Monday, January 25, 2010

Web Albums

I've posted two new web albums of photos from our river voyage on the Rhine and Danube during the Xmas and New Year holidays.
On Christmas Eve our boat left Cologne and when the sun was rising, entered the Rhine gorge. I awakened to the sound of wildly chiming bells from the church in the nearby village, greeting the sunrise of Christmas Day. After a hearty breakfast, Ira and I bundled up in down coats, ear bands + hoods, gloves, went to the top deck with our cameras and enjoyed the next few hours looking at the many castles perched high on the hills and the toy like villages beneath them. I selected about 20 of these photos for the first album.
The second album, I suppose should have been the first, as this one contains photos of the Cologne cathedral, a huge edifice that dates from the 11th century and took 600 years to complete, therefore incorporating many different styles of craftsmanship, yet remaining distinctly German. There are many knightly and crusader depictions on mosaic floors and walls of frescoes. I don't remember the guide saying anything about any damage inflicted by WW2 bombing, but surely there must have been some though its not evident. That the cathedral is still a growing entity is evidenced by several contemporary ceiling murals in the lower ceiling vaulted spaces. Several of the night photos were taken as our boat during our first evening, moved upriver to a new mooring; one shot as we left Cologne.
The photos above are of the cathedral and of the famed Christmas market that closes on Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Concert in Vienna, Austria

On Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, Ira and I joined the other formally dressed passengers aboard the Scenic Diamond and Ruby at the Liechtenstein Museum in Vienna, Austria for a private concert. The museum is beautiful and the ball room with its inset murals and ornate decoration provided a lovely setting for the Vienna Imperial Orchestra's 4 strings, trumpet, clarinet, percussion and piano. A Joel Gray type of MC introduced each work with humor and information. The program provided for pieces by the orchestra, plus their accompanying a tenor, a soprano (see the video) and a pair of ballet dancers. It was indeed a delightful evening.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pre-Christmas in Amsterdam

We arrived at Schipol Airport to find the city covered with snow. Though we'd brought boots and walking sticks to help us over icy spots, we arrived too late to explore...our plane left Houston 4 hours late. By the next morning, most of the streets were clear, the sidewalks slushy so our short walk from the tour bus to the Van Gogh museum was slow. The on board guide had taken us around the city, pointing out various buildings, narrating other data that we wouldn't remember, before finally reaching the museum. Ira and I had a horrid time with our audio helpers and just surrendered them to the audio desk after 5 minutes of trying,; we read the ample signage instead.
The sun deck of our riverboat was covered w. snow and the few youngsters on board built snowmen, while the staff piled the white stuff onto a table and buried pots of ice cream and bottles of liquers for an adults' ice cream party. I indulged in hot chocolate laced with rum. With these cold temps in Shreveport, perhaps its time for more hot chocolate.