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Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween

Today the hospital staff dressed up for Halloween. It was kind of fun watching witches whizzing around pushing wheelchairs! And Marshall was treated by a variety of people today -- Freddie Krueger, Pinky Tuscadero from Grease (she was so cool), a zombie and a skeleton. You couldn't help but smile today.

The palliative care doctor came by today and he said he was putting together the regimen of pain management that we would follow when we leave. He thinks we can leave tomorrow or Sunday.

All bodily functions worked well today. All in all, today was SO much better than the past three days. He is eating again and keeping it down. We still have a little ways to go until we can get the radiation, but it was nice to see him a little relaxed for a change.

Our dogsitter tells us things are fine at home but I can't wait to get there . The hospital is making me as comfortable as possible, but home is better.


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Morning report

During the night, the heavy duty pain medication caused Marshall's breathing to slow down to the point where there were nurses in and out of here all night long. So he is on oxygen now..

Then around 6:00A, he was unable to urinate. They did an ultrasound and found that he had quite a bit of urine so they brought in a "straight catheter" which is inserted to drain the urine and then gets removed. They said that they would give him a few hours and if he still wasn't able to go he would probably get a more long-term catheter. They thought that his inability to go might have been related to anxiety.

Around 10:30 he tried again and was able to go so that was good news. It must have indeed been anxiety.

Now they are working on the constipation. They've tried a whole host of things and about an hour ago they gave him a suppository.

With the pain-med pump he has been way more comfortable but the pain level still stays at a 3 or 4. But he thinks he can manage a 3 or 4 pain level, so we'll see what the palliative doctor says later today. I am still hoping to get out of here tomorrow. The hospitalist wasn't optimistic about that.

I miss my animals.





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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Comfortable at last

They FINALLY got the morphine pump up and running so all Marshall has to do is push a button for pain relief. Now we need to work on nausea and constipation.

Once he goes through a whole 24 hours of monitoring how much morphine he uses (along with a separate drug called Dilaudid) then I think they will send us home with a pain medication plan. I hope that will be Saturday.

He just ate dinner and didn't throw it up (and he hadn't eaten anything for two days), so we are making progress.

Can't wait to get the radiation treatments going and hope that will alleviate the pain and let us do away with this heavy duty opiod use.

We are now sitting here watching TV and using our iPads -- all "normal" stuff -- hoping for a quiet pain-free night.


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We just saw a doctor

Dr. Kamell just came by. He deals in palliative care. He and his colleague spent a bit of time with us asking questions and forming a plan for palliative care.

They want Marshall to stay in the hospital for at least two more days so that they can be sure their plan is working for pain, nausea and constipation. (I just made an appointment with the radiation oncologist at the University for Tuesday at 3:30, so hopefully everything will mesh so that we can spend a day or two at home and then head to Denver with a good plan working for pain control.)

They are going to set Marshall up shortly with a pump so that he can control when he gets the pain meds (thank you, Debra, for that suggestion). Not sure yet what the pain medication is going to be, but we hope it's Dilaudid. They will monitor his usage over a 24-hour period and then set up a medication plan based on his own usage that we can take home with us. They are also going to start a new nausea medication and they will get his bowels cleaned out and start us on a maintenance plan for that.

They said his CT scan did not show anything that we didn't already know except for the extensive constipation that showed up. As Dr. Kamell put it, we can't deal with the bottom end until we get the top end cleared out.

They are going to stop the pyridium (that caused the scary red urine) and they are going to do more blood work today.

So that's where we stand as of noon today.


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Thursday, still at hospital

I slept pretty good last night here in the hospital room. Marshall also had a quiet night but the pain whacked him again this morning around 9:00. He was in awful pain and we called the nurse. We were told it would be another 15 minutes and he couldn't handle that. We managed to get the nurse (Kelly) in here quicker and she gave him more intravenous Dilaudid as well as another lidocaine pain patch on his back. He has drifted off to sleep now.

Kelly said they are going to alternate drugs today. They can give IV Dilaudid three hours apart and they can give Percocet three hours apart so they are going to alternate the two so that hopefully he stays comfortable more consistently.

She told us that the red urine was caused by a drug called Pyridium that was added to his mix of drugs yesterday to either treat a UTI or prevent a UTI. That was a relief. We wonder why yesterday's nursing staff couldn't tell us that.

Kelly also said they have requested a palliative oncologist to come and see Marshall.

So now we are waiting for doctors. And for the time being he is resting comfortably..

More later.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Still working on pain control

When I got here today, around 10:30A, Marshall was doing okay. They had put a lidocaine patch on his back, in addition to the Dilaudid. But around 2:00 the pain was back with a vengeance. So the pain patch only was effective for about 6 hours and it's supposed to work for 12 hours. So around 3:00 they gave him more Dilaudid and in a few minutes he started to relax.

He hadn't eaten at all yesterday and this morning he had a few crackers and some milk in order to take his chemo pill. An hour or so later he threw up. At noon he ate a little bit of chicken soup. An hour or so later he threw up again.

