Birthdays are important to Peggy. When we first met, she told me “Forget my birthday and you are toast.” She was kidding, sort of. Apparently her first husband forgot the warning. I never have. Grin. Decade birthdays are even more important. For her 70th, Peggy planned a special outing. We would take the whole family on a riverboat trip up the Rhine. The kids and grandkids loved the idea (who wouldn’t), tickets were purchased, excitement grew, and then Covid struck.
Fortunately, our kids came up with an alternative for Peggy’s big 70. They rented a large house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the celebration. We hopped in Quivera, our small RV/van, and zipped across the country. Carefully. Covid was raging. It was a great celebration and Peggy was quite happy. But the riverboat trip was not forgotten. We still had the tickets and would use them as soon as Covid calmed down and Europe let us back in, which happened this past summer.
I’ve already done two posts on Amsterdam where we started and ended the adventure. Today, I am kicking off the series about our trip up the Rhine.
It was special, no doubt about it. The boat trip in itself was a delight— good food, nice rooms, and great service. (Admittedly, Peggy went first class. But what the heck, it’s only the kids’ inheritance.) While I am not a fan of mega-cruises with thousands of people and their impact on local communities, I will admit they are good for family outings. People have their own space. They can come together or go their own way. No one has to plan entertainment, no one has to cook, and no one has to clean up. It reduces the likelihood of the trauma that sometimes accompanies family get togethers. Our riverboat offered all of these advantages plus one more, a big one: there were only a hundred people.
Today, I am going to feature the first part of our journey. The countryside was relatively flat and industrial centers frequent. While it lacked the scenery and castles of the romantic Rhine River Valley we were about to experience, there was beauty and charm. And, we ended up in Koln/Cologne where we visited one of the world’s most beautiful cathedrals— and a chocolate museum/factory. Have I ever shared how much Peggy loves chocolate?
The photos for this post and all of the Rhine River series are all taken by Peggy and me unless otherwise noted.
23 thoughts on “The Rhine River Trip Begins… The River, a Cathedral and a Chocolate Factory!”
Thank you Google calendar for never letting me forget a birthday or anniversary.
Definitely a way to get in deep doo-doo. Fortunately Peggy’s is the only one I have to be 100% sure I remember. And, July 5th, the day after the 4th, makes it easy. I can slip by without Google.
So many good things about this post, Curt. It’s great seeing Peggy crowned, as she should be, ha ha. So for her 70th she got TWO celebrations? That’s pretty cool. I completely agree: birthdays are the most important day, and decade birthdays are for a great big trip. My favourite photo in this collection is the one of the St. Martin Church, with the colorful homes in front and the beautiful church and the crepuscular rays. You set that up wonderfully. Also, I appreciated every single angle of the Cathedral. I can’t get enough of them. I agree that it’s weird to keep parts of saints. I believe that was a money-making scheme in the earlier days, but the part I can’t understand is why a finger or a toe bone is not considered morbid and disrespectful. Does anybody store a chunk of pelvis, or the knee bone? It’s usually something more acceptable, right. Just….weird.
I once read that a whole forest of pieces of the Cross was sold during the Middle Ages, Crystal. Then there was the pass on all of your sins if you gave the church enough money. Apparently hell was reserved for those who couldn’t afford to buy their way out of it.
The cathedral was amazing. We certainly haven’t seen all of the cathedrals in Europe, but we’ve seen enough to know that it is among the most impressive.
St. Martins was a plus. I had several photos but decided that the one that also featured the colorful houses was the best.
And yes, Peggy does know how to get the most out of her birthdays. 🙂 –Curt
I want to go back Curt. It would be terrible to have gone later when the river was too low, but we arrived at the end of our trip after 17 days of rain out of 21 [we had some add-ons at the beginning and end] and the river was closed due to the worst flooding in 500 years. Later “river cruisers” were taken to each stop on buses! We had a great time anyway, but I had wanted Alie to see it in the sunshine as I had about 50 years before while hitchhiking.
We have certainly arrived at an era of extremes, Ray. If it isn’t politics, it’s the weather. We were lucky with our timing on the Rhine. We had sunshine every day… and without excessive heat.
I’m pleased to see that Peggy managed to turn 70 twice. Great way to celebrate.
She does have a way of extending her birthdays. 🙂
A great way to travel and one isn’t subject to huge waves or get shipwrecked in stormy waters. It is reassuring to be close to land. With views on both sides another bonus.
We are certainly sold on the idea of river boat trips, Gerard. Our next one will be down the Nile in March to celebrate my 80th.
Happy Birthday to Peggy! That woman knows how to celebrate (oh, the crown). Fun photos of the chocolate factory with the gang, Curt, and I loved the pics of the church and cathedral. Such remarkable architecture and beauty. They don’t build them like that anymore. I’m looking forward to the Rhine castles. 🙂
Peggy does indeed know how to celebrate, D. And the crown was a fun touch. The cathedrals of Europe have always been mind-blowing to me. And the Marksburg Castle is coming up next Friday!
love Peggy’s regal appearance in her beautiful birthday crown. Love the pictures, gourmet food and what’s a birthday without the chocolate factory Curt. Happy Birthday Peggy!
Thanks, Cindy. As you can imagine, a good time was had by all. Peggy says thanks as well. 🙂 –Curt
That birthday crown is perfect. I presume you keep a collection of crowns available for daily use — she deserves it. (Happy birthday, Peggy!) Any trip that involves both cathedrals and chocolate’s a good one. With the river cruise as a plus, it sounds just about perfect.
One floated around for a while, Linda. As I remember, Peggy inherited it from her mother. Isn’t that how the whole royalty business is supposed to work?
Really hard too beat. Grin. Next up is the Nile. Pyramids will have to be substituted for castles, but I think we can manage it.
I love Peggy’s crown. It suits her. I think all senior women should be called Queenagers 😁 we’ve earned it.
As for your little boat trip, it looks fabulous. I’m jealous.
Did I tell you I’m jealous? Oh right, I guess I did 😂
Peggy is laughing at Queenagers. I think that the two of you certainly qualify! Both share that delightful sense of still being young and in love with life!
Jealous says the woman who is presently blogging about being in Croatia! Ha. 🙂 –Curt
😂 yeah well, a Rhine (or Danube) cruise is on the BL for sure.
That trip is a crowning achievement. One can only wonder what the Nile will bring?
Could be we will wrap it up this time, an appropriate thought for Halloween. Thanks hanks, Dave.