I went Viking cruising on the Rhine. Yep, sounds like a restful holiday but I can assure you it involved a lot of walking.
Two months ago, I wasn't sure I would be able to cope with walking the airport concourse never mind the daily scenic walks that were on offer. And as Andy and I were sailing with our pals Billy and Catherine, I didn't want to curtail their perambulations.
We started with a 6.05am flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam, then another flight onto Basel where we were to pick up our ship, The Eir. A Viking river boat is called a ship... who knew. We were very grateful that there was enough water in the Rhine for us to sail on, as during our holiday we came across other Viking travellers whose Danube voyage had been cancelled as the water level was too low. They had been transferred to some sister ships and were sailing the Rhine instead.
|Eir and sister ship moored together|
The Rhine, as we found out, was a very busy river with many different river "boats", long, long barges and individual cruisers. We also travelled through quite a few locks as we flowed with the river down to the sea.
Our itinerary visited many various towns and cities, viewing a broad range of architecture, reflecting the three countries we cruised through. Although we started in Basel, Switzerland, next day we moored at Breisach, Germany. Second day Strasbourg, France ... just in time for the Football World Cup! Then back to Germany, to explore Heidelberg, Koblenz, Cologne... ending up in Holland, visiting Kinderdijk and finishing at the port of Amsterdam.
Seeing the various and inspiring buildings (like how did they build that... there?) I became very aware that there is purpose in architecture. I know, I am a bit slow in the uptake...
|Cuckoo Clock House, Black Forest|
|Cologne Cathedral in the distance|
Or the castles guarding the river, their towering presence threatening any foreign invader or alternatively a perfect fit for a Disney Cartoon.
|Fairy Tale Design|
So that takes me to my knee, a complicated structure if ever there was one. Built for both movement and stability. No wonder it gets confused. And I hadn't helped it to function by not moving much and falling a lot. Well that is now in the past...
I only managed one walk on grass while away although I did plug into my groundology support daily. But ... and here's the key to my recovery ... I kept walking ...
|Catherine and Eileen and beer cellar|
I walked up hills and down dales and realised that each day I was getting stronger. I even took to the dance floor one evening and joy of joys didn't feel any ill effects from the unaccustomed exercise. Although not sure what the other dancers thought of my twinkle toes... as I was barefoot dancing!
Some people may comment that alcohol was an important part of my pain relief and how can I deny it when there is proof of Catherine and myself posing outside a Cologne beer house... not a bar. We are standing under a model of a friar supporting a young lad on his back. A reference to the number of clergy that managed to support their children. The people of Cologne enjoy their little jokes...
On returning home, I phoned the hospital and cancelled my operation. Well as I said the day after the dance floor experiment: "I have a damn cheek to think I need a new knee as this one is working so well for me now".
I am very grateful that whatever I am doing is working. And as the surgeon, Mr. Bennet recommended me to keep doing it ... I will!
One of the many things I am doing is affirming while walking
"I, Eileen Auld, see, hear, feel and know that the purpose of my life is to shine brightly, move freely and share abundantly"
This was a tool I learned while attending a Tony Robbins Leadership course, many years ago ... had kind of forgot about the moving freely bit!
|The Auld yins|