Thursday, February 4, 2016

Inside a Kinderdijk Windmill

Welcome to Windmill 2
Kinderdijk

Journey with me to South Holland to Kinderdijk, which is situated in a polder in the Alblasserwaard, at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers.  Here you can step back in time to the 1740s where you'll find 19 windmills that were built to control the water levels in the area.   Today, these are no longer in use, but they have been preserved and are part of a UNESCO Heritage site.

What Was Life Like in a Windmill

You've probably seen the television commercial where a boy is telling his grandpa how good kids have it these days.   That made me think back to many centuries ago and wonder just what was it like to live in a windmill?

We visited the Kinderdijk during our Rhine & Moselle River Cruise last July and also on our Tulip Time river cruise a few years ago. We dusted off these pictures from the first trip to share them with you.  Click here for more images.

Approaching the windmill, you see signs of life in the shuttered windows - it looks cheerful and very inviting.

Stepping inside the windmill, the first thing you notice is a very small, but functional living space.  A lamp supplements the lighting coming in through the windows.  The room is filled with living essentials. There's a sewing machine, chairs, stove, pots and pans, and a table to name a few things you see.  In fact everything you need is neatly in its place.

A made-up bed is tucked into an alcove in the wall with just enough room for someone to sleep comfortably. Everyone has their private "bedroom" in the walls.

There are no squared corners in this house inside a windmill.   The rounded structure necessitates organizing belongings such that it fits in the small area.   The walls are part of the storage space with boots hanging there for easy access.

It was necessary for the occupants to get access to the top of the windmill, to make repairs for example.   Wooden staircases provide access to the upper stories of the windmill.

This was a working structure primarily with the family accommodations required so that the windmill could be monitored constantly.   The other people in the area depended on these families.    Before the windmills, there were problems with the water level.   Keeping these windmills working was very critical.

We hope you've enjoyed your short visit to this windmill in Kinderdijk. 

Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:




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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to Solve Mystery Photos

click image to enlarge

Have you ever been on vacation, seen an interesting building, and decided to take a photo, only to look at it later and wonder ....

What Is This Building?

It's possible that at the time the photo was taken, you might even have known what it was (thanks to your tour guide for example).

But now that you are back home, processing your pictures, you just don't have a clue.

Do you like solving puzzles?

If so, you may become obsessed with finding the answer to what you are looking at.  You'll need to do some searching to find the answer.  Are you ready to give it a try?   We figured this one out - can you?

Start With What You Know

If you are like us, you've put your trip photos into albums by day and / or location.   So you already know where you were when you took this photo.    

Location:  We were in Cologne, Germany the day this photo was taken

Still no help? Look closer at the other photos in the album.  In particular, look at those immediately before and after this image.  In this case there was another mystery building before and a second view of the mystery photo after it.
Not much help, so back to the drawing board.

Any Hints in Photos?  

The photo was taken just before 1 PM so that means we were at lunch and about to sail from Cologne on the Rhine River.  There appears to be writing on the building and a Globus bus in the parking lot.  

Enlarging the photo in an editor, we can make out some letters which appear to end in "astei". Taking a closer look the first letter appears to be "B".  We won't give you the answer just yet in case you want to solve this on your own.   

Solve This Puzzle - Get an OBC on an Avalon River Cruise Booked through Us
 
Go forth and use Google or your favorite search engine to solve this puzzle and tweet us your answer.  We can tell you it is not a bridge (in case that is one of your possible answers).   

Tweet your answer to us by Feb 5th for a chance at the OBC onboard any 2016 or 2017 Avalon Waterways river cruise.   (you can contact us via email if you don't use Twitter)

Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:




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Monday, February 1, 2016

Avalon Artistry II Galley Tour

Chef Takes Us
Behind the Scenes

What does it take to feed the passengers and crew of Avalon Artistry II?

A small galley crew prepares fresh meals from regional menus each day of the cruise.  Each dinner menu consists of appetizers & starters, a main entree, and desserts.  Breakfast and lunches have several choices which are served buffet style.  It is also possible to order from a daily menu of optional choices.

We got the opportunity to go behinds the scenes for a closeup look at the galley.  It's much smaller than galleys on ocean ships, as you might expect.   What it lacks in size is made up by talented chefs and assistants with the desire to make every meal special for their guests.  Click on the image below for a closer look at the galley.
 



Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:



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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Walking Tour Cologne


Avalon Artistry II
in Cologne
Germany

Our morning tour began shortly after breakfast.  We departed the ship in groups as usual and headed for town.

Cologne (German Köln) is Germany's fourth-largest city after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. Cologne is located on both sides of the Rhine River, less than eighty kilometres from Belgium. The city's famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. (click on images).




One of the few remaining parts of Cologne, dating back to the Middle Ages, is located not far from the beautiful Romanesque St. Martin Church. There are many interesting and colourful old town houses which date back to between the 14th and 17th Centuries. Cologne was heavily bombed during The Second World War. Fortunately those charming Gothic buildings were not affected. The modern day fish market is a charming blend of inns and pubs.

Our guide lead us to the Cologne Cathedral at which time we were allowed to explore at our leisure. We had to be back on board the ship for lunch by 12:30 PM The ship sailed shortly after that.

Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page
 

Cologne Cathedral (Interior)


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Cologne Cathedral

click images  to enlarge
Complimentary City Tour
Cologne


Avalon Artistry II arrived  in Cologne, Germany around 7 AM, while we were having breakfast.  Two complimentary walking tours were offered - one of them focused on Jewish heritage and the other was a city tour.   We opted for the latter.

