We’ve had excellent weather so far on this cruise—sunshine yet cool enough temperatures to not be uncomfortable while touring in all the cities we’ve sampled along “our” rivers.
I guess it’s only the odds working out that would have us in a bit of rain. And it happened today, in Regensburg on the banks of the Danube. First, let me tell you that where I come from (rural Northern California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills/mountains) we simply don’t see raindrops between May and October. Oh, we may have some lightning storms (and those electrical spikes to the ground certainly start their share of wildfires), but we don’t have rain. It’s just not happening.
It was certainly happening, though, when we woke up this morning. The drops dimpled the river’s surface and wetted the balcony outside our room. It tapered off a bit while we cruised the Danube after breakfast (gee, have I mentioned lately how great the food is?) but by the time we reached Regensburg it was a steady drizzle once again.
Of course Viking is prepared for this: Two large containers each holding dozens of beyond-full-size red umbrellas (yes, of course they’re emblazoned with the Viking logo; passengers out on city tours become ruby-colored walking advertisements for the cruise line) sit by the ramp leading down to the dock. Grab one and you’re ready to brave the elements.
PACKING TIP: Egads, I promise, I did check the weather frequently in the various dock cities before leaving, but I had no idea it would be this chilly in the middle of August, for goodness’ sake. I brought two pairs of ankle-length pants and two of crop pants. I wish I would have switched out one of those for full-length pants: what I wouldn’t have given for warm, dry ankles on our rainy Regensburg day…
My ScotteVest Sterling jacket has been a real treat to wear for the past few weeks. When I bought it, I thought it might work for me for this trip—as well as future adventures—but I didn’t realize how easy it would make our daily tours off the ship. I just stick in my “must have” personal items (wallet, coin purse, hairbrush, camera, lipstick) and then add in my room key card as well as the cards from Viking for port location, tour group and boarding pass. But I’m not done yet: I add in the day’s city map (pick one up at the reception desk when you’re ready to head out), my iPhone (I don’t always take it, though) and, when the tour’s done, one pocket gets stuffed with the QuietVox speaker unit we use for touring. It all fits and I still have room for extra stuff I pick up along the way.
I’d planned on using the jacket mainly in its vest configuration—and that’s what I did in Amsterdam and the earlier city ports. It’s been a bit chilly lately, though, and I’ve really appreciated the extra warmth achieved by zipping on those sleeves. When I became warm this afternoon, I zipped off the sleeves and stuffed them (as well as just-purchased deodorant–egads, 10 euros??–and two postcards) in the back pockets of the jacket. I had nothing to carry with my hands–yahoo! I even ran back to the room this evening to get the sleeves from the drawer so I could be more comfy up on the top deck after the sun went down. Versatile, useful and cute. I like this jacket! My idea for improvement would be to add a zipped in hood in the neck for days when the extra warmth/protection would be useful…
…And one of those days would certainly have been Regensburg. Did I mention that it rained?
The dreary, wet day didn’t dampen the ebullient spirits of our guide for the day, though. Katerina kept us engaged with interesting information and a true passion for her city. She walked us through the streets of Regensburg and we learned of the community’s earliest days (gee, those Romans conquered everything everwhere didn’t they?) right up through current time. Our group was an “extended” tour (that means it didn’t cost any extra but did include 30 minutes additional) with the extra time devoted to information and locations relating to the Jewish presence in Regensburg.
By tour’s end the rain had slackened enough that we wandered into several little shops (I really like listening to cuckoo clocks!) and then stopped in at the old sausage shop at the base of the Stone Bridge to order a few bratwurst for our late lunch. The picnic table bench was a little damp but the sausages were hot and the view of the Danube memorable (but we liked the flavor of the bratwurst in Nuremburg a bit better; if you can only try bratwurst at one place, make it Nuremburg, not Ragansburg.)