As we sail out of Rudesheim we are headed to Amsterdam on the most scenic stretch of the river. Castles perch on the sides of the river from high above us, or straight out from us on the bank of the river.
By the time we pull into Amsterdam this afternoon we will have traveled 1129 miles, through 5 countries, in two weeks. I found this map hanging at a stop, which only shows a small percentage of the rivers we have been on, but shows the circuitous route the water takes.
We have gone through 63 locks. Some large, 81.9 ft, some small, 5-10 ft.
The captain has had to lower the ship’s bridge to clear some of the locks and bridges. During these times he stands outside and commands the ship from the side, carefully watching the clearance on all sides and the top. (Sometimes he has to wave back heads of passengers that try to see in the narrow clearance and risk their own safety. He got on the intercom one time and told the passengers that it has been proven that in a battle of a head vs the bridge, the bridge will win every time!)
The ship has had to take on ONE MILLION extra pounds of water as ballast to get under the bridges. The captain has had to set the radar all the way down since clearance has been so tight at times.
This beautiful ship and these wonderful people have been taking care of us for 2 weeks and it will be a lifetime memory. I sincerely appreciate the skill of our Dutch captain, Ron Schuegard. Our French cruise director, Sebastian LeRoy has done a tremendous job of taking care of innumerable details. On our daily excursions we would see him on the side, but wait he is here too, and here…! All the passengers were finally convinced that there were 2, 3 no..5. Sebastian’s and they all look alike and are everywhere! His attention to details was beyond comparison.
Our Hotel manager (it is a large, floating, luxury hotel) Eduard Roiu kept it running like a finely oiled machine. Our purser, Aurel Mangu, has always had a smile on his face and even got me to smile as he bandaged me together again after the fall on my bike (yeah, that’s another story). He has kept track of all of us and from the first day, greeted us by name, and knew each of our cabin numbers.
Last, but by no means least, a couple we would like to adopt and take home with us. Our waiter, Vladimir and his partner, our cabin steward Nadia. Thank you all for the time of our lives!!