On rivers between the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Alps

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Risberg
Inlägg: 709
Blev medlem: mån 05 okt 2020, 21:15
Ort: Trelleborg

On rivers between the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Alps

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Two things, one destination and one means of transport, I deliberately saved to my more sedate days. The destination was the Greek archipelago, which I visited in the summer of 2019, more precisely the islands of Mykonos, Chios, Samos, Naxos and Crete. I went by ferry from Trelleborg to Świnoujście and then by train via Poznan, Wrocław, Budapest, Arad, Bucharest, Ruse, Sofija, Kulata (short trip by bus to) Strimon and Thessaloniki to Athens. Nothing was pre-booked and I wasn't even sure about the train connections between Bucharest and Greece, but all worked out well, not only did I get sleeping compartments Wrocław – Budapest and Arad – Bucharest, but neither did the only 45 minutes connection in Budapest Sunday morning cause any problems. The five Greek islands were very different from each other, and I'm no longer sure why I chose Chios or Samos, but Mykonos was very pitoresque, Naxos the way I had expected a typical Greek island to be and Crete was just wonderful. Unfortunately I didn't manage to visit Rhodes.

The means of transport was river cruising in Europe.

I had hoped to be able to go from the Black Sea to Amsterdam and further on to Basle within one period of time. That I could just forget, also booking all three trips (no company sails all the way from the Black Sea to Amsterdam as one cruise) through the same travel agency. For the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise I had to use a Norwegian, completely lousy, agency, for the Vienna to the Black Sea cruise I booked through an Austrian company in Vienna (who actually had ruined a similar trip for me in 1983) and for the Amsterdam to Basle cruise I used another Norwegian, much better, agency. Furthermore I had to spread them, going Budapest to Amsterdam in June 2017, Vienna to the Black Sea in August and Amsterdam to Basle in August/September, with the need to go home to Oslo between each cruise.

My aim with the tours was not primarily to visit the towns and cities we called – most of them I've either visited before or could easily visit by train – it was enjoying the river landscape. This resulted in many night sittings on the sun deck and sleeping during many excursions. The first cruise was from Budapest to Amsterdam by the extremely expensive but still not the best company Amaways on their "AMAPRIMA". However, they served sect for breakfast, which I surely enjoyed, but the way they served goose liver paté was like a hamburger, between far too much bread. But I guess you cannot expect more from an USamerican company. The worst thing about that company was that they didn't have any map at all, telling us where we were or the route (really bad on the river cruise I made with them in the Netherlands and Belgium at Easter 2018), and the crew had absolutely no clue! Anyway, I travelled to Budapest by train from Oslo via Gothenburg and Malmö to Trelleborg, ferry to Rostock and train further on via Hamburg and Vienna. The taxi driver in Budapest of course "offered" me a fixed price to the quay, probably triple to the correct amount. The "AMAPRIMA" first made an evening cruise in Budapest, then we were taken on an excursion in the city the next day, and in the evening started the actual cruise. I sat up all the night to Bratislava, and slept while we were docking there. Then I sat up all the way to Vienna, and slept there. The ship sailed 15 knots, but with the current in the opposite direction the actual speed was only 6-7 knots. From Vienna to Passau the river is extremely beautiful and winding and we also visited the medieval town of Dürrenstein. We also had an excursion in the wonderful town of Regensburg. Shortly after we reached Kelheim, where we left the Danube and went into the Rhine-Main-Danube canal. Most passengers went on an excursion by bus to Nuremberg, while I enjoyed the entire canal on the ship. On the qauy in Nuremberg my German travel agent waited for me to give me my tickets to the Siberian river cruise on the Yenisey. The "AMAPRIMA" continued to Bamberg, another wonderful medieval town. We passed a lot of locks down stream Main, visited Würzburg and Miltenberg and sailed through Frankfurt early in the morning. After a visit in Rüdesheim we continued down stream the Rhine, certainly a very busy river with railway lines on both sides. In Cologne the ship had a very central docking quay. Next morning was a disappointment. Suddenly we turned into a wharf to repair one of the screws and were put on uncomfortable buses on the most dull high ways thinkable to Amsterdam, where we participated in excursions, before we were taken to Utrecht by bus, to join the ship again, so that we actually arrived our final destination by the ship. I went home by train to Travemünde via Osnabrück, Hamburg and Lübeck, ferry to Trelleborg, taxi to Malmö and train via Hallsberg.
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Because of this we were offered some of next years cruises to very reduced prices, making me actually booking an Easter cruise 2018 in the Netherlands and Belgium, by the "AMALEA", also departing from Amsterdam, this time arriving by train from Kiel via Hamburg, Osnabrück and Hengelo and ferry from Oslo to Kiel. The AMALEA first went to Hoorn, once a port at the sea, now at the lake Ijselmeer, and actually giving name to Cape Horn, and then on Amsterdam-Rijn canal, the rivers De Lek, Oude Maas, Dordtse Kil and Hollandse Diep, the Volkerakkanaal, rivers Kramer, Zijpe, Oosterschelde and Veerse Meer and the Walcherenkanaal to Middelburg, a nice medieval town. To find out where we actually sailed, although I sat up all night, wasn't easy, due to the total ignorance of the crew. We then continued on the Oosterschelde, Kanaal dor Zuid, Beverland and Westerschelde to Antwerpe. Then it was Westerschelde and Zeekanaal Gent-Terneuzen to Gent, a lovely Belgian city. On the Kanaal dor Zuid and the rivers Oude Maas and Nieuwe Maas we came to downtown Rotterdam. After that we visited the UNESCO protected windmills in Kinderdijk, before returning to Amsterdam. Trains via Osnabrück, Hamburg and Lübeck to Travemünde, ferry to Trelleborg, taxi to Malmö and trains via Gothenburg took me home to Oslo.

