Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #23

 

The second day on a tour with Viking River Cruises we ran across a street performer blowing gigantic bubbles in Cologne Germany. Even though it was drizzling sporadically the bubbles were beautiful! A few were enormous and would cover a person’s upper torso. This young man surely kept the crowd entertained and proceeded to produce a vast quantity of bubbles to all the children’s glee and some adults!

 

Cologne Bubbles Photo of the Day

 

The Cologne Cathedral was in front of this area and was one of the most gorgeous religious structures I have witnessed. I’m not sure what it is, but the Gothic Architecture of these Catholic sanctuaries grabs me and pulls me in every time I visit one that was built several centuries ago. I could spend days if not weeks photographing the exterior and interior facade.

 

 

Cologne Large Bubbles Photo of the Day 

 

This Cathedral is Germany’s most visited landmark and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Having this young man generating gigantic bubbles made it all the better and

 

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #22

As we walked through Breisach Germany, where Viking River Cruises stopped, we went on a self guided tour and visited the St Stephens Cathedral on the hill. On our return walk we came across this piece of history that stood out, literally from the side of the building. We were told the individual who resided in the upstairs wanted to protect either his daughter or wife from intruders. It was considered a form of a chastity belt. I know I definitely wouldn’t climb the gutter or the pole before, if I encountered this contraption!

 

Antiquated Chastity Belt Contraption on an Exterior Drain Pipe

 

I am always amazed with history and what one runs across on the various tours that Viking offers. One never knows what will materialize or show itself, when traversing the streets in Europe. This, by far though, has to be one of the most shrewd applications I have ever seen while touring European cities. I am glad it caught my eye.

 

 

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

 

Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #21

We landed after about 15 hours of flight and layovers, excited beyond all means, especially since I had never been to Amsterdam. We were given time to store our luggage, but I wanted to see the city. Obviously one cannot even begin to observe a metropolitan area in 6 to 8 hours, but we gave it an effort. Viking River Cruises had a walking tour that was good and gave us a brief picture of the magnificent municipality. Everyone has heard I’m sure of the canals and their popular mode of transportation, bicycles. I think I was able to capture both in a couple of photos.

 

Amsterdam Canal

 

I feel the photo above captures what I have always thought of when someone mentions Amsterdam. It is amazing how the residents can take advantage of every free square inch of space along the canals. It’s a mixture of small of cars, bicycles and motorbikes all parked and intertwined among each other, leaving no area without some type of vehicle slotted in the gap between trees. I was totally in awe of their ability to make use of every space available. Even the boats were lined up and water traffic could flow in both directions without obstructing the canal. It was a beautiful sight for this old man’s eyes!

 

 

Amsterdam Canal with Mopeds, Bicycles and Cars

 

I can’t wait to return and spend quality time in this gorgeous metropolis. Regardless of your favorite travel spots, Amsterdam is a place I feel I could return to again and again! Next time I definitely will spend a couple of weeks or maybe even a month or more. I want to experience it like a local!

 

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own. 

Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #20

Our first tour with Viking River Cruises was to a cheese processing farm in the Kinderdjik area of Holland/Netherlands. It was fantastic because I love cheese, especially Gouda, as this farm made. Holland is the largest exporter of cheese in the world. These Holstein cows are milked twice a day and their milk is the first step in the process of making the Gouda cheese.

 

Holstein Dairy Cows

 

As a young boy I visited my Grandfather’s dairy farm in Howard Kansas every year. Most of the times at Thanksgiving and we would spend a week there. The farm had over 200 head of mixed breed dairy cattle, a significant amount of the herd was Holstein. Visiting this dairy farm in the Netherlands made all these childhood memories flood through my brain. Thoughts of milking my grandfather’s cows by hand and collecting the milk in 5 gallon metal containers ran through my brain like a runaway train. The Holsteins were gorgeous, at least to me!

 

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own. 

Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #19

On our Viking River Cruise last September, we chose to extend our trip with a weekend in Lucerne Switzerland. The first place we stopped after arriving was at the Lion Monument, which was next to the Gletschergarten. I was able to photograph the entrance to the “Glacier Garden”.

 

Glacier Gardens Lucerne

 

The garden is 20 million years old and the natural monument was created during the last ice age. It is located in the middle of Lucerne and contains glacier pots which have petrified shells and palm leaves dating back to the ice age. Additionally there is a museum and mirror maze.

 

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own. 

Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #8

Our three day extension in Prague after our Viking River Cruise on the Danube River was terrific and we saw a beautiful municipality, which is now one of my favorite cities in the world. On our way to the John Lennon wall one day we came upon this magnificent architectural phenomenon. It really captured my sense of bygone days. There were all sorts of crafts, jewelry and art being sold along the bridge. The statues and sculptures were fantastic located all along the bridge. On our way back we ran into a music group playing some kind of music that made me grab Kim and start dancing to the glee of everyone on the bridge and the group of musicians. It seemed like the thing to do. I seriously think the crowd loved it and we received great applause. Well maybe it was only one or two that clapped.

