Afternoon/Evening, Thursday, June 6

We had a very productive and enjoyable excursion into the center of Bamberg, where we were able to acquire a couple of things and replenish our Euros, which had dwindled to basically zero!

The city center is bisected by the river, which is crossable at regular intervals via attractive walking and traffic bridges.  Since we were on a particular mission for this venture into the city, we didn't take as much time to explore as we plan to do on Friday afternoon.  However, we did manage to find a lovely little alley off one of the main streets that was lined with charming and unusual shops whose owners were sitting comfortably outside engaged in conversation.

The afternoon was relaxed and uneventful, which was a welcome change to the turmoil of the previous 36 hours.  Lunch was light and tasty, and we lounged on the sun deck for a while afterward while watching one of the more energetic couples on the cruise log 2 quick miles on the track.  (Is it possible to exercise vicariously?)

After a MAJOR nap, we repaired to the lounge for a Welcome Cocktail Hour during which we were introduced to the crew of the Skadi in a less confrontational atmosphere than would have been possible during our original embarkation.  Quite a lot had transpired from an informational standpoint and Wilhelm read us another letter from Viking Corporate.  While we were distressed to learn that the "water police" had decided to close the Danube for the next ten days, effectively cancelling our cruise per se,  there was definitely a brighter side to the situation.  Viking has generously offered two options for the passengers:  Anyone who wishes to depart prior to the scheduled end of the cruise will receive a pro-rated refund for the remaining portion of the tour, and the staff will assist them in obtaining expedited transport home.  For those of use who elect to continue till the 16th, there will be some obvious changes in the itinerary necessitated by travelling overland: two nights in Vienna, two in Vienna and two in Budapest.  In addition, we will receive a credit toward a future cruise equal to 75% of the cost of our current trip.

Another in a series of delicious dinners brought us together with some previous acquaintances and some new ones.  Imagine my surprise and delight to find that our two new table companions are both professors at my alma mater in Baltimore!  Oddly enough, as the wine consumption increased, so did the range and vivacity of the conversation, until we were all telling stories from our younger and (ostensibly) more foolish days that served to elevate the already comedic mood to the realm of the absurd.

Even though there was a lecture on nautical themes scheduled for after dinner, we were sufficiently well afloat ourselves that the lecture would most likely have been an exercise in redundancy.  So we retired to the cabin to plan out the coming day and to watch "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a charming finale to the day.

Watch for the next posting about our small-group excursion to the Seehof Castle, the Baroque seat of power of the Prince-Archbishops of Bamberg in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Pam

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