Firstly, to Texas and Louisiana and anyone who's family is affected by this weeks events, we are thinking of you. As travel consultants we are always checking the weather before and during client trips, and it never ceases to amaze us just how scary and unpredictable mother nature can be.
We are back home after a great river cruise experience, but I still have so much to talk about regarding the trip that it may be a few more weeks of trip reports for everyone. This week marks the 2-year anniversary of the weekly notes, and I still can't quite believe I am able to do this. I have realized that my passion for travel runs even deeper than I imagined, because I can now envision years and years of newsletters and trip reports, I just hope you can all handle it
TOP 5 HIGHLIGHTS FOR KOBLENZ TO AMSTERDAM
1. Koblenz, Germany
We were treated by Historic Highlights of Germany, who promote 17 different German cities to the USA audience, to a special tour of Koblenz. The cable car (above) provides spectacular views of where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet. Koblenz is not high on tourist lists but I found it a charming medium-sized city. Along with a monumental statue of William the Great, and the interesting Jesuitenplatz (right), we enjoyed a fun evening in a beer garden!
2. Cologne Architecture (below)
As we headed north, Cologne was our next stop. All but flattened in World War II, Cologne now is Germany's fourth largest city, and it's modern architecture is what stood out to me. Granted, the charming vineyard towns we had enjoyed earlier were more picturesque, but I appreciate real history, whatever it may look like. I also sensed from our guide that locals are immensely proud of their many 1950s and 1960s buildings, along with the fantastic riverside developments of recent years.
3. Cologne Cathedral (above)
Towering above all the modern architecture is Cologne's cathedral, a UNESCO World heritage site and easily the city's most recognizable landmark. Begun in 1248 it took over 600 years to complete and this was the tallest building in Europe until the Eiffel Tower was constructed. Although it suffered minor damage in the plethora of WWII bombings, it survived far better than nearly all its surrounds.
4. Port of Amsterdam (below)
It was a strange feeling to return to Amsterdam just 6 weeks after our last visit, when we fell in love with the place. But just our arrival gave us a new perspective on the city, and made us realize just how much water is a part of the way of life here. From the terminal where your river cruise will dock, it's literally a 2 minute walk to the main station (very handy for our later train to Berlin), and only another couple to the city center and all the sights that intrigued us the first time around.
5. Jordaan District (below)
A little like Greenwich Village in New York City, but with canals, this is a super area to stroll around, and we were keen to explore after missing the district on our earlier summer visit. Although mainly residential, the houses are a joy to view, and with so many coffee houses, funky restaurants and truly original shops, we think everyone should have a look for at least a few hours. As you cross the many bridges here over quieter canals, you can really see why Amsterdam is known as the Venice of the North.
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