A Visit to the ‘Amadeus Brilliant;’ Through the Countryside to Cologne
Posted on October 29th, 2013
Upon arriving in Frankfurt, Germany, in the mid morning, we transferred by train to Wurzburg and settled into our accommodations in a Novotel by late afternoon. With a little daylight remaining, we walked a few blocks to part of Wurzburg’s downtown.
The next morning, we transferred to ‘Amadeus Brilliant,’ which was moored on the Main River, for an inspection. The A&K experience began the moment we arrived. We were greeted by the riverboat’s hotel manager and his staff when our taxis pulled up to the curb. Our bags were carried onto ‘Brilliant’ for us and as we entered we were offered glasses of orange juice and a refreshing hot towel. We were then ushered forward into the Panorama Lounge, where we were served champagne and canapés, as we listened to the hotel manager, whose name was Sigfreid (Sigi for short), describe his 25-year background in river cruising, including his many years with A&K.
Sigi then led us on an inspection tour of the boat, showing us the vessel’s many amenities, which included a massage room and workout area. We then departed via a waiting motor coach for the drive to Cologne, to board ‘Amadeus Silver.’ We arrived just in time to witness the autumn colors in full expression and it was a pleasure to ride through the German countryside witnessing forested hillsides of oak and maple ablaze in reds, yellows and russets, with the intermingled evergreens providing a touch of green. The weather started in a misty rain but finished the day in partial sun and dry.
We arrived in Cologne about 45 minutes before sundown and boarded ‘Amadeus Silver,’ greeted with the same smiles and helpfulness we experienced on ‘Brilliant.’ Settling in before dinner, I took a quick walk to the nearby Cologne Cathedral, snapping some photos as its twin spires caught the day’s last rays.
On the southern steps of the great Gothic cathedral, which face a boulevard of shops, a great many young people (many of them couples) congregated to chat and take the night air in what seemed a typical local custom.
Back on ship, the Luftners, the Austrian family that owns and operates the Amadeus fleet, welcomed everyone aboard in the restaurant, and kicked off a five-course gourmet dinner. I had the involtini with quail and duck and found it to be excellent. All entrees were served with German wines and they complimented the entire meal quite well. Each course had something new for the palate and dessert in particular earned high marks for presentation, not to mention taste.
Dinner proceeded European style, lasting more than three hours, punctuated with conversation and relaxation. Afterward, some went to bed, while others, myself included, found our way upstairs to the Panorama Lounge (which was about a third again larger than its counterpart on ‘Brilliant’) to hear a jazz trio. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, but it was time to adjorn to our cabins and suites for a few hours of much-needed rest, before rising the next day for our shore excursion to Arnhem, in the Netherlands, sight of the infamous Market Garden battle in September of 1944.