If you can’t stand the heat……

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” ~ Harry S Truman.

Whilst on our Rhine cruise, we were given the opportunity to tour the ship’s galley. The first thing that struck me as I walked in, was how very hot it was in there. No wonder our chef’s face was so flushed.

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This huge cauldron of what was destined to be potato soup, was bubbling away like crazy, and I couldn’t get too close to it because of the intense heat.

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There was lots of peeling and chopping going on, and there didn’t seem to be much space to work in.

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I wondered how long it took to peel this mountain of potatoes, and was glad I didn’t have to do it.

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With a hundred and eighty passengers to feed, there was no time for slacking, but I did get a smile from this guy.

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In here where they were busy making the desserts, it was rather chilly.

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They were always delicious and beautifully presented.

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They even found the time to make my Mom-in-law a birthday cake.

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All the drinks were stored under lock and key, so no drinking on the job.

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I was disappointed that there wasn’t  much else to see, apart from these jugs and dishes,

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and this hob and oven, which is far less fancy than mine.

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I guess all the perishable food was out of sight in the massive refrigerator and freezer. I left that kitchen wondering just how they managed to come up with all the different and totally delicious dishes for three full meals a day for so many people. They certainly did deserve the applause they got on our last night aboard.

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Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. I may not be around for the next few days, as my laptop has to go to the ‘Apple Hospital’. It needs a keyboard transplant, as I’ve worn out some of the keys. Too much blogging, I guess. 🙂

‘Tilting at Windmills’ for the WPC

“What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.

“Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”

“Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills.”  ~ Don Quixote

Yesterday as we sailed into die Nederlands, the focus seemed to be on windmills, and I thought you might also like to see some of what I saw along the riverbank.

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Windmills are an essential part of the Dutch landscape, and responsible for keeping half the country above water. They convert the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes, which are called sails.

There are still over a thousand windmills throughout the Netherlands and they are often the first thing that people recall about the country. I remember visiting some of my dad’s family in Amsterdam when I was a child, and the windmills left a lasting impression on my memory.

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Windmills are said to have existed in Holland from about 1200, and today, are characteristic of the Dutch landscape and a symbol of the Dutch people’s endless struggle with water.

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In the nineteenth century, Holland had about 9,500 windmills. Can you imagine what it must have been like with all those turning sails, working virtually day and night?

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Originally windmills were developed for milling grain for food production, but over time they were adapted to many other industrial uses.

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An important non-milling use is to pump land water for drainage. Since the 16th century, the Dutch have made more and more progress in the fight against their hereditary foe, water, and have managed to keep their country dry, in spite of the fact that it lies several feet below sea level.

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Holland owes its creation as well as its development in the most literal sense to the windmills, for it was thanks solely to the windmills that is was possible to repeatedly reclaim new land for the evergrowing population.

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Since the 16th century, many Dutch people have been living on land that lies below sea level, or has even been reclaimed from the sea.  In order to make this possible, windmills were used to drain the ‘polders’ and keep them dry.

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Late yesterday afternoon, we went on a tour of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most picturesque and iconic sites in Holland.

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Kinderdijk got its name after a notorious flood which devastated the area in 1421. A heavy storm off the North Sea coast caused tsunami-like waves that broke through the dikes, swallowing the surrounding villages. Legends were told about the tragic event which claimed thousands of lives.

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One such legend was about a child in a cradle that was kept afloat by a cat jumping from side to side, in order to keep it balanced. The cat and the cradle became a popular fairytale, and the area became known as “Child’s Dike” which is Kinderdijk in Dutch. To this day, all the cats around windmills are protected and honoured as “windmill cats.” Here is a reconstructed room in one of the windmills.

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Kinderdijk is a tiny village located on a strip of land between the Lek and Noord Rivers,and has the largest concentration of operational windmills, nineteen of them dating back to the 14th century. I didn’t see any windmill cats around, but they were probably far too sensible to be out in the pouring rain. We arrived back at the ship, looking like ‘drowned rats’, and had hardly any time to make ourselves presentable in time for the Captain’s dinner. 🙂

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my post entirely focused on windmills. 🙂 To see more interpretations of the challenge, just click here.

Thanks for the memory…….Castles on the Rhine.

