Home > Travel > I ATE: Amsterdam, Lucerne and a Rhine River Cruise

As most readers know, I love to travel and I’ve had the good fortune to do so fairly extensively; however, northern Europe was never high on my travel bucket list. I seem to have preferred repeat visits to Mediterranean countries or warm weather climes … countries where the language was familiar to my ear, where I knew the food would tickle my palate and the wines would go down easy. But this trip changed my mind … forever.

I didn’t starve (quite the opposite), I had my share of wine (and beer too) — and I felt like I was skipping through the pages of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale.

The towns were quaint, colorful and oh-so-picturesque. The cobblestones killer!

The AMA Cello onboard experience did not disappoint. The food was tasty, diverse and plentiful. I personally appreciated the fresh herbs on almost every plate, the onboard bakery, and the artful presentations. Top that off with excellent service and flowing wine … happy, happy I was. 

Another thing that sets AMA apart from other river cruises is their generous excursion program. Two-three excursions were offered daily — you could go on A, B or C — and if one was in the morning and another in the afternoon or evening, you could go on both. When there wasn’t an evening excursion, there was Miroslav, the onboard musician, and local entertainment which was brought aboard in several cities to perform in the lounge.

German brunch buffet which I took on top to enjoy my ‘bretzel’, sausage and beer in the fresh air.

Our cruise took us from Amsterdam in The Netherlands to wonderful picturesque cities in Germany, France and Switzerland, ending with a couple of days on land in Lucerne which, despite a surprise encounter with snow (something I hadn’t seen in 16 years), totally enchanted me!

But, the beautiful swans and their ducky friends were present all over.

More photos (lots) on flickr.

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26 Comments, RSS

  • Robin Sue

    says on:
    April 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Looks so wonderful and enchanting! Beautiful photos, I can’t wait to see and hear more. My husband was the Rhine River Terminal’s Port Commander in Mannheim, GE. We spent much of our time in Rotterdam which is HQ, but lived in Hockenheim, just outside of Heidelberg. The river is lovely with so many interesting villages along the way. I have not done a river cruise, but now I must add it to my long list of things to do in Europe.
    Robin Sue recently posted..In a hurry Scotch Eggs, more like Splotch EggsMy Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      I thought of you because I knew you lived in Germany. I visited Cologne, Rudesheim, Heidelburg and Koblenz — each very enjoyable!

  • Lori Lynn

    says on:
    April 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Joan – It sounds amazing. Your photos are fabulous!! Love the snow shot and that opening image with those curtains!!
    LL
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Swiss Chard Falafel BurgerMy Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm

      Thanks Lori — it really was a visual treat!

  • Dorothy

    says on:
    April 25, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful trip I just took through your fabulous photos. I really enjoyed it.

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it too. It was really wonderful.

  • Patricia Durr

    says on:
    April 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Love the photo’s you did a great job! It is beautiful and I’m glad that someone I know, now understands how I feel about the beauty and romantic environment of these countries. Nice Job Joan!!!
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Photo Shoot in Wynwood Miami – 80”s FlachbackMy Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 25, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      Thanks Patricia. Looking forward to our get-together.

  • Sally - My Custard Pie

    says on:
    April 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Your pictures are beautiful – they look like old postcards. We got a pleasant surprise when we visited Bavaria – how lovely the scenery was but also how super-friendly the people were. Lovely experience

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 26, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Thanks Sally. Yes, that too … I forgot to mention the people. Unlike the cold weather, they were warm and friendly!

  • angela@spinachtiger

    says on:
    April 26, 2013 at 9:22 am

    It’s so nice to see your smiling face there. I’m a little jealous of all your travels, but happy for you.
    angela@spinachtiger recently posted..Open Face Sandwich of Bangers and Lentil Mash, Pineapple Sage, Tabasco MayonnaiseMy Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 26, 2013 at 9:27 am

      Thanks, Angela, it’s not a great picture of me but it definitely tells the story of the moment.

  • Vicki Fillet

    says on:
    April 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Wow, what a fabulous trip. I love the photos, it is wonderful how you capture the feel for the country and its people. Do the locals travel around by boat? Looks like I need to rethink northern Europe too!
    Thanks for the eyeopener!

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 26, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Thanks Vicki. It was a very special and very different. If you check my photos on flickr, you’ll get an even better feel — and you’ll see a couple of familiar faces.

  • South Florida Food and Wine

    says on:
    April 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

    too-too fabulous!

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 26, 2013 at 10:50 am

      … and so were the red gloves! 🙂

  • Victoria of Flavors of the Sun

    says on:
    April 26, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Great photos, Joan, especially of you! I love travelling with you…

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Hah, we should do it for real one day. 🙂

  • sandra axelrod

    says on:
    April 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    It looks like an amazing cruise! You visited places that bring images of fairy tales to mind. I especially love the shots of Lucerne. I stayed there eons ago when I was in college.
    sandra axelrod recently posted..Dinner at Bistro BijouxMy Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 27, 2013 at 11:34 am

      Thanks Sandy, I think Lucerne was my favorite.

  • Peter

    says on:
    April 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Beautiful photos from Dam Square to the Rhine!
    Peter recently posted..Greek Food Gazette 26/04/2013My Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Thanks Peter – hard to do otherwise with such backdrops.

  • sippitysup

    says on:
    April 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    I love Amsterdam. At first glance Amsterdam seems like a rather traditional, tightly built European capital. Its buildings stack up like slender dominoes topped by ornate gables. But look again and you might notice the way the buildings along the canals seem to lean awkwardly towards the water. So charming. Those angles were on purpose. Those building were originally warehouses designed that way so cargo could be lifted up and in w/o hitting the sides. To much information I know. I know. GREG
    sippitysup recently posted..Bacon, Gouda, Black Pepper Biscuits Done RightMy Profile

    • Joan Nova

      says on:
      April 28, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      No, no — not TMI! I love what you added to the conversation here. Thank you!!

  • Marie

    says on:
    April 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    Very enchanting photos Joan, what a dream vacation!
    Marie recently posted..Olive Oil and Chardonnay Pound Cake with Citrus Vanilla GlazeMy Profile

  • bellini

    says on:
    May 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Looks like a trip through a fairy tale Joan. Travel does have a way of changing our minds forever and turning us on to new flavour sensations.

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