A Journal, with Pictures

Happenings

Shanghai

by on Jun.30, 2017, under Happenings

We arrive in Shang­hai by high speed train to a ultra mod­ern ter­mi­nal and dri­ve into the city to the Penin­su­la Hotel, is right on the Bund part of the his­toric British con­ces­sion grant­ed after the sec­ond Opi­um war (1860). Shang­hai is a amaz­ing city of 25 mil­lion stretch­ing for 75 miles and was and is a very impor­tant port city. We are treat­ed to a trav­el­ing lec­ture tour of the his­toric colo­nial build­ings, start­ing with the British con­ces­sion then the tree lined streets of the for­mer French Con­ces­sion. As we have seen through­out Chi­na, the infra­struc­ture is mod­ern with free ways and ring roads, high ris­es, includ­ing the sec­ond tallest build­ing in the world (125 sto­ries), and of course high rise apart­ment hous­es and an ultra­mod­ern inter­na­tion­al air­port. We tour the his­toric area with a unique enclosed struc­ture of gat­ed entrances, to alleys lined with small court yards called the Lane dis­trict. This was the ear­ly gat­ed com­mu­ni­ty pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the res­i­dents of each neigh­bor­hood.  We also see where the first orga­niz­ing meet­ing for the com­mu­nist took place in 1921 and exam­ples of how it pays to be in “the party”.

One of the reminders of the his­to­ry lead­ing to the com­mu­nist vic­to­ry is a mon­u­ment on the Bund in the spot where a sign read “no dogs or Chi­nese allowed” (in the British Con­ces­sion). and then the huge mon­u­ment to those lost in the “Long March”.

We attend a Acro­bat­ic Show one evening, which was mind blow­ing, the Urban Plan­ning Muse­um which dis­plays the 25 year plan for the city, the Shang­hai Muse­um which cov­ers a range of sub­jects from cos­tumes from the over 50 “minor­i­ty” groups, to his­tor­i­cal paint­ing, ceram­ics and bronze as well as impe­r­i­al fur­ni­ture. We also toured a ren­o­vat­ed high end shop­ping dis­trict that con­nects the Yu Gar­dens one of the best exam­ples of tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese gar­den design.

Shang­hai was a great last stop, blend­ing exam­ples of the great his­to­ry with the explo­sive mod­ern­iza­tion of Chi­na. We arrived by Bul­let Train, had great tours, High Tea at the Penin­su­la Hotel, saw the sites day and night includ­ing the fab­u­lous Pudong Sky­line and bustling Huang­pu Riv­er right from our hotel room, and of course one last incred­i­ble Chi­nese din­ner with our new adopt­ed grand daugh­ter, Lotus Qi,  who made our three weeks in Chi­na effort­less and a won­der­ful experience.

 

 

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February Florida Visit

by on Feb.05, 2017, under Happenings

Joyce and I made a Feb­ru­ary swing to vis­it fam­i­ly and friends to Flori­da. We stopped in Fort Laud­erdale Wednes­day to see Jen­nifer, Mike and Alexan­dra for an after­noon and evening. Life con­tin­ues at warp speed there with Alexan­dra grow­ing up fast. We then flew to Sara­so­ta on Thurs­day to vis­it some of our for­mer NCR col­leagues and friends. Elton and Gordy White host­ed us for lunch and we stayed in the beau­ti­ful apart­ment over­look­ing the bay. We were joined for cock­tails, by Chuck and Car­ol Exley, Joe and Nora Stephan, Rex and Pat Fleet. We had a great time catch­ing up and every­one is age­ing grace­ful­ly and most of all haven’t lost their sense of humor. We then had a great din­ner at the Field Club, con­tin­u­ing the frivolity.

On Fri­day we flew to Naples to vis­it Rich and Lin­da Miller. They are doing fine as full time Flori­da res­i­dence and we again enjoyed catch­ing up. Rich and Lin­da treat­ed us roy­al­ly, at their great club Grey Oaks. We then flew back to Hilton Head on Sat­ur­day, a quick but very enjoy­able trip, remind­ing us of how lucky we have been to have met and works with such great people.

