As well all know, all good things come to an end and we are finishing this cruise early today (I am writing this early in the morning as I eke out the last experiences of the rising light on a grey morning .... I have just realised that we are actually going DOWN in this next lock as we crossed the European watershed during the night and are falling gently towards the North Sea finally!). The crew are attempting to avoid giving us the bum's rush but they are very aware of the need to fill the ship up with new punters and we need to be long gone by 9 a.m.!
Yesterday we docked at Regensburg with enough time for us to wander around for a couple of hours before back onto the ship for lunch and a sailing afternoon. Regensberg was one of the unexpected gems of this tour - it is one of the few German cities that hasn't been destroyed by fire, or worse, and actually has everything even back to the Romans - as opposed to something rebuilt in the 1860s or after WW2 as is so often the case we have realised. A short walking tour with another excellent guide filled us in and gave us time for a little wander on our own. We went back into St. Peter's Basilica which is a lovley simple gothic structure with magnificent stained glass windows going back to the 12th century. We stumbled across a twenty minute "meditation time" so enthusiastically had time to reflect in this lovely space. We both thought that this is one of the most lovely churches that we have ever visited, in all our travels! It called to mind York Minster and was indeed a wonderful interlude.
Back on the ship on a lovely warm and sunny afternoon called for beer on the sun deck and a very late lunch. While we were up on the deck (only two couples remained as all the others had headed down to lunch) the Captain invited us into the wheelhouse to see how things worked!! Mick was ecstatic and lapped it all up and we all realised that it was more like driving a Playstation 3 than the "Golden Hind". No wheel, just toggles and computer screens - boys and toys!!
A snooze and packing in the afternoon before our lovely experiencing of "fine dining" in the "Portobello" restaurant at the front of the ship. There is a seating area for about 36 people in a small, slightly separated area at the front of the lounge with excellent views where the dining experience is really up a notch. One has to book in and we had managed to make it for this last night. With Jean Andrews, an interesting single traveller from Melbourne with whom we have teamed up, we had a most enjoyable finish to the cruise. The food was very, very delightful and the ambience so relaxed - it certainly equalled any "fine dining" experience that we have had.
Camomile on our balcony, final packing and bed!!! Wowzers Uncle Gadget!