Cruising the Rhein (part 1), Germany 2016 ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช

Travelled : The Rhein River, Arnhem in The Netherlands to Mainz in Germany.

Visited : Dussseldorf, Cologne, Bonn.

Stayed : On the MS Allegro, cabin 105 to be exact.  The Allegro is 110m long, 10m wide and carries 144 passengers and crew.

Budget : MS Allegro ‘8 day Romantic Rhein Cruise, โ‚ฌ499 per person (includes coach transfer back to Arnhem). 

We enjoyed a good night at Camping De Muk, but it’s an early start today.  We service the Hymer, before shutting everything down and locking it up.  We leave the keys with Caroline and she arranges a lift up to the bus stop, kindly saving us a 2 kilometre walk.  The bus arrives promptly and on time, the fare is โ‚ฌ3 each for the 10 kilometre journey to Nijmegen.  Arriving at the railway station we transfer to a local train to Arnhem.  There was a long queue at the ticket office, but like most things in the Netherlands they are multi-lingual and you just have to find the right language, so after a minute at the ticket machine we have our tickets.  The fare to Arnhem another โ‚ฌ5.50 each and it’s only four stops away.

Arriving in Arnhem we wander down to the port.  As we had stayed in Arnhem a couple of days before we know our way around and laugh to find the Allegro is moored only 50 metres from the camper stop, where we had parked.  However it was not the place to leave the Hymer unattended for more than a few hours.

We read last year of fellow bloggers Mark and Bev’s cruise on the Allegro.  They live in Melbourne and travel Europe annually with their Hymer.  Seemed like good value and Mark and Bev highly recommended it.  So after some research using Google Translate and some assistance from Jeanne and Martin our Dutch friends we met in Spain two years ago, here we are.

Our first glimpse of the MS Allegro, docked in Arnhem. We weren’t sure what to expect.  It may not be a Scenic or AAPT river cruiser but we didn’t pay $5000 per head either. Well where definitely not the oldest people on board.  As we wait to check in its walking frames and sticks with the odd oxygen tank on a trolley.
Well after unpacking and having a wander we are pleasantly surprised. The Allegro is freshly painted, nicely furnished and has two English channels on the TV.  Our cabin is a good size and a large window looking onto the Rhein.  Turning on the TV Pam’s face lights up, apparently the Olympics are on.
A beer and wine is less โ‚ฌ6 a round, that’s less than we have paid through Belgium and Holland. The Veltins is a crisp full flavored pilsener with just a hint of hops. The wine is dry and aged in a plastic sack.
The things you see on the Rhine. An old coal fired power station has been turned into huge amusement park. The concrete condensing tower has a 4 metre high plastic goofy appearing to jump from a diving tower.

We should mention that after a couple of hours cruising in The Netherlands we cross the non-existent frontier into Germany.  A new country for us, so we’re looking forward to some new adventures.

We arrived too late yesterday evening to get any photos of Dรผsseldorf. So we got up early for a quick walk and a few photos.
We find that Dรผsseldorf is not looking it’s best this morning. There was a music and beer festival on the waterfront last night, the tidy up was in full swing.
Taken from the Allegro as we depart Dรผsseldorf. The old city centrum, known as the Altstadt in Germany. It’s actually a very interesting place.

The Alegro berths in Cologne about 3pm. As we walk off we a reminded to be back at 7pm for dinner.  Armed with a map of Cologne we head off to visit the Kolner Dom, Cologne Cathedral.
We can see the Kolner Dom, we just need to find out how to get there.  There are several railway lines to pass under first.  The Dom is the largest church in Germany, work starting in 1248, however it’s complexity meant it was almost 300 years in construction.
We always have a spare padlock with us and the famous Hohenzollermbrucke (bridge) has room for our lock, so another love lock done.
Pam lights a candle for the grandchildren in a small chapel within the Dom.
The ‘piece de resistance’ of the Dom. The gilded sarcophagus of The Three Kings is claimed to hold the remains of the three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem for the birth of Christ.  Very special !
Another of the Dom’s major pieces in the Giro Crucifix, gifted to the church in 970. Noted for its size (about 1.5 metres) and fine detail apparently very rare for that period.
We spend an hour walking the shopping district which is mostly closed, being Sunday afternoon. But we find some odd and interesting things as we walk including this bronze fountain.
We follow the noise to find a country and western show in the square. All the bars are full of people enjoying the late afternoon in Cologne.  The music was amazingly good so we find a spot and enjoy a Kolsh (the local beer style in Cologne) until the Allegro calls.
After spending 4 hours cruising from Cologne, we arrive in Bonn. It’s been another warm and sunny day. Hopefully we have left the Netherlands weather behind. We sit inside or in the shade on deck, the Dutch sit in the sun all day. At dinner it’s like a parade of cooked prawns walking in to eat.

The formal gate into the Altstadt (old town centre) of Bonn.  From the port everything within the Altstadt is an easy walk.
Built on the graves of two martyred Roman soldiers, later promoted as the cities patron Saints. The Munster Basilica has the Gothic look of a 13th century church, but it’s beautiful cloister dates to Roman times.
The cloister adjoining the Munster Basilica in Bonn. The passage walls inlaid with stone slabs dating back to the 1st-2nd century.  It’s a beautifully peaceful place.
Did we mention that Bonn is the birthplace of Beethoven. As we wander Bonn we note that every little square or park there is a Beethoven statue.
Beethoven’s House, it was easy to tell. It was the only house with 150 Chinese students taking selfies in the street.
The town hall in Bonn, very stylish !

We find a Spanish Bar on our way back down to the Allegro.  Sit in the shade and discuss what a lovely place Bonn has proven to be. Tomorrow we depart for Linz and another adventure.

Michael and Pam

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