Travel stories: Gardens in Europe, part 4



We began our 8-day river cruise in Amsterdam on a very rainy, cold day. We had chosen Viking River Cruises' "Rhine Getaway" in which the longship Jarl sailed down the Rhine through Holland, Germany, France and eventually ended in Basel, Switzerland.

The ship is long and narrow: 415' long and 36' wide. There were 3 decks that had staterooms on them and the top deck featured a covered sitting area, tables and chairs, a shuffleboard court, 2 small putting greens and the all-important bridge, or wheelhouse, from which the captain of the ship guided us gently down the river. As you can imagine, the scenery was gorgeous! Little picturesque villages on the river banks, vineyards all over the hillsides, and the occasional castle up on a hilltop.

What does this have to do with gardening, you say? Well, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a very nice herb garden on the top deck of the ship! As you can see, the herbs were all growing in attractive planter boxes and everything looked like it was doing great.

The chefs used the herbs in all sorts of things: soups, omelets, sauces and various dishes. I just thought it was so great that they would take advantage of some of the area on the top deck to grow fresh herbs for use in cooking.

In case you're wondering what the ship looked like, I've included a photograph of it to the right. (oh, and as you've probably noticed, I've been wearing a jacket of some sort in most of the photos I've included with these little travel stories. It was unseasonably cold during the first part of our trip, darn it. But as you can see in this photo, as least there is some blue sky and actual sunshine!