Con­ti­nen­tal drift

LUX­URY AHOY: trav­els from Western to Eastern Europe on a river cruise that re­traces the history of Ger­many and Aus­tria.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Travel -

EACEFULLY cruis­ing down the Rhine and into the Danube, while watch­ing the world drift by from the lux­ury of the re­cently launched MS Jane Austen, had seemed such an idyl­lic way to spend two lazy weeks in an early sum­mer hol­i­day.

Per­haps, when I booked the hol­i­day. I should have taken more time to read Riviera Travel’s itin­er­ary, for there, in ev­ery tempt­ing de­tail, was a di­ary of the walk­ing tours we were ex­pected to take each day into the his­toric towns and cities where the ship would be moored.

It came as a welcome re­lief when, be­fore de­part­ing from Cologne, the cruise di­rec­tor ex­plained that the next 13 days was all about do­ing as much or as lit­tle as each of us wanted to do, though by now my bet­ter half had de­cided we were go­ing to take part in ev­ery­thing on of­fer.

So the fol­low­ing morn­ing I was dragged out of bed at some un­earthly hour to see the im­pos­ing junction of the Rhine and the Moselle, and the im­mense walled fortress that sur­rounds the once heav­ily guarded Koblenz. What fol­lowed af­ter break­fast was an in­tense feel­ing of eu­pho­ria when our first walk­ing tour was lit­tle more than a gen­tle stroll as our lo­cal guide re­lated the history of a city that dates back over two mil­len­nia.

Jane Austen cer­tainly lived up to its de­scrip­tion as the Rhine’s most beau­ti­ful ship, and hav­ing pre­vi­ously taken ocean cruises, we were de­lighted to find spa­cious cab­ins with floor-to-ceil­ing slid­ing pa­tio-style doors open­ing onto a French bal­cony, and with plenty of room re­main­ing for a king-size bed.

That feel­ing of shap­ing your own hol­i­day ex­tended to break­fast, lunch and din­ner which could be taken when you wanted within two-hour time frames, and if you still felt peck­ish, there was an af­ter­noon tea with gor­geous cakes you would find hard to re­sist. Well we could walk it off the fol­low­ing day, couldn’t we?

Bu­dapest be­ing our even­tual des­ti­na­tion, the first two days were dom­i­nated by the sight of fairy-tale cas­tles pre­car­i­ously dot­ted along the ver­dant hill-sides that so beau­ti­fully frame the river, with the sec­ond morn­ing re­quir­ing an early break­fast to take full ad­van­tage of our jour­ney through the im­pos­ing Rhine Gorge. There the steep sides soar over a thou­sand feet, crowd­ing in and nar­row­ing the river as we passed by the Lorelei Rock where, leg­end has it,

IL­LU­MI­NAT­ING SIGHT: The charm­ing city of Mainz, which is lo­cated on the Rhine at its con­flu­ence with the River Main.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.