We leave the waterways of France and move to Luxembourg with its fairytale castle. One of the smallest countries, Luxembourg has one of the wealthiest per capita in the world. Founded in 963, the city was one of the strongest fortresses in Europe and now a centre of banking and finance.
We visit Berncastle straddling the vine escarpments of the River Moselle Valley. The vines are sometimes covered with blue coating, which protect the late grapes from early frosts and conjure up images of strangely coloured wines! The grapes are mainly Reisling and there are numerous cellars for winetasting. The town is filled with half-timbered houses and dominated by the ruin of the Landshut fortress.
We cruise on to Koblenz, at the mouth of the Moselle River and the start of the Rhine River cruising through to Cologne with a giant statue of Wilhelm I at the confluence point. Koblenz has wandered back and forth between French and German domination and in 1809 the impressive Rhinelagen riverside promenade was given to the town by the Prefet Lezay-Mamesia following the inclusion of Koblenz into the French Rhine and Moselle department.
We reach COLOGNE - This is the capital of the Rhineland, and noted for remnants of antiquity such as a third century tower. It is also known for its beautiful Madonnas, medieval sculptures in the Gothic Cathedral. Even older than the Cathedral are Cologne's Romanesque churches. The Ring is an elegant boulevard of shops and cafes. From Cologne, L'Impressionniste continues along the Rhine to Arnhem on the Holland- German border. It was here in September 1944 that gallant American and British forces attempted to take the Rhine Bridge with a retreating but nevertheless still powerful German army in occupation. We allow plenty of time to remember the fallen and see first hand the battleground.
As our journey draws to a close we move out of Germany and into the waterways of Holland first to the bustling port of Rotterdam. The city was devastated in World War II and rebuilt into one of the most dynamic and efficient seaports in the world. We leave time to visit the Boymans-van-Beuningen Museum which houses works by the medieval painter Hieronymous Bosch, and on our last evening together we attned the Captain's Gala dinner.
Finally, to AMSTERDAM - Our port of arrival and what a town - hundreds of miles of canals, waterside life and a bustling cycle-powered population who never seem to sleep! Do spend a few days here in this fascinating city. Amsterdam boasts more than forty museums, splendid art galleries, antique shops, theatres, cafes, 17th century houses bordering tree-lined canals and countless excellent restaurants suiting the most refined taste.
For a detailed itinerary, please visit the L'Impressionniste Trans Europe 6 week cruise,
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That's about it for this tenth edition, and hopefully the above articles have whet your appetite for that well-earned luxury cruise..!
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The next edition of the lock-keeper will be out in May, 2004, so we'll see you then.
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