Batten Family


 

Paris to Prague - Sept. 1 thru Sept. 22, 2011

AmaWaterWays decribes this river cruise as European Rivers and Castles with a precruise stay in Paris for 3 nights before boarding a high-speed TGV train to Luxembourg. After a walking tour of Luxembourg we were transported to Remich where we boarded the Amalegro for a cruise up the Mosel river until Koblenz, Germany connecting to the Rhine river to Frankfurt where we connected to the Main river to Nuremberg. After a tour of Nuremberg we then were transported to Prague, Czech Republic where we spend 2 nights. Click here to see the map of the trip.

Jean and I arrived a day earlier in Paris than our friends, Larry and Karen Betche and Bill and Donna Armstrong. We had previously stayed in 5 days Frankfurt visiting with my Aunt Irene Batten Kraus and her son Tommy and his wife Kerstin making it only an hour flight on to Paris. Our hotel was the Hotel Pullman Paris Montparnasse ib the Left Bank. Across from the hotel was a major train/subway station and also the tallest building in Paris. To get my bearings I went to the Observation Deck on the 59th floor to get a 360 degree view of the Paris landscape and have included those pictures. Restaurants were excellent for lunch and dinner. On our second night the three couples took a dinner cruise on the Seine river through the heart of Paris. Food was good but the view of Paris at night was breathtaking. Jean and I went to the Orsay Museum to view an enomous collection of fine art. We spent several hours there. We then wandered all over the area near the river with our pictures taken on the bridge where lovers leave a lock in both their names. That evening we all dined at Paul Chene, a restaurant rated #10 out of some 9000 Paris restaurants.It is hard to put into words how great the food and service was. The owner Harold Audouin was the greeter and waiter that evening. The restaurant is small with two tables on the sidewalk and no more than 8 tables inside. For the first hour only a couple at the sidewalk and ourselves were his only customers before another large party entered.

The last day we had a city tour and an evening tour of the "Hill of Martyrs", the home to a large Parisian artist community. The tour ended at the Eiffel Tower just prior to 11 pm. At 11 pm the Eiffel Tower was illuminated with running lights as it is during Christmas. The show only lasts for 15 minutes but is something to see. Click here to see photos of Paris.

The next day we all were driven to a northern train station to board the high-speed TGV train to Luxembourg. We spent some 3 hours on a city tour of Luxembourg then we drove to the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial. This cemetery is dedicated to the Americans who lost their lives liberating Europe during World War II. 5076 headstones of American military dead, including one female army nurse. The most well known grave is that of General George S. Patton, Jr., commander of the Third U.S. Army. The tall wrought iron sections of the entrance gate bears golded laurel wreaths, the ancient award for valor. Giled eagles surmount the stone pillars. Click here to see photos of Luxembourg.

We left Luxembourg for Remich, Germany to board our river cruise ship MS Amalegro to settle in for the next 8 days. The next 2 days we travel on the Mosel River through a series of locks that allow navigation on the river since 1965. The Mosel(German spelling) begins its flow in the Vosges Mountains of France and flows towards the northeast becoming the border between Luxembourg and Germany. When we reach Koblenz we then join the Rhine River. There are about 70 villages between Trier and Koblenz, most dedicated to the production of wine and to the tourism industry.

We started our journey at night at 10:00 pm for Trier. The next morning after breakfast we board buses for a city tour of Trier, the oldest city in Germany. The city sits in a large flat plain, making it ideal for settlement. The Celts were the first to populate the area, the Romans soon followed and for a long time Trier remained one of the most important cities in the entire Roman Empire. Thoughtout the city you'll still find an incredible number of remains dating back to the Roman era, such as the Roman amphitheatre, the Roman Baths, and the famous Porta Nigra Gate. The Porta Nigra is now the only remaining city gate that still survives since Roman times, since the other three were dismantled and used as a quarry. The Porta Nigra Gate is the symbol of the city and dates back to the year 180 AD. Today, Trier is a thriving small city with a population of approximately 100,000 residents, about the same during Roman times. A great number of today's inhabitants are students at a lively university.

During lunch we sailed through the scenic Mosel valley and stopped in early afternoon to tour one of the region's most picturesque village, Bernkastel-Kues for a walking tour through the quaint streets lined with half timbered houses dating all the way back to the 16th century followed by a wine tasting.

On Friday, September 7, 2012 we visited Cochem. Here we visited Reichsburg Castle on top of a small mountain where the ramp to the Castle was so steep, visitors were transported by mini-vans for the ascent. After a city walking tour we departed for Koblenz where our ship entered the Rhine river about noon. The rest of the day was spend cruising the Rhine Gorge where the concentration of castles and castle ruins is greater than any other river in the world. While cruising through the Rhine Gorge, we passed the famous "Loreley Rock", where the Rhine River has its narrowest and deepest stretch. There are many stories about the Loreley, the daughter of Father Rhine. Click here to see photos of Trier, Cochem, Koblenz and the Rhine Gorge castles and ruins.

We entered the Main river next at Mainz and sailed to Nuremburg. Click here for the summary and photos.

 


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