Recently, we enjoyed the Rhine Getaway with Viking River Cruises.
We arrived in Europe after flying non-stop overnight on British Airways from Austin, Texas to Heathrow Airport in London, England. The flight departed around 6 pm CDT (US Central Daylight Tim) and arrived at 9 am CEST (Central Europe Summer Time) after 9 1/2 hours all night; since London is 6 hours ahead of Austin, it was more like 3:30 am for the body. We didn’t get much sleep, but we had plenty of meals and snacks and enjoyed the in-seat entertainment with movies and music.
After a 6-hour layover in the London airport, we continued our journey with a British Airways connection to Basel, Switzerland, which was only about 1 1/2 hours, and an additional hour ahead in our destination time zone, for our Rhine cruise and extended Germany trip with visits to Amsterdam (Netherlands), Munich, Salzburg (Austria), Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Leipzig, and Berlin.
So we arrived in Basel, Switzerland late afternoon on the day before our cruise began. We celebrated my wife’s birthday with dinner there, and then several days later Mother’s Day in Koblenz, Germany followed by scenic cruising viewing castles on the middle Rhine. It was overcast with occasional showers during that evening and early next morning, but then the rain stopped and we walked around the Basel old town and city center. There were lots of bicycles and public trams with lots of pedestrians walking everywhere. I was surprised since there was quite a bit more there than I expected and it was interesting to see the town.
Originally the cruise was scheduled to start there, but the Rhine was extremely full from heavy rains for several preceding weeks in addition to heavy snow melt from the Alps. So our ship (Kvasir) was not able to reach Basel upstream in time, and even if it managed to get there it might not have been able to leave because of bridge height with the higher water and thus the cruise might not happen.
But Viking arranged to have us board the sister ship (Idi) just like it in Breisach, Germany which was going to be our Day 1 stop anyway. They scheduled and paid for a taxi to pick us up our hotel, bring us to the airport where they took us to Breisach from Basel in a Viking van (about 45 minutes) and we boarded there instead of Basel. Viking handled it well given the unusual river condition and our cruise departed as planned.
It was good that we planned to arrive a day ahead of the planned departure so we could see Basel, and it allowed a buffer for any unexpected situations.
I included a few photos below of the Old City Hall and Münster Cathedral. Click on any of them to see more photos (about 27) in a Basel gallery slideshow at my SmugMug photo web site.
The automatic slideshow displays each photo for 2 seconds with a 1 second fade transition. There are options for full-screen mode in the lower-right corner, and a pause button in the lower-left corner. There are also arrows on the left and right sides to move manually forward and backward through the photos.