River Rhapsody in Antwerp, Belgium.
This tour group certainly knows how to deliver the complete package with knowledgeable staff, providing us with local guides and maps for town exploration and bits of historical information and suggestions on what to do when on our own. They went beyond beyond giving us a two day stop at a 5 star hotel in Luxembourg and optional tours for free and bus service to a new location to pick up another boat.
On the boat small touches did not go unnoticed. One night as we were sleeping they became Santa elves and magically transformed the entire ship to a Christmas wonderland
and hung stockings on every door.
The masterpieces that came from a small kitchen (galley) for three complete meals a day was no less than astounding to produce meals for 124 people with only 2 ovens. Each food item was carefully detailed in the arrangement. I found the desserts photographed better than main entrees though they were just as tasty. Each meal had several courses and were themed according to what country we were in using local ingredients.
Main entree Sauerbraten with cabbage and potatoes
My all time favorite is this ice cream encased in meringue. Inside the center was a bumblebee created out of meringue. A total work of art !! Imagine making 124 of these and the pastry chef is only 21.
Why is a toilet sometimes referred to as a Water Closet(WC) in Europe? There are so many guesses, including:Long ago, the first plumbed bathrooms were no bigger than a closet.
It references the small rooms connected to natural water sheds (rivers) that washed away waste.
Most homes had only one small room with running water.
Hundreds of years ago, it was considered vulgar to refer to it as a toilet.
The first indoor toilets were placed in closets. Which is closest to the truth? I honestly don't know. Do you?
But a few words on public bathrooms (WC). To me their presences seemed quite elusive in the countries we traveled. Lucky for us our tour directors knew where to direct us. Each small town or city may have few but best not to count on finding one easily. Better choice seek out a bar, cafe or restaurant and ask to use theirs. In one town the McDonalds (and yes some larger towns really do have a McDonalds) actually closed their WC due to the hordes of tourists coming in groups and forming long lines. Upon entering WC you will find some free to use, others require half a euro, or need to buy a ticket and then go through a turnstyle. Some were carefully guarded by a woman who takes money and will not accept any sob story I don't have enough money. My husband's best story is when we stopped at a large truck stop and he purchased a ticket for use of the WC and with that ticket receipt could apply a half a Euro toward a Starbuck coffee purchase. What a deal!
For those who know me you can say I am NOT a person of few words thus so many postings were lengthy. But the joy of discovering new cultures brings renewed appreciation for all we have and with much gratitude thanks for following along on our amazing European adventures
from the stunning architecture of of Antwerp plaza to
the scenic town of Baden-Baden, Germany
to the medieval gingerbread village of Riquewihr
to the sweeping vista over the Mosel River-all was breathtaking.