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South America 2016 — first stop Mendoza, Argentina

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

This is a buck­et list trip that Joyce and I have been think­ing about for sev­er­al years. Its been 35 years since I have been to Argenti­na and Brazil. Joyce as not been to two of my favorite coun­tries in Latin Amer­i­ca so this is it. Tony Huff­man our friend orga­nizes a incred­i­ble trip for us, we don’t have to lift a fin­ger, just a glass, a fork, a cam­era and a pen to write the check. We leave Thurs­day Jan­u­ary 21 from Savan­nah through Atlanta to San­ti­a­go, Chile then on to Men­doza, Argenti­na. Our first stop is the Cavas Wine Lodge, a vine­yard and first class hotel. We are met by our host/guide Agosti­na Aste­giano and our dri­ver for the one hour dri­ve to our lodge. Then we are checked in to our Casita which is in the Vine­yard itself. We have lunch and then relax before the cook­ing class that we have signed up for. Leo the resort chef turns out to be delight­ful and we have great fun cook­ing empanadas  and a Argen­tine vegetable/chicken dish over an open fire. Its fun and of course we taste wine then enjoy our din­ner, before crash­ing. Our casita is great, the view of the Andes is stun­ning and we get a full nights sleep.

Time for the cook­ing class, we are tired but its so much fun we for­get about it and it means an ear­ly by Argen­tine stan­dards dinner.

The next day after break­fast its off to do some wine tour­ing. Our objec­tive is to learn about Argen­tine wines par­tic­u­lar­ly their vari­etal Mal­bec. We are in the Lujan de Cuyo Val­ley region and start by vis­it­ing a win­ery (Bode­ga) start­ed by an Amer­i­can with an Argen­tine part­ner, the Paul Hobbs win­ery. We then vis­it  and do tast­ing at the Bode­ga Casarena.

After the win­ery vis­its we fin­ish the tast­ing with lunch at Osa­dia de Crear at the the Dominio Del Pla­ta Win­ery. The wines are impres­sive and the lunch is over the top both in terms of the qual­i­ty of the wine and food.

We have din­ner at the lodge, which is of course is very good, with Chef Leo prepar­ing some­thing spe­cial for us.

Sat­ur­day after break­fast we are out again to explore the Men­doza wine coun­try. We start with, what turns out to be our favorite win­ery Bode­ga Bene­gas, which is owned by one of Argenti­na’s old­est wine fam­i­lies. In fact we like one of their wines so well we arrange to have a case shipped to the US. These bot­tles will not be cheap, so only our best friends will ever get a wiff of this ambrosia. The win­ery itself is inter­est­ing in that the found­ing father kept old wine mak­ing tools as well as a col­lec­tion of Gou­cho pon­chos and dec­o­rat­ed the win­ery with his col­lec­tion. The wine was superb par­tic­u­lar­ly their FBL 2010 Blend.

We vis­it Bode­ga Mali­pal and fin­ish with anoth­er great lunch at Vistal­bas. Mali­pal is a mod­ern win­ery and if closed your eyes you would be in Napa Val­ley. It turns out that Agosti­na our guide is not only a won­der­ful per­son she is a wine mak­er her­self as is her hus­band to be. She is a delight to be with and a foun­tain of knowl­edge about Argen­tine wines. We then have a tast­ing lunch Bode­ga Vistalba.

Its time to relax and enjoy Cavas Wine Lodge, who’s own­er is an artist so its not a sur­prise to find a very arty cow in the vine­yard. The grapes are get­ting ripe and we can image that being their dur­ing the crush would be incred­i­ble. We enjoy one last great meal at the Lodge and then in the morn­ing we are off to Bariloche.

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Bariloche

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

 

On Sun­day Jan­u­ary 24 we leave Men­doza, fly to Buenos Aires and on to Bar­iloche air­port arriv­ing late after­noon. We are met by Alex Out­e­r­i­al our guide for the next few days and dri­ven through the town of Bar­iloche and past lake Nahuel Huapi to our home for the next cou­ple of day, Hotel Llao Llao. Our suite is spec­tac­u­lar look­ing out at Lake Moreno and Mount Tranador. We learn our hotel is con­sid­ered the nicest in Argenti­na, built in 1939 and recent­ly com­plete­ly ren­o­vat­ed and expand­ed. We dine at a quaint Ital­ian restau­rant, Il Gab­biano on the big lake, and the meal and wine are excellent.

The next morn­ing after a great break­fast at the hotel we are off on a hik­ing adven­ture. It turns out the Alex is a world class trekker and moun­tain guide, as well as very knowl­edge­able about Patag­o­nia. We dri­ve around the moun­tain behind our hotel to a lodge on anoth­er lake. Our objec­tive is to hike up the moun­tain to a water­fall with a view of the lake and lodge. It is a mod­er­ate­ly steep trail but we han­dle it and are reward­ed with great scenery.

