the right direction. Have fun planning. notamermaid
  8. Heilbronn on the Neckar is one of those places that grabs the foreign (US-) attention more than other towns of that size due to its army connection. This year Heilbronn has hosted the Federal Horticultural Show. Urban landscape gardening and redevelopment is part of the show and Heilbronn really went for this with the remodelling of a former industrial site into a park with new urban living space. So if you remember Heilbronn as an industrial, dirty, unappealing place it might be interesting for you to look at it again. If not in person than through this article from an US-American magazine: https://landscapearchitecturemagazine.org/2019/11/07/a-new-urbanism-plucked-from-the-garden/ Heilbronn is not a port for CroisiEurope as the locks are too small for the standard ships they use on the Neckar (see above), but nickocruises sails the Neckar with the MS Casanova (though Heilbronn is not a port on the upcoming cruises) and Phoenix Reisen stops at Heilbronn with the MS Switzerland. notamermaid
  9. Cruisecritic has been on Vantage: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/4748/ I am sure many are happy to have an up to date travel experience on a Vantage ship. What I do not understand is: Ms Spencer sailed from Mainz to Regensburg. That does not take her into the Rhine Gorge and hence she could not have shot the photo of the castle as the Rhine Gorge officially ends just before Rüdesheim downstream from Mainz. An excursion or a stock photo? Not sure if this reaches the editor this way, but if it does would she be happy to explain? Thank you. notamermaid
  10. I like this itinerary. Frankfurt Christmas market is really good and I like the fact that they offer an excursion to Wiesbaden, a town hardly on anybody's radar, apart from Avalon making a stop there on the Active Discovery itinerary. Actually, they stop at the Rhine district of Wiesbaden called Biebrich which has a lovely palace. Wiesbaden itself is a spa town neither on the Rhine nor Main but on the Salzbach. This is Frankfurt Christmas market: https://www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/en/Apple-Wine-meets-Riesling/Christmas-Market If you like marzipan try the Bethmännchen. If you want to see the Van Gogh exhibition you might need to plan ahead, I have heard it is proving very popular. The Uniworld itinerary ends in Nuremberg, on the Main Danube Canal of course. To be a bit more precise the Canal runs through the outer town district and uses the riverbed and water of the Regnitz, the river Pegnitz runs through Nuremberg town centre and is not navigable for river cruise ships there. Have a great cruise. notamermaid
  11. Let us have a look at the Bavarian Danube and to the days ahead. This lunchtime Pfelling gauge is at 320cm. The most likely scenario for the next two days is a minimal reduction in figures, the level should stay above 310cm. Unlike the Rhine which currently has a buffer of 110cm at Kaub towards the low level figures, the Danube at Pfelling only has a buffer of 25cm, i.e. deduct 25cm and you are only 5cm away from the 290cm which officials give as the figure from which 135m river cruise ships can get problems with the passage. The Danube in Germany also tends to react more to the absence of rain than the Rhine. So, the weather: it is cool with temperatures and weather that is to be expected in November. Passau for example is close to freezing temperatures at night. This means rain during the night could be mixed with snow. Today sees a moderate amount of rainfall downstream from Ulm (good for Pfelling), tomorrow looks similar, but Thursday shows no rain for the Danube in Germany. notamermaid
  12. "Ufftata, ufftata", "Saahankt Maartin, Saahankt Maartin"... No, I have not gone mad, or been too close to the first glühwein of the year. Both types of music have strangely combined in my brain to make for an unpleasant sound that I find difficult to get rid off. The first is what you might call Carnival oompah music in English, the latter is the (sung) start of a song intonated by children during the lantern procession. The occasion is 11 November, both the beginning of Carnival season and the celebration of Saint Martin of Tours whose feast day it is in the Roman Catholic calendar. Carnival (in the Rhineland) I have explained before and 11 November is not a good day for travelling on regional trains from my experience (unless you are at least quarter drunk yourself or studying humans when not at their best behaviour), so I shall refrain from saying any more about it. The tradition of Saint Martin is well explained in this article, just one note: (small) children now mostly use shop-bought sticks with battery lights. https://www.thelocal.de/20131111/15437 As regards river levels: all is well and it looks as if this should continue through the week. Kaub is at 228cm and although steadily falling should stay well above 120cm this week. As of today, no flooding indicated anywhere either. Oh, and it is grey with a cool wind, often rainy with temperatures at night going down to freezing (zero Celsius or a little less in the hills). A November how we expect it to be. notamermaid
