Castles on the Rhine

Author: , July 5th, 2014

I will try to catch up on writing while I have a few minutes. We are docked in Speir, another old city on the Rhine, where we will visit this morning.

Marksburg Castle, GermanyYesterday was all about castles. We had docked at Boppard, on the west side of the river. Some of us wanted to visit the Marksburg Castle, which is on the east side, therefore we boarded the bus, and had to travel back to Koblenz to get to the other side, as there are no bridges on this stretch of the Rhine.

The Marksburg castle is one that has never been destroyed, nor taken by force. It dates back to the year 1032, and was passed down through family lines, or sold. It is very well maintained, and very big.

We traveled this stretch for close to 3 hours, with one castle after another. The scenery was lovely, and impressive.

Well, I must close as our group leaves in 15 minutes and I want to get this sent.

So until next time, Auf wiedersehn.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Germany Gay Travel Resources

Cochem, Castles and Vineyards

Author: , June 28th, 2014

Oh, wow!

We are now on the Mosel River, which veered off from the Rhine River, traveling westward now. Although we have been told that there are more castles on the Rhine than here, but I have to tell you, this is the most scenic, calm area. There is other boat traffic, but not the commercial barges as on the Rhine.

This morning we took a tour of the Cochem castle. This castle dates back to 1100’s, but of course, many restorations have been made to it during the subsequent centuries. The setting is gorgeous, sitting way up on a hill overlooking the town of Cochem.

After the castle tour, we had an opportunity to walk through the town of Cochem, seeing the shops, finding some delicious sausages, beers, pastries. Of course, Frank found his first bratwurst and beer while our tour guide was arranging for all of us to get a taste of curry wurst.

Later, back on board ship, we started traveling again, and we were were so fortunate to have such a lovely day that we were sitting on the sun deck watching the scenery go by.

Our ship went through one lock, and there are more to come, as the Mosel sits in a valley between steep mountains. One reason the wine is so good from here, is that the steep hillsides on either side of the Mosel create a warm microclimate. Tomorrow we get to go to a winery, and do some Mosel wine tasting.

Now we are all crowded into the lounge watching the USA and Germany play in the World Cup. Of course, the commentary is in German, and needless to say, our Program Directors are rooting for Germany, but they have put up USA flags and banners, as well as German. There are 96 of us in the lounge watching the match on one 36 inch screen. We can almost see the action, but it is a fun experience anyway.

I will close with another shot of the hillside vineyards. This whole countryside is so lovely, I highly recommend this cruise as a way to de-stress. If you are not into cruising, we have seen many bicyclists, motorcyclists, and walkers along the roads on either side of the river. It is a wonderful region to explore, and enjoy the calming atmosphere.

We are indeed having a lovely time.

Until tomorrow,

Auf wiedersehn,

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Germany Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels: France, The Loire Valle’s Castles

Author: , May 3rd, 2011

Gay Friendly Paris Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time starting in Paris. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

Castles of the Loire Valley

I don’t know how to say “Happy Easter” in French, but Happy Easrer or Buon Pasquale to all my friends and family. I trust you are all well.

We are still having a good time in Paris. On Thursday we took a guided tour of 3 castles in the Loire Valley, southwest of Paris.

Castles of the Loire ValleyThe trip took us through lovely countrysides, small villages, farms, following the Loire River most of the time. Our first stop was at Chambord Castle, which was begun in 1519 by King Frances I, as a hunting lodge, but it grew to be a huge chateau with 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces (but no kitchen, much to my dismay).

Our guide told us there was no kitchen, as the chateau was used to entertain hundreds of people at a time, so food was cooked outdoors over open fires, on spits, or ovens in an outbuilding.

Chambord is now a national enclosed game park, comprised of 5440 hectares (13,442 acres), the largest in Europe.

Loire Valley CastlesWe then traveled to Chenonceau, which is unique as it is built across the river Cher. This castle was built in the 16th century so is newer than Chambord. King Henry II gave it his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who was an avid hunter. When Henry II died in a jousting tournament, his wife, Catherine de Medici, kicked Diana out, too over the castle, and it became the place to see and be seen.

The last castle, Cheverney, was also constructed in the 16th century. It was bought by Diane de Poitiers when she was ousted from Chenonceau, but most of the past 600 years, it has been owned by one family, the Huraults.

The HoundsIt is used as a chateau for entertaining, and arranging hunting parties. The main chateau is sumptuous, well- preserved and decorated. The viscount’s family still lives on the upper floor. The grounds are enormous, with manicured gardens, ponds, stables, and a huge kennel for about 100 French hounds used for hunting.

When we saw the dogs, they were waiting for their dinner, but we didn’t get to stay long enough to see them eat. We had to get on our bus for the three hour drive back to Paris. But it was a great day, worth doing.

Yesterday we toured part of the Luxembourg Gardens, and generally took it easy. We went to dinner at a little Italian ristorante here in the neighborhood. The owner is from Naples, but calls his place, Risorante Costa d’Amalfi. Very good food, and a complimentary glass of limoncello at the end of the meal.

I hope you are enjoying the blog posts. I have fun sharing my travels with you.

Au revoir for now,

Dolly

Want to Follow Bella’s Latest Adventure Directly? Check Out Dolly Travels