Robin's Adventures

River Cruise: Rhine and Moselle Rivers
Adventures with Medieval Castles and Charming Old Towns


Our attention was diverted from the windmills by a beautiful Grey Heron (Ardea cinereal) that was nonchalantly strolling down the road.

We were also impressed by the elaborate decorative panels on many of the houses in and around the doors. Most related to the profession of the people living in the house.

Making Cheese

We listened to an interesting talk about how cheese is made. Apparently, archeologists have found Dutch cheese making equipment that dates back to 200 BC. Currently, more than 1.4 billion pounds of cheese is produced annually in the Netherlands.

Making Clogs

Wooden clogs, called klompen, have been used by farmers, factory workers, and fishermen in the Netherlands since medieval times. The shoes provide protection from the hazards of the job and keep feet dry on wet fishing boats and in muddy fields.

It generally takes about 3 to 4 hours to make one pair of clogs. Then the wood has to be dried out or cured for about three weeks. Clog making is a dying art and there are only about a dozen clog makers who carve the shoes by hand left in the Netherlands today.

Volendam Fishing Village

Volendam is a fishing village with an active harbor and charming old houses. There are many shops in the city center and many bakeries that make an incredible variety of waffles.

The Riekermolen

The Riekermolen, originally built in 1636, was used to drain water from a low plot of land. Today, the windmill sits in a park near the Amstel River and is a popular tourist attraction. Nearby is a statue of Rembrandt that depicts him making sketches which he frequently did along the banks of the river.

The park was also home to a nesting white stork (Ciconia ciconia). Storks tend to be monogamous breeders and return to the same nest year after year.


The next portion of our trip would be spent aboard the Amaprima. The boat, which is 443 feet long and 38 feet wide, was designed for river travel and provided a relaxing and convenient way to see the beautiful countryside around the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.


Traveling down the Rhine River, as you approach Cologne, which is the fourth largest city in Germany, the Hohenzollern Bridge comes into view. This 1,342 foot long bridge is the most used railway bridge in the country and it has more than 1,200 trains crossing each day.

We wandered through Fish Market square with its tall colorful townhouses and happened to meet Tunnes and Schal, statues of two popular characters from 19th century theater that are popular in the culture and humor of Cologne today. Down the street was St. Martin Church which was originally built between 1150 and 1240 in a Romanesque style.

Apparently, You Can Fight City Hall

Cologne's Old Town Hall, which was originally built in the early 15th century, was the first high rise building in the city that was not a church building. It is 200 feet tall and has 130 stone statues, most of whom are historical figures. There is also a wooden sculpture of a face, located just below the clock, that sticks its tongue out when the clock strikes the hour.

Directly across the square from the city hall, perhaps as a political statement, is a house displaying a "kallendresser" statue. A kallendresser is a person who bares his bottom and does his business in the gutter.

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, which is about 515 feet tall, is Germany's most visited and tallest twin spired church. Although construction began in 1248, the cathedral was not completed until 632 years later. It is interesting to note that the north tower is almost three inches taller than the south tower.

Inside Cologne Cathedral

The cathedral was designed not only as a place of worship, but as a grand home for the relics of the Three Wise Men who visited Jesus after his birth. The large gold sarcophagus containing these relics is still on display in the cathedral.