  13. G.M.T., With a bit more chaos happening I could have turned into a pier runner - in Passau! For my cruise in 2013 I took a train, with the advice by the travel agent to choose an early one as "you never know what might happen". So we had a nice buffer of a few hours, but things went a bit wrong as when we got closer and closer to Würzburg our train was getting ever more delayed and we were in danger of missing our connection to Passau. We were fretting and my travel companion make the comment "never again with Deutsche Bahn, only in a private car". In the end it worked out okay with making the connection and arriving almost on schedule in Passau. In Bratislava we had one couple arriving back from an excursion five minutes before cast-off. They were walking quite fast... notamermaid
  14. G.M.T. has already explained the general situation on the Main river but if you would like to read more may I refer you to my post #30? Nevertheless I have checked the gauges along the Main to see if flooding could happen. None of the stations indicate a risk of flooding in the near future and the weather is favourable for this to stay that way. Which company and route are you on? I know the Main, but for itineraries longer than five days you are most likely to incorporate another river or at least the Canal. notamermaid
  15. Move over Lucy, here comes Udo The Allgäu region is very popular for tourists, with its pleasant towns, nature in abundance and at the foot of the Alps. However, generally speaking, it is not so much an internationally famous area - Neuschwanstein castle and a few hotspots excepted of course. A few days ago the Allgäu was put on the science map of the world with the announcement of the scientific findings concerning the discovery of what the anthropologists have named Danuvius guggenmosi. Now, "Lucy" is the nickname of a female of the species Australopithecus afarensis and she was a sensation when she was discovered in Africa. Since then, the theory has been "out of Africa" meaning that man evolved in Africa into a human-like upright walking creature and walked into Europe. Fast forward to "Udo" who is the said classified Danuvius (yes, after Danuvius for river-god and hence Danube) and guggenmosi (after the gentleman who originally discovered the pit full of fossils (but not Udo)). Udo (and a few more fossils) is a true paradigm shift as he is several million years older than Lucy and her companions turning the theory that man evolved in Africa first on its head. And it is a new link in the evolution of man. Which opens up another gap to hopefully some time be filled with a link. That is the basics, I hope I have got this right - A-level biology helps but I cannot rule out mistakes... Details I shall leave to the scientists to explain, if you fancy reading up on this: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/new-ancient-ape-species-rewrites-story-bipedalism-180973479/ The idea of human-like creatures first walking in the Allgäu rather than Africa, okay to me that sounds quite - errr - mundane. "Kenia" is just a little more glamorous than "Allgäu" (even the island Crete is better, where they had found fossils of around Lucy's age as well). And the name of the site does not help either: "Hammerschmiede clay pit". Oh well. This is what it looks like: https://www.br.de/nachrichten/bayern/fossil-udo-grubenbetreiber-will-fundstelle-im-allgaeu-schuetzen,Rh9qb0Y But do not get me wrong, the Allgäu is great region for a holiday, especially if you are into walking or mountaineering, or winter sports. Now, where does the nickname "Udo" come from? The day of the discovery of part of Udo's jaw - 17 May 2016 - happened to be the 70th birthday of German singer and songwriter Udo Lindenberg and radio stations honoured him by playing lots of his music. According to another German article, Frau Professor Böhme and her assistant listened to the music driving to and from the clay pit, so it "just had to be Udo". notamermaid P.S.: the level at Pfelling has fallen but is still good at 331cm.
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