"Blue Skies Bring Tears"

Trip Start May 25, 2013
Trip End Jun 23, 2013

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Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, June 7, 2013

At 9.00am, and with happy wishes all round for Jan's birthday, we leave Koblenz as promised!
The large boat "Antoinette" shackled to us is unleashed and moves in to the centre of the Mosel. With boats fore and aft, the captain carefully powers the engines to move us out sideways from the dock, with just the right balance of power to ensure the large pieces of flotsam that have built up around us are not sucked into the engines.

Just as we are enjoying the sunshine, new found freedom and movement, an announcement calls us to a meeting downstairs...

The Main has been closed again after further rain.

We can sail part way up the Rhine but not to Mainz. One passenger demands a refund, another disputes the weather report provided and the aggressive leader from the larger US tour contingent on board asks whether we'll get our passports back...
Michael says that the only option to get us to the major stops is by road to other Lüftner boats that similarly stranded. It is to become a game of musical boat-hotels.

So today's trip becomes a lunch cruise with a Bavarian banquet served up on the sundeck. A few barges travel up and downstream but the level of flooding is still very apparent. The captain executes an impressive 180° spin of his 110m vessel in the mid-river rapids after three hours and we head back to Koblenz.

In a "you-scratch-my-back, l-scratch-yours" arrangement, the captain of the SS Antoinette who has moved into our former dockside berth motors her out sideways, pushing two other boats tethered to her as well and lets us slip back into our position as before. It saves the 170 of us - and our luggage - from having to cross across the decks of three other boats to reach shore.
The plan from here is a three hour bus ride to Würzburg. It is a mostly dull three lane freeway all the way, skirting around Frankfurt and passing the terminal and station of the airport where I sat a couple of weeks ago. It is a serious challenge for Jan's sore back and takes closer to five hours, but at least the air-conditioning doesn't fail this time...
The Amadeus Classic and her staff sit waiting for us berthed in a side dock off the River Main. The boat is a little older than the Princess... the cabin feels a touch smaller and missing a power point or two, but is essentially as comfortable. The staff warmly welcome us and dinner is just as good.

Very evident is the fact that we are now down to just 45 passengers. The American group have literally jumped ship and gone home (or somewhere else), taking the Canadians with them. Apparently, many Canadians wanted to stay but their travel groups were being managed overall by the US tour director/contractor and they had no say.

The mood on board however has changed dramatically to a very upbeat one with this alteration to the dynamics. Andreea and Mirela have continued on with us and are enjoying the ANZAC mood. The "Fun Bus" has become the "Party Ship"! Exclamations of "Wunderbar!" abound and there is much clinking of many glasses.

Not that we party into the night... Tomorrow has an early start for a half day trip.

"Blue Skies Bring Tears" by The Smashing Pumpkins
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Joanna on

Omg - you ll still be in koblenz where we arrive Friday!
Good on youse all for not deserting a sinking ship and keeping the Anzac spirit

Lisa on

Oh don't you just love Americans...had a similar issue in China...expectation of perfection 100% of the time....interestingly many of the travel insurance policies don't cover flood....and they were making alternative arrangements and not cancelling the tour....it just went a little off shore!!! Would love to see the look on their leaders face when they ascertain this!!

Hilary on


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