 

The Charles Bridge is a historic structure that crosses the Vitava river in Prague, Czech Republic. Actual work began in 1357 during the reign of King Charles IV and was completed in the early 1600’s. Initially it was called the Stone Bridge or just the Prague Bridge. In the late 1800’s it became known as the Charles Bridge, I’m guessing after King Charles who was in power when the construction began. Until 1841 it was the only passage across the Vitava river and was the exclusive connection between Prague Castle and Old Town Prague. It significantly increased land transit between eastern and western Europe.

 

 

Old Town Bridge Tower

 

The bridge is 2037 feet long and 33 feet wide. It was defined as a Bow Bridge, as the architecture resembled a bow. In addition it was a mirror of the Stone Bridge in Regensburg Germany. There are three towers, one on the Old Town side entrance and two on the Prague Castle side. There are 30 statues which were built close to 1700 in a Baroque style. They are all replicas now and have all been replaced with fabrications of the originals. This tower is considered by many to be one of the most astounding samples of Gothic style construction in the world.

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #7

 

I haven’t kept up with my Photo of the Day series lately and have had a few medical issues, a first grandson born, with a trip to Japan to see the little guy and I thought it was time to get back in the saddle so to say and start producing again. I love Viking River Cruises and can’t talk enough about this great company. Their service, staff, tour guides, on-board staff and food is without reproach IMHO! So without any further adieu here we go with another Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day.

 

Szechenyi Chain Bridge

 

The Szechenyi Chain Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans the Danube river in Budapest Hungary. It separates the the two cities of Budapest with Buda on the west side and Pest on the east side. It is one of the most photographed bridges to my knowledge in Europe and perhaps the world. It is located on the Buda side near Gresham Palace and on the Pest side near the Castle Hill Funicular that leads to Buda Castle.

 

It is constructed of cast wrought iron and stone. At a length of 1,230 feet, a width of 49 feet it remained in place until World War II. When the Germans retreated they blew it up on January 18, 1945. Only the towers remained. The bridge was rebuilt and reopened in 1949, one hundred years from it’s original opening.

 

The bridge is was designed by William Tierney Clark in 1839. It was a replica of sorts of Tierney’s earlier Marlow Bridge that spanned the River Thames in Marlow England. It was the first permanent bridge in the Hungarian Capital when it opened in 1849, directly following the Hungarian Revolution.

 

A few cool facts in regard to the bridge’s popularity. A Hungarian stunt pilot actually flew upside down under the bridge in 2001. The stunt has become a habit in the Red Bull Air Races of today. It is featured in the following movies, I Spy, Au Pair, Walking with the Enemy, and several other generic Spy movies. Katy Perry uses it in her music video “Firework”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

Viking Cruises, Photo of the Day #1

 

As I barrel towards the sunset, my body reminds me daily of the aging process I am facing head on. There are days I spring out of bed (just kidding, I don’t think that has actually transpired in decades!) and hit the ground running (LOL, not in twenty years have I run, except my cardiac stress test every three years). Other days it is hard to find the floor as I roll out of the bed.

 

 

The older I get, the more I treasure the little things in life, like two days ago when our youngest son Chris was in town and decided to stop by to ask me to go to lunch. Of course I had already eaten (just my luck) and had an appointment I couldn’t miss, so we only got to see each other for a few minutes and he left. That made my day and put me on cloud nine (translation from Texan, “very happy”). The good news is he was able to eat with his Mother and see her briefly before going back to Dallas.

 

Viking Longship Modi

Viking Longship Modi

 

My first photo is a picture of the Longship Modi, the wonderful accommodation on our first cruise with Viking. This photo shows a portion of the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary, directly behind the longship. The Modi was built recently and we thought it was grand 5-star lodging. Our stateroom was very comfortable and actually larger than I expected, with a nice balcony to drink morning coffee on. We would take another cruise in a heart beat.

 

There is a saying “Some days you eat the bear and some days the bear eats you”! I love this for some odd reason and it’s my perspective on life. The other day, with seeing my son, I definitely “ate the bear”! After Chris left I started thinking of ways to write more, as some of you may or may  not know, writing doesn’t always pour out of your brain. There are days it flows smoothly, days it’s like a raging river pouring out by the gallon and days where no matter how hard you put forth the effort, nothing comes out and it’s like you have two blocks of concrete tied to your feet and being pushed overboard. Basically no matter how hard you try or what amount of effort you put forth, nothing comes out!

 

 

The third scenario has been commonplace recently. Then I thought about a series I had earlier in my career, called “Photo of the Day #???” This series motivated me to write more often and put forth effort with writing, centered around the photo I chose for the day. I checked back and I was at Photo of the Day #79. Then I thought about the hundreds, maybe thousands of photos I took on our Viking River Cruise in December. Why not do a feature series of the various photos I took in Europe? So I am starting a new series as of today with hopefully a photo daily, maybe more than one and if I get tied up with the concrete blocks I may miss a day or two.

 

 

Most days the verbiage will be less than today, but the photos will be original. I realize how fortunate Kim and I were and there are some readers that will never get the opportunity to take a trip with Viking River Cruises. Hopefully by sharing photos it will give you a minute taste of river cruises. Consequently, I am sharing photos with you from our experience and I sincerely hope you enjoy! Thank you and be kind to each other!

 

 

 

 

***Portions of our cruise were sponsored by Viking River Cruises. All opinions, as always, are those of my own.

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