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were given free time to explore on our own. Since Marc and I had seen the Imperial Castle the daybefore on our own, we focused sightseeing energy on the Christmas Market.
Words really can‟t explain the Market; it is really a fantasy come true. Over a hundred booths set up
in the town square to explore, with the smell of gluhwein and gingerbread in the air, lights shining offChristmas tree bulbs in many colors creating a living kaleidoscope in which to become lost, toys and
gifts of every imagination to delight the senses. Nuremburg‟s Christmas market, particularly, is world
renowned. Tourists from Germany, Europe and the region journey out to see, smell, shop, and sing.After our time in the Market we boarded the bus back to our ship. The ship moved down the Danubea bit so the ride on the bus was slightly longer but we had the opportunity to see more of the Germancountryside. Warm gluhwein or hot chocolate was waiting for us as we boarded the ship to start our journey across the continental divide and through the first series of locks. We came to learn that onEVERY embarkation, gluhwein would become a ritual of boarding, allowing us to equalize thewarmth outside and around the ship with the warmth soon flowing in our veins to our rosy cheeks.
Relaxing in the main lounge, watching the canal pass by, we were greeted by today‟s onboard
specialist to explain the undertaking of building the canals linking the two largest European river ways, and providing details and impact on the economic and physical landscape. Surprisingly, itreally was quite fascinating for a science lecture and helped put our journey into perspective.After dinner tonight, local Bavarian entertainment provided a singing, dancing, yodeling, polka-
strumming medley that left many dazed… us included; certainly an authentic cultural experience,
with veteran rotund Bavarian folk dancers not at all like those young actor-types in the touristy beer halls in Munich. Tonight, we sail on to Regensburg.
December 22nd: Regensburg
The water on the river was rising steadily, almost alarmingly, and rushing by at a furious pace. After breakfast this morning, the captain announced that if the ship were to stay in Regensburg, there is ahigh likelihood it would be stuck as there is one more low lying bridge that needs to be passed. Thesound of disappointment could be heard throughout the ship; after all, many of us had sailed onlarge ocean vessels before, some numerous times, and had faced the disappointment of weather or
water conditions not permitting a ship to port or tender…
However, to our pleasant surprise, Marion stepped forward to explain that while the ship may not stayat the docks we would still have the opportunity to visit the town. Additionally, we would each begiven 15 Euros for lunch (since our ship would be long sailed while we were out and about) and wewould be transported by bus further down river to catch up to our ship. A spectacular save allowedus to see Regensburg fully, as if nothing had gone wrong.Today, Marc and I and a few others that we had met onboard decided that we would explore onour own for a while. We made our way into the city on foot; most towns on the itinerary are verypedestrian friendly, to the Christmas market. We had to make a side trip to a department store since
Marcs‟ shoes had developed a crack in them and had been taking on water every with every step
for two days. Our footwear chore completed, we stopped to have a gluhwein and then continuedto explore the city. The Christmas market here was smaller, so it did not take a huge amount of time