Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
The first time I went on a river cruise, my colleagues and friends had no idea what type of experience it would be. That was about 10 years ago and river cruising was not well known. Since then I have taken many river cruises, the number of companies specializing in river cruises has increased and the number of boats along the rivers in Europe are now over 50. Due to this increase it is easy to find the right itinerary and the right boat to take a river cruise on.
On my first river cruise, which was most enjoyable, what the boats offered was limited. Since then there has been a vast improvements in the types of accommodations and other facilities. Now most of the boats have cabins with picture windows and some with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors - referred to as french balconies. Other improvements, which vary from boat-to-boat, include, suites, elevators, fitness centers with state-of-art equipment and pools on the top decks..
Among the reasons to take a river cruise is the opportunity to experience the different cultures of the cities, towns and hamlets the rivers flow through. Also to enjoy the views along the river banks - small hamlets, ancient towns that have not changed much over the centuries, vineyards that stretch up the hillsides, medieval castles looking down on the rivers and ancient forts built for protection.
The boats dock in the heart of the cities, within walking distance to the main part of town, with easy access to the historic places, museums and ancient churches. Stroll through the narrow alleyways, admire the unusual architect and colors of the houses, visit the local marketplace, stop to taste the local beer in one of the pubs, where you can also meet the local inhabitants.
One of the most popular rivers is the Rhine, with cruises from Cologne to Basel, while passing thru many popular European cities. Along the banks of the river one will see medieval castles on high, and the everyday life of the hamlets, you may even hear the siren's call and learn the legend of "Lorelei" - the beautiful maiden who lured sailors to their deaths from the Lorelei Rock towering over the river.
Another popular waterway is the Moselle River with its imposing castles and steep-terraced vineyards. This area is famous for its wines and wine festivals, and its Christmas Markets, with handmade crafts, warm gingerbread,, steaming cocoas, mulled wines. A wonderful way to enjoy the local cultures and to hear the song O'Tannenbaum in its native language.
Mona Graham, A Way To Travel - http://www.awaytotravel.com