The Marksburg hillside castle was fun, but you can learn more about it from Wikipedia than I could add, except for one queasy detail. The latrine off the dining room is a one-hole-er with an unobstructed drop into the flower garden below. If obsessed with fortifying my homestead from invaders (this particular castle was frequently challenged, but never conquered), a vulnerable southern exposure, if you will forgive the euphemism, would have left me waiting nearly beyond the last minute to insure the briefest, most efficient drop.

After the tour, we boarded the ship anticipating a relaxing cruise through the prettiest part of the Rhine Valley, but our idyll was nearly spoiled when we learned that the lock operators were threatening to strike. (You might say that a German union strike is an idyll threat, but I wouldn’t.) Since this cruise passes 67 locks, a ship does not travel far without getting blocked by an uncooperative gate operator. This threatened to change the cruise plans in awkward ways.

Life aboard has been pleasant. So far as we can tell, there are no other gay travelers, but what might have been an uncomfortable isolation just a few years ago, is a non-issue with practically everyone. The few grumpy old bastards are as likely to be dispeptic about a jammed pepper mill at breakfast as the neighboring cabin’s proclivities.


We have hooked up with a fun foursome at dinner. Given my adolescent humor and the 13-year-old’s precociousness, he and I are getting on well. There’s a 14-year-old aboard, but the two boys seem to have no interest in knowing each other.

left to right: Christi, Rod, yours truly, Glenn, Robin, Mike

Published by Sambandar

Hiker, bridge player, and amateur opinionist living in this wonderful American city for nearly 30 years. I maintain a silly blog when traveling.

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