Monday, July 20, 2015

Mom's visit part one...

My mom has spent the last couple of weeks aboard the Royal Crown, a river boat leased by Hebridean Island Cruises during the summer.  She decided to take that all inclusive luxury cruise last year after asking me for advice on cruising.  Originally, she had considered a Viking cruise, but she reconsidered when I told her about the amazing time Bill and I had when we were on Hebridean Princess in November 2012.  It's a very luxurious, civilized, British experience.  Once you pay your fare, you don't have to worry about anything else.  There's no tipping and the bar is open.  It's one cruise that is truly all inclusive.  I also knew my mom loves Britain, so I recommended Royal Crown.  Originally, I wanted to join her, but we had a few too many major expenses this year (including the dental work I still need).  Hebridean cruises are wonderful, but they are very expensive.

Mom's trip included two back to back cruises on Royal Crown, as well as a few days in England, where she met up with my dad's former secretary from Mildenhall Air Force Base.  Then she flew with all the rest of the folks on the first cruise to Basel, Switzerland.  The focus was on wine.  They boarded the boat and traveled to Strasbourg, France, Cologne, Germany, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Koblenz, and Nuremberg.  In Nuremberg, a new cruise started with a music focus.  They went to Regensberg, Passau, Linz, Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest.  Mom didn't take any photos and says a lot of it is still a blur.  But she had a great time and made some new British friends.  She was the only American on the boat.  I expected that, since when Bill and I were on Princess, we were the only Americans on our first cruise and one of two American couples on the second.  Also, Hebridean tends to cater to older folks and single travelers.  On our first cruise, I was the youngest passenger at age 40!  Mom fit right in.

We picked up my mother on Saturday after she flew to Stuttgart from Budapest.  It was her first time in Budapest and she stayed at the Corinthia Hotel, which is where Bill and I stayed in September 2009.  We knew it's a wonderful place to stay and mom concurred.  If you like five star luxury, you can't go wrong at the Corinthia.

I hadn't seen my mom since Thanksgiving 2014, when Bill and I went to Virginia to celebrate the holiday and say goodbye to my dad, who died in July 2014.  We had a memorial service for him at Thanksgiving so more family could attend.  Last August, right after my dad died, my mom discovered that she had breast cancer.  She had a breast removed, but then seemed to bounce back effortlessly.

We took her by the Auld Rogue in Vaihingen on the way home because I was really getting hangry.  She enjoyed their pulled pork sandwich special, but had to take most of it with her.  This is sort of her first time in Germany.  Though my dad was in the Air Force, they were never stationed here, nor did they ever visit here on one of their many trips.  She had wanted to visit me the last time we lived here, but my dad became very ill with dementia and she spent the next few years taking care of him.  I think this last year has been liberating for her, even if she misses him sometimes.

She met my dogs, Zane and Arran, for the first time on Saturday...


Zane took to her right away...

  
My mom is a big dog lover, but hasn't had one since 2001, when our dog Ginger died.  I used to be able to share the dogs with her when we lived in Virginia, but the past few years have been pretty hectic move wise.

Yesterday, we had a nice peaceful morning and afternoon.  Mom sat out on the patio with a book and enjoyed the typically quiet German Sunday.  Then, we went to Tuebingen, where mom got to see one of our favorite medieval German college towns.  She experienced her first biergarten.


Mom tries a radler.  She is not a beer fan, but she seemed to enjoy this... And she tried my hefeweizen and said it tasted better than most beers do.  I think her problem is that my dad drank a lot of cheap mass produced Anheuser-Busch beers that tasted like crap.

While we were at the Neckarmuller, we watched people punting, swimming, and even sailing.  One group of Germans was especially entertaining...


I love a good musical interlude.  We also passed a group playing strings near the cathedral and a trio of women who were singing together as they walked.  Made me very proud to be here with my very musical mom.

After some beer and people watching, we walked through the park on the other side of the Neckarmuller.  One group of folks was barbecuing on their boat while in the river.  I love hanging out in Tuebingen, because there is never a shortage of people to watch.  And on the river, they usually put on a good show.  Especially if there's a good hen party.


Another group got caught in some low hanging branches.


The tunnel on the way back to the car.



We passed this "cloud" on the way...


There is a sister exhibit in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Cool!  Even if it did remind me a little of a loogy.






Swimmers...  might have to join them someday.


This may have been the first sailboat I've ever seen in Tuebingen.






A party boat...



I think we're going to go to Nagold today, though I'm also hoping to visit a place or two I haven't yet blogged about.  I definitely want to try a different restaurant.  Bill has taken off until Wednesday to help me entertain my mom until she flies back to the States.

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