Having docked in Strasbourg, France, again for the night, it was a convenient walk up the canal to meet our glass covered canal boat for our one hour ride through the canal that winds through the city.



Like Brugge, Strasbourg is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  Half-timbered houses are the typical architecture, however, there was one interesting addition not noticed on the half-timbered houses in other towns.  In Strasbourg, some of the houses had beams that had numbers carved into them, because the houses either have been moved or will be moved to another location.  The numbers help in reassembling the house correctly.

The city center of Strasbourg has a population of 274,000 and the wealthiest live in 1 million Euro homes along the canal.  In addition, there are 70 consulates in Strasbourg along the canals, since Strasbourg is the seat of the Council of Europe, a human rights assembly linking 43 countries from Russia to the Atlantic.  Since 1992, it has been the seat of the European Parliament.

Patricia was our guide again today and we learned from her what the meaning was behind the blue European Union flag.  The blue represents hope and the circle of gold stars represents the circle of harmony of the people living together within the union.  The stars are for perfection; the goal of the European Union.

After our canal tour, we had a leisurely walking tour through the Petite France, the picturesque old quarter, where we saw beautiful half-timbered buildings dating back to the 16th and 17th century.  Again, there were cobblestone streets full of quaint charm; very photogenic. 






Since it was Sunday, mass was taking place at the Cathedrale de Notre Dame, however, we were able to slip into the back of the cathedral individually, unguided, during our free time.  What a magnificent cathedral- and massive!







The rest of our free time was spent exploring the old quarter of the city, before returning to the ship for the afternoon.







European River Cruise Itinerary- One Week Until Departure!

After my last lengthy post, I thought I would give you a break with a shorter one!  I only have one week to go before my upcoming river cruise, so I will have to return to posting excerpts of my past travelogues at a later date.  Instead, I thought I would post the itinerary for my upcoming trip.

My third European river cruise with Vantage Travel (and my mom as my travel partner) begins with a three-night pre-cruise visit in Bruges and Ghent, Belgium. Next, we join the River Navigator, in Amsterdam, for a 16-day river cruise. Finally, we will wrap up our adventure (and photography/ chocolate buying trip) with a post-cruise visit to Basel, Bern, and Lucerne, Switzerland.

The following is our itinerary:                                                                                              August 20, 2011 – Fly to Belgium for pre-cruise extension                                            August 24 – Arrive Amsterdam / Embark ms River Navigator                                         August 25 – Amsterdam                                                                                                   August 26 – Cologne, Germany                                                                                      August 27 – Cologne and Cochem                                                                                August 28 – Piesport (Luxembourg)                                                                               August 29 – Piesport and Trier, Germany                                                                      August 30 – Trier and Berkastel                                                                                       August 31 – Rüdesheim                                                                                             September 01 – Rüdesheim and Mainz (for Heidelberg): Depart for Speyer in the evening September 02 – Speyer and Rastatt (for Baden-Baden): Depart for Strasbourg, France, in the evening                                                                                                                      September 03 – Strasbourg                                                                                    September 04 – Strasbourg and Breisach, Germany                                                        September 05 – Breisach (For Freiburg) and Basel,Switzerland                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         September 06 – Basel                                                                                                              September 07 – Basel/ Disembark ship / Begin 3-night Lucerne extension

I have been doing some research on our cruise stops and it sure looks like it is going to be a fascinating (and gorgeous) cruise!  If/when time permits, I will blog along the way, so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, If any of you have any chocolate recommendations for these countries, please let me know!  As I posted earlier, I collect wrappers and labels of chocolate from around the world.  And, I also savor each and every chocolate I purchase, so I seek out the best!  (See “CHOCOLATE!” for a complete list of what I have already collected.)