After our trek we have a great lunch at the lodge over­look­ing the lake. We return to our hotel and relax before a din­ner at a restau­rant called But­ter­fly on Lake Nahuel Haupi. We have a great view and the sev­en course tast­ing menu with wine pair­ing fits right in with our new style. The next day we leave for a boat excur­sion on the lake. We will cruise from the west­ern in and can see the Chilean bor­der in the dis­tance and end up on Vic­to­ria Island. The whole area includ­ing Bar­iloche is in Nahuel Haupi Nation­al Park, once a pri­vate land hold­ing of Per­i­to Moreno an ear­ly explor­er of the area. He donat­ed 26 square miles in 1906 to cre­ate the park. He was respon­si­ble for import­ing exot­ic species of trees from all over the world to Vic­to­ria Island. After our cruise we hike around a bay and are sur­prised to find giant sequoias from our home state of Cal­i­for­nia as well as many oth­er inter­est­ing species.

We set out on our trek, which is a very easy walk around the island, that includes struc­tures that no longer are used as well as a school for area chil­dren that’s not in ses­sion. We see an amaz­ing array of dif­fer­ent trees and woods with beau­ti­ful views from the island.

 

We end our hike in a small bay that has an aban­doned tour boat on the beach where our boat has docked and it turns out that our first mate in fact is a accom­plished chef and has set up a gourmet pic­nic lunch on the beach. This is a very mem­o­rable lunch of course with wine and mul­ti­ple cours­es and to top it off out of the woods comes a young musi­cian who was below deck dur­ing our cruise play­ing first a local flute then a local gui­tar to ser­e­nade us. An incred­i­ble expe­ri­ence, one we will not forget.

 

After lunch we cruise back across the lake and return to our hotel. That evening we invite Alex to join us for din­ner at a restau­rant named Cas­sis. This is a tast­ing menu of native Patag­on­ian cui­sine influ­enced by the Ger­man, Aus­tri­an and Ital­ians who immi­grat­ed to the region. Anoth­er great din­ner, with fine Argen­tine wine and we enjoy the com­pa­ny of our new friend Alex. Tomor­row morn­ing we are off to Buenos Aires so this will be our farewell din­ner. Bar­iloche and Patag­o­nia will go down as one of the high­lights of our trip, how­ev­er it turns out there were no low-lights.

 

 

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Buenos Aires

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

Jan­u­ary 27, at 3:00 PM we arrive at the down­town air­port and are picked up by our escort after a looong wait for our bags. The natives are rest­less and guess what a demon­stra­tion almost breaks out over the delay. It must be Buenos Aires where demon­stra­tions have changed the course of the coun­tries his­to­ry. Being an admit­ted Argen­tine his­to­ry junkie, this is meca for me. Our first stop is the Teatro Colon (Colum­bus The­ater), where we meet a won­der­ful enthu­si­as­tic guide who tells us the his­to­ry of this amaz­ing build­ing. Con­struc­tion start­ed in 1889 and is South Amer­i­c­as most pres­ti­gious per­form­ing arts venue, which has been com­plete­ly ren­o­vat­ed to its for­mer glo­ry. As Argenti­na became rich, it was deter­mined that the coun­try must have a Opera House as grand as any in Europe, so five fam­i­lies went togeth­er and built it at their per­son­al expense. The acoustics are per­fect and the great­est per­form­ers in the world have per­formed there from Caru­so to Pavaroti. After the tour we checked into our hotel Pala­cio Duhau, anoth­er very nice hotel and room. We then walked to and dined at the incred­i­ble Fer­vor, which is a tra­di­tion­al Argen­tine steak house. A great steak and bot­tle of Cabernet/Malbec  from a win­ery we dis­cov­ered in Men­doza, perfect.

Thurs­day we begin the day with a vis­it to the his­toric Plaza de Mayo, anchored by the pres­i­den­tial palace know as the Casa Rosa­da (Pink House). The square in front of the palace, is sur­round­ed by oth­er impor­tant and his­toric build­ings, includ­ing the city hall, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan cathe­dral, the Argen­tine IRS and the Nation­al Bank. This is the place of many his­toric demon­stra­tions includ­ing the one that freed Juan Per­on, who would lat­er become pres­i­dent. Of course there are two mini-demon­stra­tions going on when we vis­it, one for pen­sions for the Faulk­lin Island war for those who nev­er left Argenti­na and for the wel­fare recip­i­ents who were get­ting paid off by a now imprison cor­rupt social admin­is­tra­tor Eva Per­on wannabe. It is Argenti­na after all and any­thing is pos­si­ble, just demonstrate.

