This morning, we wake up to riverbanks covered in snow. We don't get to see too much of the white stuff in Dallas, so it is a real treat. I have to slide open our stateroom door and shoot some photos.
We were able to sleep a bit later this morning as Savor does not arrive in Nuremburg until a little after 1:00pm. Tauck offered three different excursions in Nuremburg: a WWII Tour, A Medieval Nuremburg Tour and a Panorama Tour. All three tours end up at the Old Town Christmas Market, one of the largest in Germany. We chose the Panorama Tour as it claimed to offer the most free time at the market.
On Tauck river cruise excursions, complimentary bottled water is available in the Reception area before guests disembark the ship. You are also greeted with a hot towel, warm beverage and a sweet treat when you return from an excursion. It should be noted that, of all river cruises we have covered, Tauck has the most extensive security measures in place. Guests use their room key to "swipe" out when leaving the ship, and "swipe" in when returning. This allows Tauck to track which guests are on/off the ship at any given time.
We board our coach for the Panorama Tour with Jill, one of our Tauck Tour Directors, narrating from the front of the coach. We have done the Panorama Tour before so we basically were using the motor coach as transportation to the Christmas Market, but the tour is a good overview of Nuremburg for first-time visitors. When we arrive at the drop-off point, Jill guides us to the "Beautiful Fountain" in the Hauptkarkt main market square, which will be our meeting point for the 5:30 coach trip back to Savor.
The Beautiful Fountain is hard to miss. At Christmastime it is decorated to appear as a tall column, so you really can't tell that it is a fountain. But, it is a prominent structure and makes for a good gathering landmark. Of course, the most imposing structure in the Hauptmarkt is the Church of our Lady.
It is really cold when we arrive at the Christmas Market, and it is starting to get dark. Oh, and it is pretty windy, too, which makes it even colder. Our first objective is to find a Glühwein stand so we can get one of the cool Nuremburg mugs to add to our growing collection. We found a stand that had the mug Rickee wanted and we were soon warming our insides with mulled wine.
The crowd at the Market is unlike anything we have ever experienced. It is Saturday night and it seems everyone in Germany has come to Nuremburg for the Christmas Market. We fight through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd to find a space to drink the glühwein without getting bumped. It just so happens we find a spot right next to a vendor selling some very tasty-looking Nuremburg sausages. What are the odds? Nuremburg sausages are small, about the size of your forefinger. For 3€ you get three grilled sausages on a crusty bun. Slather on some mustard and you have a delicious treat! Rickee and I shared one of the sausage rolls and it was very good. Not as good as Regensburg Sausage Kitchen, but pretty close.
With two hours before the shuttle back to Savor, we had plenty of time to see every vendor booth, and even some twice. The hardest part was fighting through the massive crowds.
We stopped near the Church of our Lady where a bandstand was set up and a choir was singing Christmas songs.
There was a good variety of vendors here selling all kinds of goods such as unique Christmas ornaments and decorations, souvenirs, stuffed animals, toys, metal craft, carved wood items, clothing, etc.
By the time 5:15 rolled around, we were ready to return to Savor. About two hours of cold and crowds is all we can handle. Besides, it was more than enough time to see everything. We were back on board Savor by 6:00pm. We attended the Captain's Farewell Cocktail Reception in Panorama Lounge and said goodbye to new friends. We had an opporunity to visit a bit with Steve Marchant, our Cruise Director, with whom we have previously sailed (2014 Tauck ms Inspire). We enjoyed getting to know Steve a little better and hope we have the opportunity to travel with him again.
Our delightful Tauck Christmas Market river cruise has come to an end, but we will have memories of this trip that will last forever. Tomorrow, we fly home to Dallas. It will be a long day in the air, but it will give us time to go over our notes and begin our final review of Tauck Savor!