RHINE AND DANUBE - 2019
Itinerary and Preliminaries
I thought I had completed the last item on my punch list when we did a river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam in 2018. But I liked it so much I decided to try again. I also felt up to a bike and barge trip (the German term Rad und Shiff - bike and ship - is more accurate). So I decided on a week long bike and barge and a week river cruise. I wanted my sister to join us. But she is still working and had some blockout dates. They reduced the bike and barge options to Berlin to the Baltic or Mainz to Strasbourg followed by Amawaterway's cruise from Budapest to Vilshofen. By the time I was ready to book, Berlin to the Baltic was sold out. So that left Mainz to Strasbourg and Budapest to Vilshofen.
- June 25: drive to Ft. Madison, train to Chicago, overnight Candlewood Suites near O'hare.
- June 26: Iberia Airlines Chicago to Munich, changing in Madrid
- June 27-28: Munich Ibis South
- June 29-July 5: train Munich to Mainz; Bike and Barge Mainz to Strasbourg aboard MS Arkona
- July 6: Train to Munich stopping at Baden-Baden, Overnight train to Budapest
- July 7-13: River cruise Budapest to Vilshofen aboard Amawaterways Amamagna
- July 14: train Vilshofen to Regensburg, overnight Ibis City
- July 15: train to Munich, overnight B&B Hotel Munich Airport
- July 16: British Airways Munich to Chicago changing in London, overnight Candlewood Suites
- July 17: Train to Ft. Madison, drive home.
I chose to fly in and out of Munich because of the price and because it is the closest airport to end of the cruise. The price was about $575 round trip per person, although paying for extra leg room (which I highly reccomend) brought it to about $660.
I booked long distance train tickets ahead of time via the internet to take advange of discounts: Munich to Mainz and Baden-Baden to Munich via the Deutsche Bahn website and overnight from Munich to Budapest via the ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) website.
Travelers: Paul, Jeanine, Paula, and Terry
Detailed Review of Bike and Barge Tour
The Ft. Madison station was surrounded by sandbags.
The Mississippi looks pretty tame here. At this point all 3 tracks were occupied by freights, blocking the Southwest Chief from pulling into the station.
Our Chicago to Madrid flight left about an hour late and arrived an hour late. The scheduled layover of 2 hours was reduced to one. It took us 1:03 to get to the departure gate just as the plane was leaving. We were able get on the next Iberia flight to Munich; but had to spend much of the day at the Madrid Airport. Ironically, all four of the flights we were on departed late; but not the one we missed by 3 minutes.
It took us 1:03 to get from one gate to the next because of the distance, an interminable wait at passport control, and a reasonable amount of time going thru security. Iberia did absolutely nothing to help us and the 11 other people in the same boat except to comp us a McD happy meal.
The flight to Munich was late; and despite the S-bahn and tram ride from the airport to our hotel going smoothly, we did not reach our hotel until after 8 PM.
As were were scouting a place to eat near the Ibis in Munich, I spotted this sign containing a word that I added to my list of favorite German words.
Sterbe = death
geld = money
versicherung = insurance
verein = association
So: Sterbegeldversicherungverein = funeral insurance association.
The next day to help get rid of jet lag we agreed to rent bikes from Radius Tours inside the HBF (main train station), take the train south to Gmund on the north end of Tegernsee (a lake in the Alpine foothills), and ride around the lake. Note: See is lake in German, as in Tegernsee. But Tegernsee happens to be one of the towns along Tegernsee.
We had a problem finding the HBF from the subway station of the same name. Before reaching ground level you encounter an enormous underground shopping center. But once we did find the station, finding Radius tours was simple, next to track 32 as advertised.
The Gmund station gave us a preview of the scenery around the lake.
The day was very sunny, although not terribly hot. So the first order of business was to have lunch at this shady spot on the north end of the lake.
North end of Tegernsee
Tegernsee (town on the south end of Tegernsee) town hall.
One of several ferry docks at Tegernsee
South end of Tegernsee
Tegenseer Schloss - former duke's palace.
Cresting the only hill on the ride.First Previous Next Last
After going about 2/3 of the way around the lake, I got lost; so we retraced our steps thru Tegernsee back to the Gmund station.