gmhTODAY 16 gmhToday Sept Oct 2017 - Page 92

engines with little vibration, noise or pollution. Rooms vary between 445 and 135 square feet. Our room had a veranda and measured 205 square feet. It was well appointed with a step-up efficient bathroom. The rooms are well insulated and we rarely heard anything from the adjoining rooms. Dining on the Alruna was always a pleasant experience. Thankfully the portions were more European than American. Guests had the option of dining in the second floor dining room or out on the third floor bow area which usually had a buffet style offering. The staff quickly got to know our preferences and often anticipated those preferences before we said a word. We fell in love with the coffee machines located on both sides of the ship at every level. They produced perfect lattes, cappuccinos and espressos. I could easily write at length about each day, each excursion and each port but that would take more writingreading energy than you and I might want to utilize. So, we will settle for a few highlights. Not long after turning in our first night we noticed a slight shutter on the ship. Opening the curtains, we realized we were descending into a lock, the wall of which was a mere arm length from our balcony. We found it fascinating. The next morning, we were excited to share our discovery with other passengers. All we got from the Europeans and Easterners was a ho-hum reaction. We were lock nubbies and had thought the experience a big deal — they didn’t. Checking with the ship staff, we found out that we had passed through four locks that night and would pass through a total of eleven on the journey. The river cruises have a varied schedule. Some days we sailed at night; other days we sailed most of the day; other days we sailed into one port in the morning with passengers leaving for an excursion and catching up with the ship at another port down the river. The lack of a set pattern keeps things interesting. In almost every port there are included excursions as well as optional ones for guests to choose from—for an additional fee. We partook of both and had some wonderful adventures. From Breach, Germany we bused to Colmar, France — a preserved medieval village with 9th century streets and a 13th century Gothic church and old town. Most tours include a heavy dose of history that can be tedious and fascinating at the same time. The museums, cathedrals and everyday buildings are inspiring and overwhelming, especially from our limited American perspective. One interesting little tidbit was shared by a guide. Colmar is in the Alsatian region. The guide explained that the last four generations of his Alsatian family have been under German rule, then French, then Nazi German and currently back to France. By the way, the road sign into the city is in French (Colmar), German (Kolmar) and Alsatian (Colmer). In Strasbourg we went on a day long food excursion tour. What a great experience! Our tour guide lead us to a number of small local shops: a cheese shop, a bakery, a small wine shop, a gelato shop, and then to what resembled a pizza shop where we were given the opportunity to make a flambée which is the Alsatian version of a flat bread pizza. Oh, I almost forgot we also got to sample several local beers. In between visiting shops and eating, we visited the beautiful Strasbourg cathedral which was just breathtaking. It was enormous, elegant and just dripping in historical importance. At the end of the day, we went back to the ship for dinner and again were happy for the European portions. On the fourth day, we docked near the town of Rudesheim 92 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 gmhtoday.com engines with little vibration, noise or pollution. Rooms vary between 445 and 135 square feet. Our room had a veranda and measured 205 square feet. It was well appointed with a step-up efficient bathroom. The rooms are well insulated and we rarely heard anything from the adjoining rooms. Dining on the Alruna was always a pleasant experience. Thankfully the portions were more European than American. Guests had the option of dining in the second floor dining room or out on the third floor bow area which usually had a buffet style offering. The staff quickly got to know our preferences and often anticipated those preferences before we said a word. We fell in love with the coffee machines located on both sides of the ship at every level. They produced perfect lattes, cappuccinos and espressos. I could easily write at length about each day, each excursion and each port but that would take more writing- reading energy than you and I might want to utilize. So, we will settle for a few highlights. Not long after turning in our first night we noticed a slight shutter on the ship. Opening the curtains, we realized we were descending into a lock, the wall of which was a mere arm length from our balcony. We found it fascinating. The next morning, we were excited to share our discovery with other passengers. All we got from the Europeans and Easterners was a ho-hum reaction. We were lock nubbies and had thought the experience a big deal — they didn’t. Checking with the ship staff, we found out that we had passed through four locks that night and would pass through a total of eleven on the journey. The river cruises have a varied schedule. Some days we sailed at night; other days we sailed most of the day; other days we sailed into one port in the morning with passengers 92 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN leaving for an excursion and catching up with the ship at another port down the river. The lack of a set pattern keeps things interesting. In almost WfW''BFW&R&R6VFVBW7W'622vV2FW2f"wVW7G2F66Rg&( Ff"FFFfVRvR'Fb&FBB6RvFW&gVGfVGW&W2g&'&V6vW&vR'W6VBF6"g&6R( B&W6W'fVBVFWffvRvFF6VGW'7G&VWG2B7F6VGW'vF26W&6BBFv7BFW'26VFPVgF6Rb7F'FB6&RFVFW2Bf66FpBFR6RFRFRW6WV26FVG&2BWfW'F'VFw2&R7&rBfW'vV֖rW7V6ǒg&ЦW"Ɩ֗FVBW&6W'7V7FfRRFW&W7FrƗGFRFF&Bv26&VB'wVFR6 2FR6F&VvFRwVFRWVBFBFR7BfW vVW&F2b26Ff֖ǒfR&VVVFW"vW&'VRFVg&V6FVvW&B7W'&VFǒ&6Fg&6R'FRvFR&B6vFFR6G2g&V66"vW&"B6F6W"ख7G&6&W&rvRvVBFrfBW7W'6FW"vBw&VBWW&V6RW"FW"wVFRVBW2FVЦ&W"b66636VW6R6&W'6vR6vVF6BFVFvB&W6V&VB6vW&RvRvW&RvfVFR'GVGFRf,:Rv62FR6FfW'6bfB'&VB7Bf&vBvR6vBF6R6WfW&6&VW'2ख&WGvVVf6Fr62BVFrvRf6FVBFR&VWFgV7G&6&W&r6FVG&v6v2W7B'&VFFrBv0V&W2VVvBBW7BG&r7F&6'F6RBFRVBbFRFvRvVB&6FFR6f"FW"@vvW&Rf"FRWW&V'F2FRfW'FFvRF6VBV"FRFvb'VFW6VХ4UDT$U"5D$U"#pvևFF6