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Everything posted by sharkster77

  1. Those who have recently returned from river cruises, at least in Germany and France, have reported being allowed to wander on their own. As restrictions change, this may change as well.
  2. American Queen does the Columbia as well.
  3. Just read a piece on snopes.com about all the wet/moldy/damaged euro notes that have been turned into the Bundesbank in Germany as a result of all the flooding. They normally get about 40 million euro turned in for exchange per year---they've received about 50 million euro in just the last 6 weeks! The notes are dried, counted and verified, then destroyed at a facility in Mainz. https://www.snopes.com/ap/2021/09/02/german-central-bank-inundated-with-money-damaged-in-floods/
  4. My lovely wife is smiling because she hasn't bitten into it yet.............
  5. We tried schneeballen in Heidelberg just to say we had. The descriptions given by others are right on. It reminded my wife of what they would do with leftover dough when her mother baked apple pies when she was a kid. They would make shapes with the dough and bake them. Making the shapes was way more fun than eating the results!
  6. Wife snapped this pic of the sunrise as we approached Braubach, prior to docking near Marksburg Castle. This was in early October.
  7. If you were on a longship was the Aquavit Terrace also closed at that time?
  8. On Viking there is a walking track (12 laps = 1 mile) on the top deck, some early risers would go up there and walk early in the morning. There is a time period when the track is closed, so that those immediately below need not be awakened at some ungodly hour by footfalls!
  9. You can get a taste of the Nightwatchman Tour from the Rick Steves episode that visits Rothenburg. I think his clips are available for free on his website (?)
  10. American Cruise lines has a 5 day cruise that basically does a round trip from Portland, as opposed to sailing all the way to Spokane. It's called Highlights of the Columbia River.
  11. I'm wondering if the "spit" drop off time is so early because they are doing rapid antigen testing, hoping to get to anyone who tests positive before the morning excursions?? Just "spitballing" here (couldn't resist, sorry!!)
  12. At our Lindt outlets here in the US they used to have a thing where you could fill a plastic bag with chocolates and pay a flat fee. Our cousin held the local record for # of truffles she could fit into a bag. She figured out how to stretch the plastic before filling it, significantly increasing its capacity! That option, alas is no longer available.
  13. They just got home from France yesterday, so as of last week they were spitting every morning by 7AM.
  14. That was a nice thing about the Swiss rail system---we could send luggage ahead to the airport train station for the flight home, and only carried to Lucerne what we needed for the 3d/2n.
  15. ALSO---if you are in Lucerne on a Saturday morning, along both sides of the river they have the absolute BEST farmer's market we've ever seen! Produce, meat, cheese, eggs, flowers, baked goods, wanted to buy it all but were flying home that day! We are fans of farmer's markets but had never seen anything the likes of this one.
  16. Our family member on the Viking cruise made it a point to joke about the "daily spit test", in her words.
  17. We ended our cruise in Basel and went to Lucerne and then flew home from Zurich, so I'm not sure how this would work for you. At disembarkation Viking arranged a taxi for us to the Basel train station (15-20 min ride). We then took a train to Lucerne (hourly, and takes about an hour). Lucerne station is literally in the middle of the old town. We had a 2 night reservation at Hotel des Alpes, which was a 5 minute walk from the station, right on the river, visible from the station. Since we had the best weather of our trip in Lucerne, we spent 2 days outside walking everywhere----along the river, to the medieval squares, along the medieval town wall, along the lake, took a lake cruise. Ate both nights at the Rathaus Brewerie along the river, German comfort food and cheaper than most places. The morning of Day 3 we walked back to the station and took a 1 hr train to the Zurich airport (station is in the basement of the air terminal). You'd have to do what we did backward. The tricky part for you would be to find out exactly where the ship is docked in Basel, and then find a taxi at the Basel station to get there. Lucerne was definitely a highlight. Gorgeous, gorgeous gorgeous! I think my posts were in the 2021 Rhine Getaway thread. OH---if you do this, you can send luggage ahead so you're not schlepping unneeded bags all over the place. We packed all that we needed for Lucerne into one small bag. At the Basel station we sent the rest of our bags ahead to Zurich airport station. We picked it up when we got there. Price was reasonable as well.
  18. Not sure how Allianz is handling COVID issues, but we found them very easy to work with in the past when a trip was cancelled. I asked for a one-third refund, since 1/3 of the coverage period was left, but they gave us a full refund. Won me over as a customer!
  19. We did our own DIY in Lucerne after the cruise but did the pre-cruise in Amsterdam through Viking. We figured that between the airport transfer and transfer to the ship, along with the hand-holding they provided us in a new city while we were addled by jet lag, it was worth it. It wasn't cheap, but saved us a lot of hassle. Lucerne OTOH, was VERY expensive through Viking, and super-easy to do DIY. On the roll call pages I have outlined how we handled Lucerne. Please ask, anyone, if you have any Lucerne questions. Glad to help.
  20. Alas @Daisi our trip to Canadian Rockies next month has been cancelled. AAA/Collette is running tours that are entirely within Canada, but our itinerary had a day where we were to drop across the border and spend a day in Glacier National Park, then back to Waterton Lakes NP for the night. I imagine that was a sticking point that couldn't be worked out, or the itinerary couldn't be modified to stay entirely in Alberta. I guess we call our travel agent next week and see what the next step is. We joke that we've been to Ireland, Iceland, Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, but simply have had no luck getting to the exotic locale of Canada! Let's hope 3rd time will be the charm.
  21. The rowdy bachelor and bachelorette parties certainly require more expenditure on police than us boring old cruisers! They certainly save money at the public safety end.
  22. If they post any more info on Facebook that this board would find interest in I will be sure to pass it along. They have only posted once so far.
  23. We have family who are on a Viking cruise in France right now, as we "speak". Not sure which cruise exactly, they are on a wine-intensive itinerary that has visited Bordeaux and Sauternes thus far. Here is what they have to say about COVID protocols (via their Facebook post): "1. Masks are worn every where and there are fines for not wearing one. On the boat and on the tours, Viking employees are the "mask" police with reminders and extra masks. We are allowed to not wear our masks in our state room and while eating and drinking. This applies to employees also." "2. Every one on board passenger and employees must provide proof of vaccination before boarding the boat." "3. Daily PCR i.e. spit tests are done daily for passengers and crew." "We feel very safe and yes sometimes it is a little annoying, especially the spit tests, but we understand the necessity and are glad Viking and France are taking these precautions." I'll post again if they share more info that relates to COVID protocols.
  24. Thanks @Daisi. We aren't scheduled to go until Sept. 10. Connecting in Toronto to get to Calgary. Collette Tours has already announced that several trips to Canada will run---but not ours as yet. I think the hold up may be that we're slated to leave Calgary, head south to Waterton Lakes NP. One morning there we are to head into Glacier NP for a day, returning to Waterton Lakes at the end of the day. I would imagine leaving Canada, entering the US for part of a day, then re-entering Canada may be a sticking point. We figure Collette is trying to re-structure the itinerary to get around that. A decision in terms of "go" or "cancel" is supposed to be made in the next 10 days. Yeah, we've read that Alberta is a lot like our red states---hesitant to take this virus seriously. Initial glee over the border opening has now been tempered with concern over this nasty delta variant, which can make vaccincated people sick, though not seriously.
  25. Morning excursions typically start around 8:30 or 9 AM.
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