We vis­it the Cathe­dral that looks more like a court house on the out­side. Inside is the tomb of the Gen­er­al Jose San Mar­tin who lib­er­at­ed Argenti­na from Spain in 1816. They had ruled since 1580, so many of the things that plague Argenti­na were implant­ed dur­ing the Span­ish rule, includ­ing the estab­lished landown­ers and cor­rup­tion. We then stop by the Argen­tine Leg­is­la­ture, for a pho­to, but based on recent his­to­ry, with the Per­o­nist par­ty Pres­i­dent who was called the “Empress” being recent­ly defeat­ed it does­n’t sound like they have had much to do there late­ly, its been main­ly gov­ern­ment by pres­i­den­tial decree. Since its warm our great guide Maria sug­gests an ice cof­fee which the Argen­tine’s do very well.

We then trav­el through the San Tel­mo dis­trict, the birth­place of Tan­go. This is a very his­toric area, one of Buenos Aires old­est dis­tricts that was aban­doned dur­ing a yel­low fever epi­dem­ic and now is a major tourist attrac­tion. We then pre­ced­ed to explore the near by La Boca (the mouth) dis­trict the orig­i­nal port at the mouth of the riv­er. The area was set­tled by immi­grants who paint­ed their shanties with bright ship paint and the col­or scheme persists.

That evening we dine at an incred­i­ble restau­rant called Chi­la, with authen­tic Argen­tine cui­sine. We then take in a great Tan­go show at Fae­na Hotel. Both the restau­rant and hotel are in a new area devel­oped from the sec­ond port that fell into dis­re­pair now has been rede­vel­oped to be “the” new place in Buenos Aires.

Time for a after din­ner drink on the ter­race at the hotel, the smoke from the next table has a very sweet smell, could it be, guess so. Time to get some sleep anoth­er full day of tour­ing tomor­row. Fri­day we tour the city’s north­ern area start­ing with the area around our hotel and then dri­ving to the bohemi­an-chic-neigh­bor­hood of Paler­mo. The for­mer grandeur of BA is appar­ent, with some pri­vate­ly owned man­sions still main­tained and oth­ers turned into com­mer­cial struc­tures. The old part of our hotel is a for­mer pri­vate man­sion and next door is a man­sion still main­tained by one of the old fam­i­lies. We then trav­el to a area with a old favorite morn­ing gath­er­ing place with a gigan­tic Ficus tree with inter­est­ing sup­ports for the limbs next the restaurant.

We then walk to one of the most inter­est­ing places in Buenos Aires, the old ceme­tery next to a old Span­ish Church. The rich and famous are entombed there in unique and some­time elab­o­rate tombs with in some cas­es under­ground cham­bers. For exam­ple, one famous indi­vid­ual want­ed to be buried in the Andes so his tomb is made from rocks brought from the moun­tains. The most famous tomb is that of Eva Per­on, final­ly placed in her fam­i­lies vault, since she had fall­en into dis­fa­vor with suc­ceed­ing regimes her body was removed from the orig­i­nal bur­ial place and hid­den out of the country.

We then fin­ish our tour of the north­ern area pass­ing the Hipo­dro­mo Argenti­na de Paler­mo, the first race track estab­lished in 1876. Stop and see the huge piece of art in the form of a flower, next to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Engi­neer­ing and then our final stop is at the Eva Per­on Muse­um. Her sto­ry is a fas­ci­nat­ing, mar­ry­ing the Pres­i­dent and becom­ing a nation­al fig­ure as the Dior clad first lady and sup­posed cham­pi­on of the poor. Her body was hid­den in Milan Italy by the oppo­si­tion par­ty and lat­er returned to Argenti­na in a hostage swap that was botched. Her dam­aged body was final­ly interned in the fam­i­ly tomb and she still is a sym­bol of the Per­o­nist party.

