We sailed on the Merlijn, a restored river barge owned and operated by Jantien Wondergen and Henk Karelse. They’re spirited, lovely people who hail from the Netherlands. Jantien and Henk did an incredible job restoring and decorating the boat. You can imagine my delight to spot the above ladies room door within seconds of stepping onto the Merlijn.
The boat has twelve cabins like this one. Plenty of room!.
The bathroom was just right.
Daniela, who is from Romania, keeps the boat shipshape.
Of course I’d heard about river cruises but couldn’t have dreamed just how mystical they are. Your eyes go into overdrive.
We passed cities, towns, castles, churches of every size, and vineyard after vineyard growing riesling grapes.
One day, we took a VERY merry wagon ride into one of those vineyards.
And every night on the boat, Lidia, also Romanian, served us local wines, beers, cocktails, and cordials.
We ate delicious meals in the dining room.
And enjoyed sparking conversations with our fellow travelers. We were fifteen in number, and we became good friends by the time the trip was over. (That wagon ride sure helped!)
The Moselle features a series of locks. Another new experience of 2015. I’d never been through a lock before.
Our tour planner and guide was Dr. Ken Ostrand, who holds a doctorate in Ancient Studies and was a Fulbright Scholar. Ken knows a lot about a lot but has special expertise in antiquities and medieval religious art. He adores ruins and saints! Ken is leading this trip again in 2018. Here’s the link to our trip, but the next one will be nearly identical.
I was especially pleased by the Barbara Baths, built by the Romans. Women and men bathed on separate days. I bet the ladies had a grand old time. Wonder if some of their discussions included menopause talk? (For those who lived long enough.)
I loved this statue of St. Barbara. Let’s hear it for Barbaras! A name no longer trendy, I was pleased to see Barbara had her glory days.
We toured church after church, which was fine with me since I love old churches.
My favorite was the the Cathedral of Our Lady of Luxembourg. I like the expression on the cherub at the bottom of the pillar (At least I think he/she is a cherub).
And I was drawn to the faces of these women, who stand over a tomb of a king/duke whose name I did not record.
Of course the trip wasn’t all history. We checked out the cafes to sample the beer
and the pastries!
I was on keen alert for ladies room doors.
The Chocolate House in Luxembourg Square
A museum in Trier, Germany
This sign lets you know that if you aren’t a customer, you may use the bathroom for fifty cents. Fair enough! I wish establishments in tourist locations in the U.S. would permit this.
Ken was pleased to lead me to this door at the Hotel Bellevue, an art nouveau hotel in Trabach, Germany. Ken reports that the door is original to the hotel, making it circa 1903.
The towns are storybook quality.
Window boxes abound.
Eltz Castle is right out of fairy tale too.
And so are the swans that follow the boat.
I miss the new friends I made, exploring intriguing places, and the view from the Merlijn.
But I was glad to return home with t-shirts for grandson Maze