On our last cruising day, we were treated to a traditional German beer service (sorry, I can’t seem to remember the appropriate name) complete with sausages, potato salad, and pretzels. It was one of our last opportunities to get together with the fun people we met from all over America and enjoy a relaxing voyage on our final day of the river portion of our journey.
The food was incredibly yummy and the beer was nice and cold contrary to popular belief about the Germans only drinking beverages at room temperature. I didn’t find this to be true the entire time I was in Deutschland, but I mainly stuck to the glühwein which warmed me from the inside out.
When we docked full of German deliciousness, we had the choice of two excursions to Germany’s historic Black Forest. We could either venture into the town of Freiburg or tour a cuckoo clock factory. We were set on the cuckoo clock factory until several discussions with other passengers convinced us that Freiburg was the more exciting of the two tours. According to our Cruise Director, the other was a bit of a “snooze” and most passengers were a little disappointed by it. I guess if you’ve seen one cuckoo clock, you’ve seen them all.
Needless to say, we hopped the bus to Freiburg.
The countryside was blanketed in fresh, white snow and castles were found far from the river banks. We laughed at stories from the other passengers about getting speeding tickets on the Autobahn, something that is fairly unheard of among American tourists. The Black Forest approached and it was beautiful. Unfortunately, the pictures didn’t turn out so well having been taken as we sped along the highway. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
When we got to Freiburg, our tour guide pointed out the subtle fun of the tiny town. She brought our attention to the built-in troughs in the sidewalk for horses of ancient times, a crocodile statue in the middle of a waterway, and the architects’ humor when creating the artistic nuances of the local cathedral.
Yes, we visited another cathedral and it was just as beautiful as the others. What is it about arched ceilings and stained glass windows? I am never unimpressed by the ancient structures that have stood for centuries at a time and have amassed incredible histories.
I find it amazing that Freiburger Münster, a magnificent cathedral, sits in the small town of Freiburg. It’s not every day that a person comes across a breathtaking building in the middle of a forest.
Once we had some free time to explore, our mission for a new suitcase began. With each of the stops along the cruise, we had collected far more souvenirs and gifts for friends back home than we were anticipating. We definitely needed a new bag to get our haul home.
Wandering through the Christmas market stalls and department stores, we finally found our salvation at a large department store where my mother paid far too much for a cheap duffel bag than she would have back in the States. While the bag worked to get our goodies home in one piece, it didn’t survive the flight from Europe and suffered a severe laceration that I presume was the result of the worst international flight I have ever taken. Thank you, Delta Airlines!
Regardless of our luggage drama, we had an amazing trip. AmaWaterways is a phenomenal company and I highly recommend their river cruises to anyone looking for a way to see multiple locations, enjoy interesting and entertaining excursions, and meet new and friendly people. Though the cruise portion was only seven days, we extended our trip with the optional land portion in Switzerland.
Stay tuned for the Swiss adventures!