One of the biggest eth­nic ori­gins in Argenti­na is Ital­ian so we dine at a well known Ital­ian restau­rant on our last night then turn in ear­ly by Argen­tine stan­dards since we have an ear­ly flight to Iguas­su falls in the morn­ing. Buenos Aires is a beau­ti­ful city, with the worlds widest boule­vard and a def­i­nite old Euro­pean feel, with traces of its glo­ry days along side new mod­ern devel­op­ment that with a new more con­ser­v­a­tive gov­ern­ment seems to have giv­en the peo­ple renewed optimism.

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Iguassu Falls

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

Mon­day Feb­ru­ary first, we catch a ear­ly flight from Buenos Aires to the Argen­tine side of the Iguas­su Falls. We have lunch on the Argen­tine side, then take a train to the cat­walks that go to the most impres­sive part of the area, Gar­gan­ta del Dia­blo (Devis’s throat). The Iguas­su Falls area is made up of 275 water­falls and is con­sid­ered one of the nat­ur­al won­ders of the world. We luck out and do our sight see­ing between rain storms.

We then dri­ve to the Brazil­ian side pass­ing by the bor­der with Paraguary. The rain turns into a del­uge as we clear cus­toms, all han­dled by our guide Car­los Roldan. We check in to the Hotel das Cataratas which is, again, a very nice hotel with a very nice suite with a view of the falls. A great din­ner (of course) in the hotel then we get a good nights sleep to the sound of rain, before tomor­rows tour­ing. The rain stops and we walk the area below the falls, which is impres­sive back up to the main face across from the Dev­il’s throat. The sight  and sound of 400,000 gal­lons of water per sec­ond cas­cad­ing is hard to describe, but its def­i­nite­ly impressive.

After a Brazil­ian bar­be­cue din­ner we pack for our depar­ture in the morn­ing. We check out and on our way to the air­port we stop to take a heli­copter ride over the falls before board­ing our flight to Rio de Janer­iro. What a spec­tac­u­lar view, plus a fun ride in the chop­per. We luck out again, no rain.

We say good by to Car­los our great guide and board our flight to Rio and sunshine.

 

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Rio de Janeiro

by on Feb.10, 2016, under Happenings

Rio de Janeiro our last stop on our South Amer­i­ca adven­ture is one of the most beau­ti­ful cities in the world and I want­ed Joyce to see and expe­ri­ence it. To make things more inter­est­ing it’s Car­ni­val week and prepa­ra­tion for the Olympics is in full swing. We are met by our guide Venil­ton Mar­i­ano or Veni, and our dri­ver who gets us right to our hotel. The plan was to vis­it the Pao de Acu­car (Sug­ar loaf) on the way in but we elect to do that tomor­row. We check in to the fab­u­lous Copaca­bana Palace (built in 1923), then do a lit­tle quick sight see­ing on the famous beach, before anoth­er great din­ner at the cel­e­brat­ed Cipri­ani restau­rant in the hotel.

The next day way do the tourist things, Christ of the Redeemer on Mount Cocava­do and Sug­ar Loaf ( Pao de Acu­cra). The views from these two icon­ic sites are breath tak­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly the Sug­ar loaf which is 1200 feet above the city. After our tour­ing we have lunch at Apraziv­el fea­tur­ing Brazil­ian cui­sine and a great view of the city from the hill­side. After some more sight see­ing, includ­ing the Ipane­ma, we return to the hotel and then have din­ner at the amaz­ing restau­rant Lasai.

Our last day we cov­er the eclec­tic artists neigh­bor­hood and the cob­bled streets of San­ta Tere­sa. We see the Escadaria Selaron a set of world-famous steps cov­ered in over 2000 tiles from around the world. This is the work of the Chilean born artist Jorge Selaron, who was a bit eccen­tric. We then vis­it Rio de Janiero’s mod­ern cathedral.

Then its to the old down town and port area that are have lots of new addi­tions stim­u­lat­ed by the upcom­ing Olympics. Rio is a city of con­trasts with the Fave­la’s (slums) much improved from my last vis­it, but in close prox­im­i­ty to the city and some of the most mod­ern struc­tures and nicest neighborhoods.  We also learn about the Car­ni­val which is not a event but an indus­try, with thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants many from the Fave­la’s and tens of thou­sands of view­ers. Our hotel is being dec­o­rat­ed with venues priced from $700 to $1200 per person.

The con­trasts of the city are numer­ous old vers­es new side by side, colo­nial archi­tec­ture verse the most  mod­ern, a city that out­lawed casi­nos but you can buy an ille­gal lot­tery tick­et any­where and always with a vibran­cy that is unique­ly Brazilian.

