Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Touch Of Basel...

M/S River Voyager
May 9-21

A morning walking tour in Basel  was the last stop before leaving our ship the next day. As it was a Sunday, all the shops were closed and it was relatively quiet on the  side streets until one arrived at the market square which was alive with a race going on (very 21st century!) This Swiss city is quite lovely with a history of more than 2,000 years reflected in its narrow streets, squares, 180 fountains, and centuries-old buildings. Compare this to the modern headquarters of pharmaceutical companies and tech firms seen across the river when driving on the bridge into the beautifully preserved old town. Clearly, Basel is a city with respect and reverence for its past and an equal respect and reverence for its future.

Basler Munster
The cathedral with its red sandstone walls, colorful roof tiles, and twin towers is the most famous landmark of Basel.

A feast for the eyes...

Rathaus (City Hall) 
A vibrant red adorned with frescoes and a distinct tower

Market Square
During the week, fresh vegetables, fruit, and flowers are sold.

Pharmaceutical companies, tech firms, and assorted businesses
 make for a contrast to the romance of Old Town.

A Morning In Freiburg...

M/S River Voyager
May 9-21

A visit to the university town of Freiburg, Germany at the foot of the Black Forest made for a relaxed and sunny morning.  A medieval old city with gabled townhouses and cobblestone paths and a 16th century Old Town Hall were balanced by lots of students on and off their bicycles and plazas full of cafes...a vibrant youthful energy was in the air.

Martinstor (Martin Gate)
The oldest surviving gate tower built in 1202 and the site of Freiburg's witch burnings in 1599 during a medieval witch hunt...three women were burned there.

Freiburg Minster
Building of the cathedral began in 1200 and continued to approx.1513

In front of the New Synagogue in Freiburg. The main synagogue of the town was destroyed on Kristallnacht, Nov. 9-10,1938 followed by a deportation of the  Jews still remaining.

Holocaust Remembrance

The Charm Continues In Alsace…

M/S River Voyager
May 9-21

A rainy morning in Colmar, but that took nothing away from the beauty of this town. Amongst the vineyards of Alsace, this “protected area” between the Vosges and the Rhine and the capital of Alsatian wines takes one back  through 1,000 years of European history with its traditional homes, winding canals, vibrant floral displays, “country feel” and, of course, its wines…

The medieval town of Riquewihr located between the Voges Mountains and the Plain of Alsace is considered to be one of France’s most beautiful villages. Its vibrantly painted half-timbered houses built between the 15th-18th centuries, a 13th century defensive gate, and narrow, winding cobblestone paths transport the visitor hundreds of years back in time. 

Another delightful adventure in la belle France.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

On The Way To La Belle France...

May 9-21
M/S River Voyager

After  two more “perfect weather” days of cruising with stops in Mainz and Mannheim, we arrived in Gambsheim, France, a little town 15 km. north of Strasbourg, where we docked for the day. A short motor coach ride and we were in Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace region in northeastern France and the seat of the European Parliament. After living in France many years ago and spending several summers with French friends in the southwest (Basque country), being back on French soil was a day of nostalgia and complete pleasure as I “lost myself” in the language and sounds of a country that played an important part in my life.

The Dom (Cathedral), the most important church in Germany with a foundation stone laid in 975, is a central point in the old city. 

Pedestrian area with shops, restaurants, and this lovely fountain near the Dom.

Lots of fresh products and lively energy!

Statue of Gutenberg
Not far from the Gutenberg Museum where two copies of the 42-line Gutenberg Bible can be seen.

Stained glass (one of several windows done by Marc Chagall) in St. Stephen's Church


La Petite France
A historical center known for its half-timbered townhouses and cobbled streets, old tanning houses, baroque sandstone buildings, and ancient canals and having some of the most photogenic sights in Strasbourg.

Cathedrale de Notre Dame
Built between 1176 and 1439

Stained glass window
 During World War II, all of the stained glass windows in the Cathedrale de Notre Dame were stored in the salt mines of Heilbronn.

Astronomic Clock 
(Horloge Astronomique)
In the cathedral, this 300 year old clock changes hours at noon.

Crossing The Canal

Cafe Henri
Site of the "perfect espresso" and a lively political conversation with a local (in French, of course!)