As we sailed serenely down the Rhine, I was reminded of that 1938 song by Hoagy Carmichael, ‘Thanks for the memory’. Whenever I’ve heard it sung, I’ve wondered about those “Castles on the Rhine” which come after “Candlelight and wine,” in the lyrics. Well yesterday my curiosity was finally assuaged, as we passed castle after castle, seemingly without end, until we arrived in Braubach. A few of you have asked me to please show you some views from our cruise ship, so here goes. You’ll probably be as “castled out” by the end as I was. 🙂

As we neared Braubach, we caught sight of the beautiful Marksburg Castle, the only hill castle along the Rhine which has never been destroyed, making it the most original castle in the entire valley of the Loreley. We were able to visit it later, but that’s a post for another day.

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Today we are in Cologne, and I’ve been out most of the day looking at the magnificent cathedral. Tonight we have a classical music evening after dinner, in sharp contrast to last night’s entertainment, which ended up with our young Program Director doing a very convincing impersonation of Elvis singing ‘All Shook Up’. His white suit, dark shades and hip gyrations were right on the nail.

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Have a great weekend everyone. I have only one full day of our cruise left and it’s back to England on Sunday, and on to Florida on Tuesday. It’s all go! I’m rather looking forward to being able to relax for a change. Being on holiday is so exhausting. 🙂

An evening in Rüdesheim, featuring windows, and a castle on the hill.

Last night our cruise ship docked in Rüdesheim, a pretty wine-making town in the Rhine Gorge. After dinner on board, we decided to go ashore and seek out the night life. We had to wait quite a few minutes for four trains to come past, before we were allowed to cross the line, and I decided that this quaint little tower was really worth a photo.

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Once safely across, we wandered the narrow lanes lined with bars and restaurants.

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The windows really caught my attention, so I thought I’d capture a few for Dawn’s Thursday windows challenge. On our trip, I’ve noticed so many colourful window boxes everywhere in England, France and Germany

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There were some very cute ornaments in this Christmas shop.

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The brightly lit restaurants looked really inviting, and most had live music playing.

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We’d already eaten a fabulous dinner, so could only look.

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We found a lively bar, and sat for a while enjoying a glass of German wine and listening to a group playing really old songs from the 50’s to the 70’s. People were really enjoying themselves on the tiny dance floor in the corner.

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On our way back to the ship, I noticed these stained glass windows, not in a church, but on the side of a pub/restaurant.

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It was a lovely evening, and a pretty castle was outlined against the night sky.

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We had to wait again before crossing the railway line back to the ship.

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Then it wasn’t far along the tow path back to our home on the water, under the moon-lit sky.

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We are now docked in Koblensk, and I’m going to do some exploring this afternoon.

A walk in the Black Forest

I’m having a great time on the Rhine River cruise, and have been kept very busy from early morning until bedtime, with sight seeing, eating, entertainment and of course family times. My dear mom-in-law is quite the celebrity on board, and when she returned to her cabin after dinner on the second night, she found it decorated with a banner, balloons and a ‘birthday cake’ made out of towels. 🙂

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Yesterday our ship docked in Breisach, and we went on a morning tour and were able to take a walk in the Black Forest. It was a lovely morning as we set out for our half hour mini-hike through the picturesque landscape.

One of the first things we saw was this old log-cutting machine. Quite a nifty contraption. I wonder how many men it took to lift the heavy logs into it.

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These mountain goats looked quite content and took no notice of us at all, as they nibbled away at the foliage growing out of the rocks.

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After a while, the trail became quite steep and the ground underfoot was very rocky, so we decided that my 100-year-old MiL, shouldn’t go any further. We left her sitting on a large boulder just under this viaduct, whilst the rest of us climbed up to the top.

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She was quite happy to wait here, and when we got back about twenty minutes later, said that she’d been listening to the birds, and had seen a train going over the top of the viaduct.

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Here are a few pics of what we saw on our way. Just click on any image to see the gallery.

To end off our visit, we watched a demonstration on how to make a Black Forest cake. It involved a huge chocolate sponge cake sliced into three layers, and sandwiched together with lots of delicious cherries, liberal quantities of Kirschwasser, cherry jam, and a whole bucket of whipped cream, all topped off with grated black chocolate. Yummy! I did pick up one of those recipe cards, and so did my MiL. I’m sure she’s going to try it when she gets back home. 🙂

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I have so much more to tell you and show you, but now I have to get showered and dressed so that I can have breakfast before our trip into Strasbourg. I’m sorry I haven’t managed to get to all of your blogs lately. Thank you so much for your lovely comments and visits.