Great Rivers of Europe Cruise
Kelheim - Nurmberg - Bamberg
Days 8 - 10
4 - 6 May 2002
Revised 02 September 2002,
Photos & Text © 2002 by Len Schwer
Day 8: Kelheim & Leerstten Lock (4 May 2002)
We visited the very beautiful Weltenburg Monastery just outside the small
town of Kelheim. The monastery is very well known throughout Germany as
having the oldest brewery in Germany, circa 1050.
After viewing of the monastery we boarded a river ferry for a brief tour
of the Danube Gorge, which is a narrow region of the Danube that our cruise
ship cannot transverse. A light drizzle obscured most of the views, which
were not all that interesting.
When we rejoined our cruise ship it was now on the Main-Danube Canal, a
man made canal that connects the Danube with the Rhine River. We will spend
the next three days transiting this canal
and its numerous locks. One of the
deeper locks we passed was at Leerstten.
With its 81 foot lift/drop the ship passes under the lock gates when
transiting the lock.
We stopped at the little Bavarian town of Beilngries. There was not much
to see or do in this small town as it was Saturday afternoon and most of
the shops were already closed.
In the afternoon we had a lecture on Germany history from about 1933 and up to
the reunion of East and West Germany. This very nice lecture was presented by a
26 year old history student.
It was interesting to hear the views of a member of the younger generation that had
taken some time to think about how recent historic events have shaped and formed
Day 9: Nurmberg (5 May 2002)
After breakfast we met boarded buses for our city tour. Our first stop was near
the coliseum like structure the Nazi's built as part of a complex of buildings
and arenas for party propaganda rallies. We saw one of the grandstand structures
built for Hitler to address the thousands of assembled party members and spectators.
After lunch I returned to visit the "Documentation Museum" that is now housed in the
disused coliseum build. The museum tells the story of how propaganda was used by the
Nazi Party to win over the people and prepare them for war.
Our next stop was the famous Court Room 600 where the Nuremburg trials were held.
The room looks much as it appears in the newsreel footage that documented portions
of the proceedings. This is a very historic site, although not associated with a
pleasant historic event.
Our next stop was a brief walk inside the old city walls and a visit to the Imperial
Castle. The view over the city from the wall was very nice. Approximately 90% of the
city was destroyed by bombing during the war, but today there is no
sign of the vast
destruction. The city residents, knowing the war would bring the destruction of the
city, removed all the art and cultural artifacts to tunnels below the castle there
were used for storing beer. Thus the churches of Nuremberg today still display the
alters and artifacts that were original to their construction in the 13th and 14th
Our last stop was at the main market square where the famous "Beautiful Fountain"
is to be found and the church clock with the animated figures that march around the
king every hour.
As this was Sunday, all the shops were closed, so there was not much interest in
walking about and looking in the windows of closed stores.
We sailed at about 6 PM and continued on through most of the night arriving in
Bamberg about 5 AM.
The crew put on a variety show that was entertaining, although a bit long in parts.
One of our waiters performed some magic tricks and several of the male crew members
performed dance numbers in drag.
Day 10: Bamberg (6 May 2002)
We arrived in Bamberg well before dawn after sailing most of the night.
We boarded buses at about 9 AM for our city tour of Bamberg. Bamberg is famous
for it's onions and residents are referred to as "onion stompers" as at a critical
stage in the onion's growth, the long green portion needs to be gently broken down
so the onion bulb will stop growing. This breaking of the onion green used to be
done by walking along the rows and gently stomping down the green onion tops.
Our city tour started with a walk to the central market area which is a pedestrian
zone lined by many stores and later in the day many temporary stalls are set up for
selling produce and other goods.
We next walked to the old city hall (rathaus) which was constructed as a bridge
over the river Regnitz. The story goes that the local Bishop did not want the
citizens to have a city hall and would not grant them a piece of land to build
a city hall. The solution the citizens arrived at was to build the city hall over
the river as art of a new bridge.
Next we visited cathedral of Henry II. The cathedral has burned twice in it's
history and has been enlarged and its motif changed from medieval to Romanesque.
The part I found interesting about this cathedral, is that although it is laid out
in typical east-to-west fashion, the main alter is located at the west end of the
cathedral. The local guide told me this was done because the cathedral is a replica
of the cathedral in Rome which also as this oddity of the main alter on the western
Another connection between Bamberg and Italy is the
naming of the city's old fishing
village as "Little Venice" which was done to attract tourist attention to what
otherwise would have been yet just another fishing village along the river.
We next visited what must be a most beautiful rose garden in the summer months. But
the roses were just starting to produce leaves and probably have about four weeks
before the fist blossoms appear.
The tour ended at a restaurant with an outdoor area where we sampled the local
special beer which has a smoky flavor and leaves a bit of a bacon after taste in
your mouth. Like all German beers, this was a very mild beer and quite easy to
drink, even at 11 AM.
We next had about 2 hours to look about the town and its shops. I found an internet
cafe of sorts. It was two coin operated terminals in a fast food place. The terminals
had no mouse but used a track pad instead and the keyboard was one of those sealed
over plastic things with raised dimples that needed firm pressure to activate.
Needless to say, the machine was quite clunky to use and I did not spend much time
other than deleting lots of junk mail from my Yahoo account.
Before going back to the bus, I purchased a pair of AAA rechargeable batteries for
the small FM radio I brought on the trip, which seems to consume batteries on a daily
basis. I also bought a loaf of bread from a small bakery as a treat for my carbohydrate
The remainder of the day was spent aboard the River Aria sailing out of the canal and
onto the Main River heading towards our next port of call, Wurtzburg.
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Photos & Text © 2002 by Len Schwer