Our morning walking tour of Nuremberg is scheduled to depart at 9:00am, so we have plenty of time for breakfast in the Restaurant before we depart. An á la carte menu supplements an extensive buffet. I stick to the buffet while Rickee orders Eggs Benedict from the menu. I remembered John and Sandra Nowlan (Canadian travel and food journalists) remarking about the honeycomb at breakfast. Sure enough, there it was, and even larger than I imagined!
After breakfast, we stop by Reception to collect our "boarding passes" and color-coded audio receivers. Avalon uses the boarding passes to keep track of which guests are off the ship. You collect a boarding pass when you depart, and return it to Reception upon your return -- a simple, effective system. The audio devices are color-coded (red, blue, white, or green) and the color determines which tour group you join. A color-coded sign is in the windshield of each motor coach so that you get back on the correct coach.
After boarding our "red" coach, our local guide began telling us all about the history of Nuremberg as our driver, Peter, masterfully navigated the tight turns and narrow streets of the Old Town. The walking portion of our tour began with a visit to the Nuremberg Castle.
It is cold and raining, so umbrellas are in order for the walking portion of the tour. Once inside the castle complex, there is an excellent lookout over the city of Nuremberg.
The second portion of the walking tour was time "on our own" in the market square of Nuremberg. Nuremberg has one of the largest and most impressive Christmas markets in Europe but today is Tuesday and, unfortunately, it does not open until Friday! However, preparations for the market are obvious as we walk through the square.
We wanted some gingerbread cookies from the famous Lebkuchen-Schmidt store in Nuremberg. The store is filled with decorative tins of all shapes and sizes filled with a variety of gingerbread treats. Surprisingly, there are no gingerbread men. They did not even seem to know what we were asking about!
Rickee and I decided to visit a local cafe on the square that we visited a couple of years ago when we were in Nuremberg for Christmas markets. A sweet roll and hot chocolate were just what we needed to take the edge off the cold and rain.
We met the rest of our group at the appointed time and location for the drive back to Avalon Vista, which has relocated to the little town of Roth while we were in Nuremberg. Once back on board Vista, it was time for the Bavarian Lunch. Roasted suckling pig, sauerkraut, sausages, pretzels and beer were the highlights of this themed lunch. The pretzels were our favorite!
After lunch, we had some time to relax in our stateroom. Rickee attended a lecture in the lounge conducted by Alexander Estel on German Christmas Traditions. He also told us lots of facts and figures about the Main-Danube Canal through which we were currently sailing.
Each afternoon at 4:00pm, Avalon Vista invites guests to the lounge for Afternoon Tea. An elaborate spread of cakes, finger sandwiches, macaroons, hot tea and even Glüehwine (mulled wine) are offered. We opted for the Glüehwine, saving what is left of our appetite after our big German lunch for our Bistro dinner this evening.
From 5:30-6:30 each evening, Avalon offers Happy Hour featuring half-priced cocktails. How could we refuse an offer like that?
At 6:30pm, our Cruise Director, Tony, gives us a daily briefing about what we should expect for the next day's activities. After the briefing, guests waste no time heading to the Restaurant for dinner. This evening, we made reservations for The Bistro, an alternative dining option available on certain nights during the cruise. The Bistro is located in the forward section of the lounge and serves a multi-course dinner consisting of tapas-style portions to a maximum of thirty guests. There were four different wines paired with the 11-course meal.
After dinner, we were definitely ready for bed, vowing to eat much less tomorrow. That may be difficult since we will be in Regensberg, Germany, where a return visit to the famous sausage kitchen is a must!