Over the next few days, we visited a number of small German towns including Dürnstein, Passau and Regensburg. They are quaint towns often with narrow, cobblestoned streets. Most have some historical buildings or ruins, either bridges, castles, monasteries or churches. In Nuremberg, as well as more architecturally interesting buildings, we saw sites that were important during World War 2 including the site of Hitler’s propaganda speeches.

At Melk, we visited the monastery. The church was the most ornate I have ever seen. Sadly, though beautiful, it makes you wonder about the ethics of a church building containing so much wealth.

On this part of the trip, we travelled on the Rhine-Maine-Danube canal which connects the three rivers. The lochs on the canal system work differently to the river lochs as there is no natural water supply. They use a gravity feed system to move water in and out of the canal.

Next stop: Czech Republic. I had the opportunity of travelling to Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. It is built on the bend of a river and is very pretty. It has an old castle built into the cliff and a historic town with lots of shops. People come for holidays and canoe on the river.

Next stop: Bamburg which is a very pretty town built on a river with a small island and other waterways. It has been largely untouched by war, fire or natural disasters, so most of what you see is original. It was my favourite town and the place where I took the photo.

We visited more German towns including Wurzburg and Rothenburg. Wurzburg was 90% destroyed in the war, while Rothenburg was largely untouched. It is a well-preserved medieval town, with a city wall largely intact.

Next stop: Miltenberg where we participated in the Home Hosting program. In groups of about 8-10 people, we had afternoon tea at a local person’s house. My husband & I went to a lady’s house, whose name was Ursula. She had mostly lived in the area all her life. It was fascinating learning about everyday life in Germany.

Next stop: Rudesheim on the Rhine, another quaint German town with cobblestones and narrow streets. From there, we travelled through the Rhine Gorge with its many castles and vineyards.

Next stop: Cologne has a world-famous cathedral that took 600 years to build, though they did take a 300-year break! These days it’s rarely seen without scaffolding, as it requires a lot of maintenance. It makes you wonder about the legacy that we leave behind. Do we leave behind a building that is a constant drain on resources, or a vital faith that edifies and encourages?

Final stop on the Cruise: Amsterdam capital of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is a city of canals and bikes. Designated one-way streets in Amsterdam only refers to cars. Bikes are allowed to travel both ways and so are trams! Sadly, some tourists have died because they did not know this.

Final instalment next time.