Thursday, June 21, 2012

I May Never Wear Pink Again

We got our luggage!! I've never been quite so excited about socks and underwear. Because of no Internet service, we have gotten pretty far behind. The days have been full from morning til night.... walking, buses, meeting people, and lots of delicious meals. I am having trouble getting the pictures uploaded because of my computer. I will keep working on it and will add photos a little later. I will say, everything is lovely, .... the boat, the scenery and the people of each country. So here is a little catching up from the last three days:

 Day3: Wachau Valley / Melk Abbey, Austria
 We cruised up a gorge with passengers sitting on the top deck in the sun, eating ice cream and listening to the tour director tell us about everything we saw. One interesting castle had become the prison for the worst criminals in the area.

Another church had little rabbit sculptures along the roof. The legend was that the snow was so deep one year that the rabbits stayed up on the roof to stay above the snow. When the snow melted, the rabbits were left up on the roof! I love these stories! Melk Abbey was beautiful, but I have to give you the short version because this really reminded me of all the places we (the sisters) visited as here we go... a boys school with 900 boys...none of them there! 30 monks in residence at this time. Lots of churchy gold and an organ concert. Want anymore? I have a brochure I can send you.

Day 4: Linz, Austria/ Mauthausen Concentration Camp/Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Mauthausen is the only concentration camp I have ever seen. I am sure Mom will write more later about this because she has something else to compare it to. Mauthausen was very different. They did not put people to death, they worked the prisoners to death. It was a camp only for men... men of all different nationalities. Without a common language, they had no way to commiserate, communicate or plan escape.

They mined granite at this camp. This is a picture of the steps the prisoners walked each day down into the mine and back up.  Sometimes the guards would push a prisoner, causing him to fall and other prisoners then fell like dominoes.  They had one suit of clothing, issued on the day they arrived and worn until the day they died unless they could steal someone else's clothes.

Two to four men slept in a regular bunk bed. Incongruities were everywhere. The prisoners played soccer against the guards, but the prisoners also had a soccer team that played outside teams from the area and won the state championship one year. The guards had a swimming pool outside the walls for after work exercise. Prisoners were in charge of prisoners and could kill them with no issue.

This was the only Level Three concentration camp... the only one of its kind. This statue represents a prisoner who was tied to a post during winter and water was dripped on him, one drop at a time, until he turned into a solid block of ice.....

We came back to the ship, had lunch, then went to the Czech Republic! An hour plus ride on the bus, but what a beautiful city! This was a terrific trip for me because I had never been to the Czech Republic before. Czechoslovakia was a country I always respected by the way they earned their freedom.

An unexpected rain shower caused a little creative problem solving on the part of our program directors.  They dashed into the grocery and picked us up some black trash bags, which we were able to design to our own desires.  We were quite the fetching bunch!

After an informative walking tour, we were able to wander on our own. We found an ice cream stand for Mom and a toy store for me! I bought finger puppets that were made in the C.R. and they are adorable. I will post them if I ever get the pictures up! We arrived back at 7:30, had dinner and all went to bed!

Day 5: Regensburg, Germany/ Walking Tour/ Concert by the Regensburg Domspatzen Boy's Choir We were pretty tired after yesterday's adventure and it was nice to have the opportunity to sleep in. Mom woke up at 5am, but she was nice enough to stay busy somewhere else until I could drag myself out of bed at 8:00. We cruised along the river and through the locks until 3:00 when we arrived in Regensburgh. During the day, we had a German lesson including some pretty cute skits, which I also hope to upload. Here is the best part of Regensburg.... we met a lovely couple, Jim and Jane, from Canada. Jim said he had searched every river cruise company in the world for a ship that would be in Regensburg on June 21st. Why? Because he wanted to take his wife, Jane, back to the town where she was born on her birthday and Regensburg was where she had been born and had never been back to since she was a baby. Okay, that is a great story, wouldn't you agree?! So, we came back from our afternoon at 6:00, washed up, went to dinner, then walked back into town for a concert at a beautiful cathedral. The boys choir was actually an acapella men's quartet. They were amazing... Sounded like the church version of Il Divo. Now, I am sorta kinda caught up. I will try to load pictures next, but don't hold your breath, my laptop was stuck in reboot mode. I'll be nice to it and see what happens. I think we'll be able to get on again tomorrow, so stay tuned for an update!

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