I Aways Wanted To Be A Viking

Dedicated to Maureen. I’m honoring her challenge to write about our holiday adventures and post photos.

Rhine River Cruise

Join me for the next eight days as my husband and I (we left the two feral cats at home) as we take a leisurely cruise down the Rhine River aboard Viking River Cruises. The Viking Edgir will take us from the near start of the Rhine in Switzerland until it empties into the sea in the Netherlands.

Day 1: Basel, Switzerland

Today, we boarded in Basel, Switzerland. I’m already liking this cruise line a lot. It caters to retirees and there’s no pool on top of the boat. Instead we’re going to steep ourselves in history and culture.

Basel is located where Switzerland, Germany, and France meet. The city straddles the Rhine at the farthest navigable point. Based is steeped in history. A cluster of old-town buildings huddles along the a hilly riverbank. Around Market Square history meets history in every building–guild houses reflect its history during the Gothic, Renaissance and baroque times. What I call city hall, the Swiss call Rathaus or Town Hall. The city has more than forty museums of art and culture. Makes me hungry for fondue and croissants.

The Rhine River

The Rhine is one of Europe’s predominant waterways. It offers picturesque cruising. Of pariticular interest are the castles, medieval ruins, and ancient towns located in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. The river is 764 miles long and flows through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. At 764 miles, the Rhine is the largest river in Germany suitably named “Father Rhine.”

Egdir–Norse Viking to the Giants

The name of our boat is the Egdir. According to Norse mythology, Egdir was the watchman of Jotunheimar, the home for the Norse Giants. He also cared for the offspring of the mythical wolf Fenrir. But his most well known for his role in Ragnarok signaling the Joiner (giants) for the epic battle with his harp.

A slushy slurry of fat was obtained by boiling or scraping the empty salted meat storage barrels. This stuff, called “slush,” was often sold ashore by the ship’s cook for the benefit of himself or the crew. The money so derived became known as a “slush fund.”

Independence Day

While I’m immersed in history and European culture for a week. I cannot let this day go by without acknowledging that a new nation was born this day in 1776 when thirteen colonies declared it’s independence from England. For those readers who know of my penchant for family history, I can proudly proclaim I have quite a few ancestors who fought during the Revolutionary War. And, my father, James Madison Ragland, carried a family name that appeared time and again in the Ragland tree branches since the birth of our Constitution. Happy Birthday America celebrating with 246 candles.

Debora Ragland Buerk
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