Saturday, October 24, 2015

Travel: Cruising the Danube on Viking Tor - Nuremberg

Salzburg is an entry point of the Syrian and other refugees to get into Germany, and because of border control, we could not buy our train tickets ahead of time. We were told to show up on the day of our departure, which was Friday. That morning, the hotel receptionist told us a train scheduled from Salzburg to Munich was cancelled but we could catch the 10:15 a.m. train. We hurried to the train station and bought our tickets. Before boarding, some officials checked our passports with a declaration of, “No passports, no train.”  A group of three, who could have been refugees, did not have passports and the train doors were closed on them.  Later, they were allowed on board, and I assume they had the necessary transit papers.

            There is some degree of chaos in the Salzburg train station which had numerous uniformed personnel, some were "Polezei," the other a military group wearing brown.  In Germany there were many young military personnel in the trains. 
          As tourists of course we went along our merry way, and Friday's goal was to get to the dock of Viking Lines to catch our cruise. It was a long trek: first we had to get from Salzburg to Munich, and from Munich we had to get to Nuremberg. From Nuremberg, we caught a short train ride to Erlangen; and from Erlangen, we got a cab to bring us to Viking.  We managed to do this without any glitch, and I can only credit Germany efficiency of their rail system.
Zepellin Nazi Stadium

      Viking Tor Cruise ship is much smaller than the Princess cruise lines we have taken. It reminds me of the boat we took down the Nile, although the Viking is bigger. The ship is now making its way to the Danube, via canals, passing through narrow locks and going under tight bridges. Most of the passengers seem to be Americans; crew members are a mixture of Bulgarians, Filipinos, and other nationalities. The cruise boat has all the amenities of course -- good food, wine, excellent service, everything elegant and luxurious. Today, our first day of tour was to Nuremberg, which we had visited, but we saw a bit more on the driving tour and we did catch the noon chiming of the medieval clock and the figures became animated.
     It was bitterly cold today, something unexpected because the weather forcast said 55 degrees, but it was probably in the 40s. All of us, even Nuremberg folk, were cold. 
      One of the things I enjoy in this cruise is the opportunity to talk to other people, which we have done during meals at the dining room. Discussions can be intense and prolonged so that staff have to finally hint for us to leave. People talk about where they've traveled. Politics is discussed carefully. And the Refugee Crisis is another matter that is discussed gingerly. (One fellow declared that half of those who've entered Germany are ISIL; others say Germans are divided with some being sympathetic, others not. There is a concensus that this influx will cause change in Germany.)
    I'm sharing some pictures taken on the train from Salzburg and from our visit to Nuremberg today. Uploading is very slow and so I'll be adding pictures later on when internet is better.

Read also
Our European Cruise: Low Water Level of the Danube and Refugee Crisis

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