Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Wintry Cruise

Last month, through a wonderful turn of events, I had the privilege of joining the Penner family on their Rhine River Cruise through Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. A Christmas-y break from Tanzania was just what I needed! I was able to get a week off school and gather some warm clothing here at the Memoria used clothes market in Moshi. It was such a fun trip to look forward to - on humid 90 degree days I would think "this time next month, I'll be in a cold Christmas market, wishing for something hot to drink!" Time moves slowly in Tanzania, it's a simpler lifestyle, so on some days the cruise seemed very far away.  I was so excited to see new places, new faces and just get away for a bit. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite shots and events from the trip!

I flew into Frankfurt, and we took the train to Mainz the next day to catch the Mainz-Stuttgart football match. Great fun, the fans alone were worth the price of the ticket, they were so enthusiastic.

Our home away from home for a week!

Gateway to the Black Forest - cute little town where we hiked through some vineyards. Note the cheese!! Much missed and ahh what a reunion we had, me and cheese. =)

Snowy hills, tiny villages celebrating their 1000th anniversary of existence, cuckoo clocks and Black Forest cake!

France! Loved the cathedral here, and all the history! Great Christmas market too, where I filmed a video for my class in Tanzania, who were studying France that week.  Emailed it over to them that night, gotta love first world technology (miss that too!).

Little university town that reminded me of Oxford, I liked all the little narrow cobblestone streets! Went to a grocery store here and was totally overwhelmed by all my choices! I could have spent way more time shopping than sightseeing, but I settled for buying spices and chocolate.

Early one morning, we sailed a long stretch of the Rhine, passing by probably 30 castles in just a few hours. The cold cloudy morning meant it was a chilly view from the top deck, but worth it for pictures! Every 30 minutes, I would go down to thaw out, I must have gone through 10 cups of tea! 

Beautiful Cologne, huge cathedral where we sat in a German midday mass, shivering in the church that I kid you not, was colder than outside. Best Christmas markets in the whole trip too - huge and such great selection of fun foods, crafts, music. To warm up, Anna and I visited the Lindt chocolate factory, which had over 100 types of truffles, including wasabi (?!).

Onto the Netherlands! Gouda cheese I missed you too! The windmills were a neat sight, and climbing the steep, narrow stairs up into the top of one was a challenge as the wind outside swayed the whole structure. 

Our final stop! I wish we had more time here, this city was so beautiful and fairly easy to navigate too. It was one of the only places we visited that didn't have major damage from WWII. Learned a lot walking through Anne Frank's house and hearing more of her story. Reluctantly took the train to the airport and started my long journey back to Moshi.

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