Cathedral

Construction of the Cologne Cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece, took place in several stages starting in 1248 and concluding in 1880.

This Roman Catholic cathedral dominates the skyline of Cologne. It is one of Germany's most famous landmarks. It was the highlight of our morning tour of the city. Dedicated to the saints Peter and Mary, Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne.

Shrine of Three Kings

The cathedral's main treasure is a golden reliquary containing the remains of the Three Magi of Christmas story fame. These relics and other treasures have made Cologne Cathedral a major pilgrimage destination for centuries.

The reliquary is said to contain the bones of the Biblical Magi, also known as the Three Kings or the Three Wise Men. The shrine is a large gilded and decorated triple sarcophagus placed above and behind the high altar of Cologne Cathedral. It is considered the high point of Mosan art and the largest reliquary in the western world.

Interior of Cathedral

In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. In 2004 it was placed on the "World Heritage in Danger" list, as the only Western site in danger, due to plans to construct a high-rise building nearby, which would have visually impacted the site. The cathedral was removed from the List of In Danger Sites in 2006, following the authorities' decision to limit the heights of buildings constructed near and around the cathedral.

The interior of Cologne Cathedral is even more impressive than the exterior. Since the official part of our tour concluded at the cathedral, we were free to roam at our own pace. We could have spent hours there. We highly recommend an extended visit to the cathedral should your plans bring you to Cologne.



Near the sacristy is the Gero-Kreuz, a large crucifix carved in oak and with traces of paint and gilding. Believed to have been commissioned around 960 for Archbishop Gero, it is the oldest large crucifix north of the Alps and the earliest-known large free-standing Northern sculpture of the medieval period.

In the Sacrament Chapel is the Mailänder Madonna ("Milan Madonna"), dating from around 1290, a wooden sculpture depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. The altar of the patron saints of Cologne with an altar piece by the International Gothic painter, Stefan Lochner is in the Marienkapelle ("St. Mary's Chapel"). Other works of art are in the Cathedral Treasury. The altar also houses the relics of Saint Irmgardis.


Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page


Cologne Cathedral (Interior)

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Navigating 5 Types of Signs Onboard Cruise Ship

Signs Signs Everywhere a Sign

For Cruise Rookies:
If you've never been on a cruise, the following information about signs you'll see onboard your ship may come in handy.

For Cruise Veterans:

You may not have even noticed some of these signs the last time you were on a ship.  Perhaps you should pay more attention to the signs  the next time you are on a cruise.

For Every Cruiser:

Please pay attention to the Safety signs - they are there to protect you and make sure everyone enjoys their cruise.

In this article we'll feature signs that we photographed on Carnival Conquest.  You'll find similar signs on the other cruise lines as well.  Knowing about the types of signs onboard will help you make the most of your cruise vacation.

Safety Signs

The sign above is posted on your stateroom door.  It contains the layout of your deck, marks your location, and emergency exits.  It also contains information about what to do in an emergency including how to put on your life jacket.   This is important reading, especially for first-time cruisers.

This next group of signs have important safety and conservation information.  It is everyone's responsibility to help prevent illness by washing their hands.  Everyone on board the ship needs to work together for the comfort and safety of others and to preserve the environment for the future.


Click for Larger Images
  
Directional Signs 

Here are just a few examples of signs that help you find your way on the ship.  In this modern age there are now electronic signs that provide current information and directions.  Public rooms have a sign on the door similar to this one (note it even has braille lettering).  Lastly, you'll see signs like the one in the middle that direct you to popular locations on the ship.



Food & Beverage Signs 

These signs come in several types.  The first one lists the hours of operation of a very popular bar on Carnival cruise ships.  The second sign instructs you on how to order your custom-made burrito.  Finally there are signs describing drink packages which can be purchased on your first day on the ship, which could possibly save you money over the length of the cruise (depending on how much you'd normally order).  For more information on drink packages, see our previous article Bottomless Bubbles & Cheers.

 
               


Activity Signs 

There is a lot happening on the ship each day.   Cruise lines may also use signage to advertise popular events so that you don't miss them.   Here we learn about some casino special events and shore excursions.



 

               


Informational Signs 

The remaining signs we'll put in this category.   Typically they tell about special offers, which may be time limited.  Pictured are a sign explaining discounts in the shops, another one suggesting you capture a special image as a souvenir, and lastly how to earn bonus points on the money spent on your cruise.


 
      

This Friday on Twitter 

@ChrisPappinMCC is a weekly photo forum run by et al. We helped co-host a few times but have turned the reins back over to Alex and team. 

Theme suggestions are solicited for each week.   If you can't guess, this week's theme is #SIGNS so we thought we'd get a head start with this selection.   Be sure to join us on Friday.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc for more ideas.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Koblenz Lunch Menu

Last July we sailed on Avalon Artistry II along the Rhine & Moselle Rivers.  The 12 days went by pretty fast as most vacations do.  However, providing you with all the details is taking quite some time.   We had thousands of pictures to go through and organize. Here is yet another example of the fabulous menus the chef and staff presented to us in the main dining room.  We hope you are enjoying our trip.

What's Lunch Like on Avalon Artistry II

Following our included Morning Excursion to Koblenz it was time to get back onboard Avalon Artistry II for lunch. Shortly after that, we set sail for our afternoon stop in Königswinter.  


click on images to enlarge




Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page

Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.

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