We have lunch with Veni our guide then fresh­en up before our night flight back to the Unit­ed States. Its been a great incred­i­bly inter­est­ing and edu­ca­tion­al trip, but as always it will be good to get back home.

 

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Prague, Czech Republic

by on Sep.19, 2015, under Happenings

On Sat­ur­day August 22, 2015 we depart Cincin­nati for Paris and then on to Prague. We check into our hotel, The Four Sea­sons over­look­ing the Danube. We are going to stay in Prague until Wednes­day when we will trav­el to our cruise ship on the Danube which leaves from Ger­many. We have arranged for a guide and dri­ver to see the city and sur­round­ing area, but first on arrival day we explore on foot after our check in and are imme­di­at­ly blown away by the beau­ty of the city. The Prague Cas­tle is across the Danube and look­ing out our hotel win­dow it looks like a post card and we can see the Charles bridge which is a bee hive of activ­i­ty on this Sun­day. It turns out that our guide Mar­tin is a retired reaserch chem­istry pro­fes­sor, very knowl­edgable and a delight­ful per­son. He does a great job telling us about the cities his­to­ry includ­ing the com­mu­nist era. We do two half day driving/walking tours and a walk­ing tour of both the down­town and the Jew­ish dis­trict. Prague is an incred­i­bly inter­est­ing and beau­ti­ful city dat­ing back to 880. We vis­it the Cas­tle com­plex, St. Vitus Cathe­dral, we vis­it the Old Town Square famous for its Astro­nom­i­cal Clock and the Kin­s­ki Palace. We vist the Stra­hov Monastery, and get a pri­vate tour of its library of 15,000 hand writ­ten man­u­scripts. We also vis­it the Jew­ish cemetary with 12,000 jum­bled tomb­stones and Syn­a­gogue that has the 80,000 vic­tims of the Holo­caust from Prague inscribed on the walls. We also see Less­er Town that occu­pies the slopes below the cas­tle. This his­toric area includes inter­est­ing squares, and build­ing includ­ing St. Nicholas Church. We vis­it Petrin Hill that offer a mag­nif­i­cent panara­ma of Prague. We see Vyschfrad Fort and the old­est church in Prague still being used as well as Tro­ja Cas­tle. There are so many things to see and soak in and we dine at two mem­o­rable out­stand­ing restaru­ants. In all Prague proves to be one of the most inter­est­ing and beau­ful cities we have vis­it­ed in Europe.

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Kresky Krumlov, Czech Republic

by on Sep.19, 2015, under Happenings

Wednes­day morn­ing we leave Prague with our guide Mar­tin and a dri­ver for the vil­lage of Kresky Krumlov which is a unique vil­lage almost entire­ly pre­served since the renais­sance peri­od. It was once the cap­i­tal of the South­ern Bohemia region and the strong­hold of the fam­i­ly know as “Lord of the Ros­es. The mag­nif­i­cent cas­tle sits on a hill­side over­look­ing the vil­lage with gar­dens on top. The cas­tle tran­sis­tions down the hill into the town that sits on a hair­pin turn of the riv­er below. We start our tour on top and fol­low the cas­tel down to the vil­lage, where we explore and then have lunch before leav­ing for our dri­ve to meet our riv­er cruise in Germany.

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Vilshofen and Passau, Germany

by on Sep.19, 2015, under Happenings

We board our ship at the small Ger­man vil­lage of Vil­shofen. The AMASono­ta is an amaz­ing new ship and we are set­tled into our spa­cious cab­in instant­ly. We gath­er and are briefed on the trip, then we are off to our first event which is a local “Octo­ber­fest” in August that is being held in the Vil­lage. We enjoy a stien of beer and see the lass­es serv­ing 10 huge stiens at a time while we lis­ten to the Omp Pa Pa band. We then are back to the ship for the first of our many great meals aboard. We explore the vil­lage of Vil­shofen the next mor­ing then we set sail for Passau.

 

We dock next to the city cen­ter in Pas­sau. Over­look­ing the city is the impos­ing a acient Veste Ober­haus fortress. The old part of the city sits on a penin­su­la formed by the con­flu­ence of the Danube, Inn, and the Liz rivers. Pas­sau was the largest bish­opric in the Holy Roman Empire and the lega­cy con­tin­ues today with over 52 church­es in town with the most impos­ing being St. Stephens Cathe­dral, which con­tains the world’s largest pipe organ.

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