A Travellerspoint blog

Day 51

Exploring the Netherlands

semi-overcast 23 °C

We set out this morning from our very comfortable lodgings at Dordrecht to explore the Netherlands.

Our first stop was at the town of Kinderdijk, which is known for the traditional windmills. there were a lot of tourists there as our landlord in Dordrecht had predicted.
Wild flowers along the canal

Wild flowers along the canal

Windmill and house

Windmill and house

We drove on to visit Delft and The Hague, both of them busy urban centres. We then went to Lisse, which is a little more rural and the home of Keukenhof, which is closed at this point, but we did see some of the fields of tulips that had already bloomed and were just green. We then drove to Haarlem and followed a canal all the way through this urban area. Many homes had back yards that extended to the canal and had boats anchored in the canal.

Haarlem - Canal and boats in your yard

Haarlem - Canal and boats in your yard

The last area we visited was Beemster Polder where land has been reclaimed from the ocean.

We noticed as we drove through all of these areas the flat farm land, the wind and the many horse farms.

Our lodging for the next two nights is at Huizen which has a shoreline.

View from our hotel balcony

View from our hotel balcony

Another view from our hotel balcony

Another view from our hotel balcony

Posted by A-RPoulton 22:34 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Day 50

Koblenz to Dordrecht

semi-overcast 22 °C

This morning we set off for the Netherlands. Our trip went well but there was little to take pictures of. We had sunny weather and rain - a real mixed weather day.

We are staying in the city of Dordrecht, the oldest city in the Netherlands.

We found that our apartment for tonight is right on a canal that runs into the Oude Maas river. We can see river freighters drifting by.

Our apartment is in a building that was once used to board the children of parents who worked on river freighters. The children would stay here and be cared for and go to school during the week and spend the weekends with their parents on the river.

Our lodging 9 Kuipershaven, Dordrecht, Netherlands

Our lodging 9 Kuipershaven, Dordrecht, Netherlands



We are in the "Old Town" part of Dordrecht as you can see the cobbled street. This picture also shows a bridge across the canal in its raised position.

Up the street

Up the street



Reta took pictures of what we can see around us.

River across the street with freighter going by

River across the street with freighter going by

View across the street

View across the street

End of the street

End of the street

Out the front window

Out the front window



We looked out the window as Reta wrote this email and we found a sunset to share with you.

Sunset May 20 16

Sunset May 20 16

Posted by A-RPoulton 23:01 Archived in Netherlands Comments (0)

Day 49

Rhine River Cruise

semi-overcast 18 °C

We woke up early in the morning. It was pouring rain and only this snail was there to say "goodbye". He was pretty impressive. We think his "foot" was at least 3 inches.

Large snail that greeted us

Large snail that greeted us



We arrived in time at Koblenz to catch our one-day excursion on the Rhine River aboard the Goethe of the Koln-Düsseldorf Line.

Our boat the Goethe of Koln-Dusseldorf line

Our boat the Goethe of Koln-Dusseldorf line



We had the impressive view of Der Ehrenbreitstein across the Rhine from Koblenz.

Der Ehrenbreitstein across the Rhine River at Koblenz

Der Ehrenbreitstein across the Rhine River at Koblenz



Our cruise started in Koblenz and traveled upstream to Rudesheim. This area along the Rhine is referred to as the "Middle Rhine". The trip upstream took 6 hours. The weather was very cool and it rained on and off so we found a table near a window and stayed inside the whole trip upstream. We had a delicious lunch on board. There are 15 castles on the east side of the Rhine River that we viewed on our way to Rudesheim.

The Marksburg Castle was one of the most impressive.

800 year old Marksburg Castle over Braubach near Rhine R

800 year old Marksburg Castle over Braubach near Rhine R



Another interesting sight along the way is Loreley Rock.

Loreley Rock

Loreley Rock



We had one hour to wander the town of Rudesheim. Reta was interested in taking pictures but her memory card was full so we spent our time looking for a new one. We were successful in our search.

The return trip to Koblenz is downstream so what took six hours to travel upstream only took four hours going downstream. There are 13 castles on the west side of the Rhine.

By the time we reached our boat the "Goethe" the sun was shining and it was warm so we chose to sit outside and on the side of the boat that we could see the west side of the Rhine on our way back to Koblenz. We were sitting at an outdoor table and there was a bigger crowd on the boat than there was going upstream. A couple from Lyon, France came and shared our table with us. They spoke mostly French and German with the help of a dictionary, we spoke English and German with the help of a dictionary. Art's practising French before we left home helped enormously in communicating with this couple. We joked that we had a "new dictionary" that was printed in 1969. He showed us his French/German dictionary that was printed in 1940. His father had been a prisoner of war during WWII and had somehow gotten this dictionary. We certainly enjoyed their company. They were only going as far as St. Goarshausen near Loreley as they had a hotel there.

We went inside after our French friends got off the cruise as it was later in the day and the temperature had dropped. We ordered supper and watched the world drift by.

These are two of the 13 castles we saw on the return trip.

Schonburg castle

Schonburg castle

Stolzenfels castle

Stolzenfels castle



After we got back to Koblenz we found our car and drove to our hotel for the night.

