Our next 2 ports were Passau and Regensberg; cities of Celtic origins. In Passau we listened to an excellent organ recital and experienced the mighty power of over 17,000 pipes - the largest over 20 feet and the smallest the size of a thumbnail. The charm and mood of Regensburg was reflected in the sentiment depicted on a large sign -' Better to spend 3 times the amount restoring a 1,000 year old building than to build a new one the same size .'
After Regensburg our landscape changed to one of open meadows en route to Nuremberg via the newly created Main Danube Canal access which flows into the Main River and then into the busy Rhine.We reached the high point of our cruise along the canal at 134o feet (406 metres) above sea level and celebrated with a glass of champagne then presented with an 'A' class sailors certificate by the Captain. Since Budapest sailing was always against the current and assisted by numerous elevated locks but now on our downward leg the situation is reversed until our final docking at Amsterdam which is below sea level.
Excellent features of the cruise are the frequent updates and formal presentations on a variety of topics to keep one informed about forthcoming visits; varying architectural styles and more recently Germany history from the creation of the 3rd Reich to modern day unification between East and West presented by a political scientist. We toured the city of Nuremberg by bus and on foot experiencing the older city sections which were protected against invaders with a high perimeter wall and moat which proved impenetrable during the Middle Ages when ruled by wealthy merchants. The city was also the focal point for the meeting place of Dukes and Counts who swear allegiance to newly crowned Emperors. Seeking to replicate this past seat of power and because of the excellent rail network to everywhere within Germany Nuremberg became the ideological centre for the rallying point of the 3rd Reich. We visited an unfinished Coliseum and the Stadium where Hitler appeared to address the huge rallies of the military and Hitler youth. Our Tour Guide explained that in the first 2 decades after the end of WW2 the dark past was not discussed but then the full history including visits to former Concentration Camps became an integral part of the present day education system.
Our next port was the charming city of Bamberg which is afforded UNESCO listing for its historic medieval buildings which survived untouched by bombing during WW2 - unlike Nuremberg where 93% of the city was destroyed. The Bamberg people have a devotion to St Kunigunde, the wife of King Heinriach 11 and Empress of Bamberg from 1002, who they believe caused a cloud cover to prevent bombing