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European River Cruise ~ TGC

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S: The Golden Club ~ European River Cruise ~ Holland, Germany, Austria ~ 2012

BC: DEPARTED | Austria | 11 June 2012

FC: ARRIVED 27 May 2012 | European River Cruise

2: The Great Rivers of Europe 2012 16-Day River Cruise Document Party

6: Day 1 - May 27, 2012 Leaving from United Community Bank in Blairsville, Georgia for departure flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

8: M/S River Concerto Day 2 - May 28 Amsterdam - a modern city that has retained its Old World charm and historical significance...narrow Dutch houses with window boxes...and Dam Square, the heart of the city.

9: Day 3 - May 29 Amsterdam/Canal Boat Tour A truly unique perspective on the city's remarkable architecture and relaxed pace.

12: AUSTRALIA

15: KillER Bikes

18: Passing through the first of 66 canals

19: Captain's Welcome Dinner Sailing on the Rhine River, entering German waters

21: Day 4 - May 30 Cologne, Germany Cologne's magnificent Gothic cathedral - the Dom - escaped the World War II damage that ravaged the city and the rest of Germany. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, boasting beautiful stained-glass windows, an ornate gold shrine on its elaborate altar, and intricate detail of the 14th century. Cologne, Germany's fourth largest city, was founded by the Romans in 50 A.D. Ruins of the Roman temples can still be seen around the city and the Roman Gate near the cathedral was once part of the medieval town walls.

25: Cologne Synagogue

26: Hohenzollern Bridge

27: Day 5 - May 31 Koblenz Koblenz - set at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers, served as a haven for French refuges during the French Revolution.

29: The little rascal from Koblenz

34: Scenic sailing along the Rhine River - countless vineyards, castles, and idyllic towns

39: Haunted Lorelei Rock - Where the legendary siren's song is said to have lured sailors

44: Day 6 - June 1 Rudesheim/Marksburg Castle/Mainz During WWII, more than 30 air raids destroyed 80 percent of the city. Mainz fell to the American Army under the command of General George S. Patton, Jr. on March 22, 1945.

48: Eleventh-century Romanesque Cathedral

50: Johannes Gutenberg, born in Mainz in 1397, began his career selling Bibles and supplemented his income selling "coupons" to the faithful to absolve them of some of the time they had earned in Purgatory. Probably in an effort to absolve himself of some of his own monetary debts, he began looking for ways to produce more indulgences. This search led to the printing press when he created uniform-sized metal molds for letters that allowed him to create error-free repeatable text. The first European books printed using movable type was manufactured in Mainz by Gutenberg in the early 1450's. | "Holy Ghost"

54: Day 7 - June 2 Frankfurt/Heidelberg Heidelberg, set on the edge of Odenwald Forest, includes the Heidelberg Castle and the baroque style Old Town. The Gothic castle was the setting for "The Student Prince".

56: Expansive views of Heidelberg from the castle

60: Lunch in a traditional Gasthaus

66: Day 8 - June 3 Wertheim Wertheim is a charming fairy-tale town set at the meeting of the Main and Tauber Rivers. Wertheim has a medieval town center with half-timbered houses and small streets, and home of the renowned Glass Museum owned by Karl Ittig.

72: Home-hosted Kaffeeklatsch - an informal social gathering for coffee, dessert, and conversation - a way to learn about everyday German life with a local family.

85: Day 9 - June 4 Wurzburg A city set on the Main River in Bavaria, Wurzbug was founded in the tenth century, and was home to several powerful prince-bishops for many centuries.

89: "Residenz" - almost completely destroyed during World War II, has since been rebuilt to its original grandeur.

96: Day 10 - June 5 Schweinfurt/Rothenburg The Bavarian town of Schweinfurt is known for its metal industry, especially ball-bearing plants and bicycle manufacturing. Rothenburg, a lovely old town sitting on the Tauber River, boasts undamaged 14th-century city walls and beautifully preserved fortifications, stately towers, and imposing burghers' houses.

101: Day 11 - June 6 Bamberg UNESCO World Heritage Site, dating back to A.D. 902 - Because of a nearby Artillery Factory, preventing planes from getting too close, Bamberg was not destroyed by WWII bombings. February 1926 - Bamberg served as the venue for the Bamberg Conference, convened by Adolf Hitler in his attempt to foster unity and stifle dissent within the National Socialist German Worker's Party.

119: Galley Tour with Executive Chef Istvan Egyed

120: Day 12 - June 7 Nuremberg, Germany Visit to Room 600 & Documentation Center Nuremberg is Bavaria's second-largest city. Once the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire and positioned in the center of the city, Nuremberg was chosen to be the site of the huge Nazi Party rallies. On January 2, 1945, the medieval city was systematically bombed by the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Army Air Force. Nuremberg was 90 percent destroyed in only one hour. Much of the city has been rebuilt, and its Old World charm restored. Today, the city thrives as a bustling industrial and commercial center. Nuremberg's craftspeople specialize in fine metalwork and toy-making. Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn to its month-long Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) and delicious gingerbread.

126: Jewish Cemetery

127: German Cemetery

142: Day 13 - June 8 Kelheim/Regensberg During the night we crossed the European watershed (1,332 feet; highest point of canal). This ridge of higher land divides areas drained by the Main and Danube. Rain north of the watershed flows to the North Sea, and rain to the south flows to the Black Sea. Regensberg - Germany's largest and best-preserved medieval city, undamaged during WWII, boasts of the twelfth-century Stone Bridge, St. Peter's Cathedral (Gothic church adorned with beautiful stained glass), and Castra Regina Fort.

145: Day 14 - June 9 Passau City on three rivers - Danube, Ilz, Inn St. Stephen's Cathedral - home to world's largest church organ outside the U.S. - 17,774 pipes, 234 resounding stops and featuring a gorgeous octagonal dome Bishop's Residenz - 14th-Century Town Hall

160: M/S River Concerto was level with A Rosa Bella, then below her as we entered the canal.

163: Day 15 - June 10 Melk & Vienna, Austria Melk Abbey, situated along the Danube River, is a 900 year-old Austrian Benedictine Abbey. The Baroque Abbey was built in the early 18th century and holds a remarkable cherub-filled library of thousands of books and manuscripts, and 365 windows - one for every day of the year; twin towers, and a 208-foot-high dome.

168: Ginny's special surprise in Vienna, Austria - reunited with her brother, Bob, after 30 years!

172: Dogs shopping at TJ Maxx, the Galleria, and leaving a bakery!

177: Cabin 402

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