Posted by A-RPoulton 22:53 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 48

Frankfurt

semi-overcast 20 °C

We discussed what we would like to do in Frankfurt today. We decided against a Hop On/Hop Off bus or another castle. We decided to visit a botanical garden as we had not done that on this trip yet.

We drove into Frankfurt and got a good parking place near the Palmengarten (Palm Garden). Art went to the machine where you buy time to park and found he needed change to do that and did not have the correct coins. A man came up and they started talking. This gentleman insisted on paying for our parking. Art wanted to pay him with Euros but the man just said. "When I come to Canada, you pay for my parking." We were overwhelmed by this kindness.

On the way to the garden we drove past some blue sheep grazing on a lawn in front of an office building. When we looked these sheep up on the internet we found that they graze in various European cities. They are plastic sheep coloured blue called ovine art by German artists Rainer Bonk and Bertamaria Reetz.

Blue sheep

Blue sheep

When we arrived at the Palmengarten we found that daycares were transporting their charges to the park for the day. This is a picture of one of the wagons they used to transport the children. We saw another wagon which was much bigger and carried about ten children but the picture did not turn out.

Daycare transport

Daycare transport

We paid for our admittance and wandered into the tropical plant enclosure. This Glory Lily caught our attention right away. It is very beautiful.

IBeautiful Glory Lily from Africa and Asia

Beautiful Glory Lily from Africa and Asia

Next we wandered past the dancing fountain and over to the water lily display.

Dancing fountain Palm Garden Frankfurt

Dancing fountain Palm Garden Frankfurt

Water Lilies

Water Lilies

The most plentiful and luxurious displays were of the peonies, rhododendrons and azaleas. The blooms were plentiful and varied. We are just sharing the best of the photos we took.

Peony

Peony


Rhododendron

Rhododendron

Azeleas

Azeleas

This park also had a miniature train which went around the park. This is its station.

Hauptbahnhaus for garden train

Hauptbahnhaus for garden train

We had our picnic lunch sitting on a park bench and enjoying the day and the beautiful flowers.

As we were about to leave the park, a small bird caught our attention and even though it was nervous and flew from place to place it did stop long enough for us to get a photo. When we got back to our lodging we looked it up on the internet and found that it was a European Robin.

European Robin

European Robin

We returned to our car and started driving. A few blocks into our journey we spotted this tower with colourful buildings behind it. We can not find this tower on the internet but thought it was worth sharing.

Unable to name this tower

Unable to name this tower

The last thing that caught our attention as we drove through Frankfurt was a very large installation that was animated. When we got back to the internet we found that this is a "Hammering Man". He was created by Jonathon Borofsky. There are a number of them in different cities around the world but this one at 21 feet tall is the most prominent. He was installed for the Frankfurt Trade Fair in 1990.

Hammering man

Hammering man

We thought we would share with you a view out of our window of the patchwork of fields in our view.

View of patchwork fields outside our window

View of patchwork fields outside our window

Tomorrow we will take our Rhine River cruise. We need to leave here very early in the morning and will not arrive at our lodging in Koblenz until late at night so we may not get an email off until Friday.

Posted by A-RPoulton 08:24 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Day 47

Wartburg Castle

semi-overcast 16 °C

This morning we were greeted by a cold cloudy morning. The temperature by lunch time had reached 10 C (50 F).

We had breakfast this morning at a local bake shop and purchased prepared sandwiches for lunch. We stopped for lunch at a "raststation" which has a gas station, restaurant, shop and washrooms. These are very popular with cars, buses and transport trucks. The one we stopped at today even had a hotel on premises. This picture of their mascot looks like he had too many "wobbly pops" and certainly should be off the highway.

Highway stop

Highway stop

We spotted this sign as we drove along a two-lane highway with trees on both sides of the road. We had not seen a sign that warned of low hanging branches before.

Highway sign - low hanging branches

Highway sign - low hanging branches



Our major stop for today was at Wartburg Castle near Eisenach, Germany. This castle is another UNESCO World Heritage site. We got parking at the bottom of the hill and walked to the top where the castle is.

Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle



A knight greeted us at the information centre.

Knight guarding the castle

Knight guarding the castle

We were always under the impression that knights were not in the habit of bathing but this castle had a special room labeled as the "Knight's bath". It was very fancy, maybe that's why they were interested in using it.

Knight's bath

Knight's bath

This well, decorated with a dragon, was in the courtyard.

Dragon well

Dragon well

This is the first castle that we have entered through a draw bridge.

Draw bridge

Draw bridge



The outside of this castle is impressive.

Wartburg castle

Wartburg castle



The temperature did manage to get to 16 C or 61 F this afternoon but it still felt cool.

We are staying tonight and tomorrow night at a farm near Frankfurt, Germany. We looked out to see if we had a sunset and spotted this sheep eating grass not far from our window. When we spoke he/she looked up at us as if to say, "What are you doing there?"

Sheep  outside our window

Sheep outside our window



It is now almost 9 PM and it is light out but the sunset is a bit disappointing.

Art is watching "Jumanji" in German on TV for entertainment tonight.

Posted by A-RPoulton 12:36 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

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