Rhine River Cruise Northern Part
Boarding the Felicity
Strasbourg City Tour
Black Forest Tour
Walking tour of Speyer
Tour of Heidelberg Castle
 
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We bused to Basel to board the MS Felicity.
The cabin was spacious with a sliding balcony door.
Here is a view of the sun deck.
This is the indoor lounge.
Peggi is finding us a table for our first dinner on board.
 Breakfast and lunch were served from the buffet. 
We cruised overnight to Strasbourg France and began the day with a canal boat tour of "Petite France" the historical center with many half timber houses.
We disembarked for a stroll through the historic area to the Strasbourg Cathedral.
The construction of the current Strasbourg Cathedral began in 1176 and finished almost 250 years later.

The Strasbourg Cathedral started as a typical Romanesque cathedral; a rather simple architectural style with basic shapes.

As time passed and the construction continued, the wave of gothic architecture that swept over Europe also affected Strasbourg Cathedral.
 
 The Strasbourg Cathedral is also highly unique due to the fact that it only has one spire. The north spire was completed in 1439, but the planned south spire was never built.

Why the south spire never got built is still under debate. What is known however is that the single spire of the Strasbourg Cathedral quickly became a landmark of the region, which is probably one of the reasons they keep it in its asymmetrical form.
 Gothic is an architectural style with many arches, spires and detailed sculptures.

The typical sign of gothic architecture is that many features on the building, be it smaller details or the building itself, point upwards towards the sky.

This was seen as a way of trying to reach up and connect with heaven.
 We continued our walk through Strasbourg to a bus that returned us to the boat for lunch.
 In the afternoon we had a choice of two tours.  One to a winery and the other to the Black Forest area of Germany.  We took the Black Forest tour.

The first stop on the tour was the House of Black Forest Clocks.

Outside the shop was this enormous clock which conviently just happened to chime the moment we got off the bus.


 
 The shop has been a family owned and operated shop since 1780.

Not surprisingly the shop is filled with hand carved cuckoo clocks.
Coffee and a piece of black forest cake was included during the stop.


 The second stop was at the Black forest Open Air Museum in Gutach. 

Six fully furnished Black Forest farm houses built from the 16th to the 19th century, representing the typical architecture of their area of origin are on display in the museum.
Exhibitions in the farm houses highlighted crafts such as weaving, clock-making, and straw-plaiting.
 
A collection of furniture, traditional costumes, articles for daily use, tools, and mechanic devices from the 17th to the 20th century was on display in the museum.
 The next morning we docked in Speyer which was not on our itinerary. 

A short walk through a park took you into the center of town and to the Speyer Cathedral.
  The imperial cathedral in Speyer, officially known as the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Stephen, is the town's most prominent landmark.
 
 Laid out in the form of a Latin cross, it is one of Germany's largest and most important Romanesque buildings, and was intended to be no less than the largest church in the western world when building work began in 1030.

Speyer Cathedral has long since ceased to be the largest church in the western world. However, it is still the world's largest surviving Romanesque church.

 
We walked through the town square before returning to the boat.
 The main activity of the day was a trip to Heidelberg and the Heidelberg Castle.
Very little is known about the construction of Heidelberg Castle. All that certain is that the construction on Heidelberg Castle began in early 14th century. However, because each successive heir to the throne invariably chose to alter the design plans of the preceding monarch, the project was never really completed.
 The castle was attacked and captured a number of times with the victors destroying the fortifications upon leaving.

Attempts to restore the castle were judged to be futile and it has been left in ruins.

The facade of the Friedrich Building is decorated with figures of importance to the ruling dynasty.

Selected representatives of the first members of the house Wittelsbach on the Rhine can be found on the second row. On the third row, the emperors and kings who were born of the Wittelsbach dynasty are depicted. The top position on the facade is occupied by the most important figures of the dynasty.


 
 Heidelberg is a beautiful university town.
 We spent some time in the city center before returning to the bus and the boat.

 

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