Back to the year 2017. Two months after the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise I again went by trains and ferries via Gothenburg, Malmö, Trelleborg, Rostock and Berlin to Vienna. It had been hard to find a cruise that actually sailed all the way to the Black Sea – most of the lower Danube cruises ended in Ruse and by bus to Bucharest! The "NESTROY", however, sailed all the way to the Black Sea, even twice, once in the Ukraine and once in Romania. Bratislava we only passed, our first port of call was Budapest. Then we continued across the Hungarian pusta to Croatia and Serbia, and called Belgrade, where the blue river Sava meets the brown Danube. The day after offered one of the high lights of the cruise; passing the "Iron Gate" between Serbia and Romania. A large Yugoslav flag and the text "TITO" could still be seen on the Serbian side. We then called Ruse in Bulgaria, where I participated in a bus excursion to Arbanassi and Veliko Tarnovo, but did not participate in the bus excursion from Oltenita to Bucharest, but continued by the ship to Fetesti, where the participants in that excursion came back. We passed Ukranian Izmail, a terrible industrial port early in the morning and docked in Vilkove. From there we boarded an excursion boat in the delta and reached the Black Sea. Back in Vilkove the "NESTROY" started its journey to Romanian Sulina at the Black Sea, where the "NESTROY" actually backed out into the Black Sea, and then went to the little cosy town of Tulcea, where the cruise ended and everybody, except me, although I had had to pay for the ticket, flew back to Vienna. Instead a rather exciting train journey home, full of misinformation and lack of information, took place. First I took the train to Bucharest and a sleeping car to Arad. I then continued to Budapest, from where there this night were no sleeping cars to Warszaw, according to Deutsche Bahn in Rostock. But there was, and I bought a compartment from the sleeping car guard. In Warszaw the train I had planned to take to Poznan was late, in addition to have a later departure then I had been informed about. There I just missed the through train to Świnoujście by a few minutes, but took a train to Szczecin Dabie. Luckily I found a local train to Świnoujście, arriving fifty minutes before the ferry departure to Trelleborg, but I had no idea what the check-in time was. Anyway, most satisfied I reached the ferry. From Trelleborg I went home to Oslo by train the next day.

Two weeks later I took the ferry from Oslo to Kiel and the train via Osnabrück to Amsterdam, to board the "AMADEUS SILVER III". Of the three river boats that year she definitely had the best food and was the most comfortable. The ship first went to Hoorn at Ijselmeer, and then the Amsterdam-Rijn canal into the Rhine. Like on the previous cruises I sat up in the nights to see the river landscape. We called Cologne, and then went up to Koblenz to go up the Mosel river. Suddenly the ship turned around and backed up to the destination Cochem, where it was to narrow to turn around. Cochem wasn't quite as pitoresque as I had hoped. We went back to Koblenz, where we docked and I strolled around on my own. We called Rüdesheim, Mannheim and Strasbourg and came finally to Basle early in the morning. Due to broken railway line between Basle and Karlsruhe I had to go by train via Strasbourg, Metz, Luxemburg, Koblenz and Hamburg to Kiel to take the ferry home to Oslo.
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Two years later I had moved to Trelleborg and took the ferry to Rostock and the train to Koblenz via Hamburg. After a night at a hotel there I continued to Nennig and walked across the bridge from German Nennig to Luxemburg Remich, to board the "LEONARDI DA VINCI" to Frankfurt am Main. The food wasn't the best on that ship and without choices, but the captain very friendly. We called the very ancient town of Trier, 2089 years old (Augusta Trevora) at the time! Most interesting. After that we only called ports I had visited on my previous river cruises – the whole point was to sail the upper Mosel. From Frankfurt I travelled around somewhat in Germany by train before going home by the ferry from Rostock.
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Fellow passengers on the "AMAPRIMA" were mostly USamericans but also other Americans. Some of them were typical American in a not all too pleasant way, and to a high degree in favour of their president Donald Trump. Those who weren't were on the contrary ashamed of him, there was no in-between. A very interesting passenger was a retired high ranked engineer from the Russian railways, travelling with his wife. The language on board was English, the staff from various European and other countries. On the "NESTROY" most passengers were Austrian and the language on board was (Austrian) German. An old lady, sitting at my table, could't tell whether she had lived in the Russian, British, French or American section of Vienna till 1955, when Austria was liberated! On the "SILVER AMADEUS III" my fellow passengers were rather mixed, quite a few Norwegians. The language was English. Again, on the "AMALEA" many passengers were Overseas. The passengers on the "LEONARDI DA VINCI" were local German from the Rhineland, not always easy to understand. The language on board was German.

And there we have a negative emoji from kehinde. Because the thread is written in English, meantions (soon Ex) President Trump or simply because of the thread author? :lol:
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