A little while ago he went to the bathroom and had blood in his urine, so they took it to do a urinalysis. The nurse came back later and said it wasn't blood and there wasn't an infection so she assumes it is caused by a medication. Hopefully it will clear up by tomorrow.

Dr. Flaig's nurse just called and said that the University Hospital doesn't work with Parkview so she couldn't send orders here for any blood work that the University would have done today if we had made our appointment. However, she said she was sure that -- except for the PSA -- they would do the same tests anyway. She said to keep her posted.

It is now 8PM and no doctor has been in to see us today. This is quite frustrating. Marshall just told the night nurse how upset he is about not seeing a doctor today. My emotions are sooooooooo fragile right now.

I am going to spend the night here with him tonight. Our dogsitter has agreed to stay at the house as long as we need her.

Hope to have news tomorrow.



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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Update

I just got home from the hospital. He was admitted mainly so that they could get his pain under control, and hopefully to figure out what is causing it. I could have spent the night in his room but I wanted to get back to my animals and bask in their love and support before hearing any more bad news. So I drove the 60 miles home and I will drive the 60 miles back to the hospital tomorrow morning early.

When I left this evening they had FINALLY gotten him some pain relief. He got so many opiods (I think that's the word) today that he won't be able to go to the bathroom for years! But after moaning and calling out in unbelievable pain all day today, when I left he was actually sleeping (they finally got the okay to give him something called Dilaudid). And they had gotten the okay to keep giving him the Dilaudid every three hours. Very hard core painkiller. Morphine didn't work but the Dilaudid did.

They did a CT scan and took blood, but when I left we still hadn't officially heard the results. I heard one of the nurses say that there was nothing remarkable with any of the tests they did, so now what? I guess that means the pain is definitely just the cancer in the bones and he's going to have to live with it until we can get him in good enough shape to get up to the cancer center and get set up for his radiation.

The emergency room doctor suggested that maybe they could transport Marshall up to the University Hospital so that he could be admitted there and get started on his treatment, but I don't know if that idea will fly or not. If they do that, I will have to scramble to get a dogsitter in place....

And I don't know if a CT scan would show fractures or not, but the way he was acting, not being able to take a big breath without lots of pain, I was thinking maybe he had a fractured rib. But what do I know?

I'll post an update tomorrow.



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911

Had to call 911 for Marshall this morning. He had excruciating pain in his left side and couldn't breathe. I just got to the hospital (1:00). Not sure what's going on. Stay tuned.

The good news is that Westcliffe still has an ambulance service!!  They were there in 16 minutes flat.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Gearing up for the Cancer Center

Wednesday is our next trip to the cancer center and the anxiety is starting to set in.  And the pain continues.  And taking oxycodone every six hours has brought on another woe -- constipation -- which finally caused an emergency call to the oncologist today.  His nurse called us back and we worked out a plan of attack!

Marshall has been on the chemo pill for over a week now and today for the first time he said there was a lessening of the pain in his hip.  So that sounds great!

Tomorrow will hopefully be a quiet day and then we hit the road early on Wednesday to head to Denver.  I sure hope his pain continues to let up because I do the driving now and it is awful every time I hit a bump of any kind...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Keeping the pain at bay

Marshall is having some pretty bad pains in his back and the only thing that will relieve the pain is oxycodone. So he's been taking oxycodone several times a day. We've been concentrating on pain relief, laying low and getting rested.

Nothing else to report right now.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Radiation

We got up at 4:45A this morning and headed to Denver for our appointment with the radiation oncologist, Dr. David Raben. He and his associate, Dr. Chad Rusthoven, put up all of Marshall's scans and x-rays and pointed out the "hot spots." They took as much time as we needed and we really liked both of them.

There were two hot spots that they said need attention now. One in the spine and the other in the left hip. Both are places where Marshall has been having some pretty bad pain which has caused him to be on every-six-hour oxycodone.

Dr. Raben is going to talk to Dr. Flaig to see if they think it's necessary to see an orthopedic guy first to check the strength of the hip area before radiating it. He said his opinion is that the area is strong enough to handle the radiation without fracturing but he wants other opinions on that.

Assuming we don't have to see an orthopedic doctor first, we have an appointment for next Wednesday with Dr. Raben to get the radiation areas "mapped" and start preparing for the actual treatments. Then, if everything goes as planned, we will be given our radiation schedule. Dr. Raben says it will be between 5 and 10 treatments (to be determined later) given daily (not sure if that includes weekends or not). So we will just move up to the hotel for that period of time because it is right across the street from the hospital.

If anyone remembers Marshall's last radiation sessions two years ago, you will remember he developed severe radiation colitis which put him in the hospital for three days.  Dr. Raben has promised us that won't happen this time....

Also next Wednesday, we will get lab work done and then we see the Nurse Practitioner to get the results. They want to keep close tabs on the blood counts now that Marshall is on the chemotherapy pill. And I am guessing they will also check the PSA again to see if the chemo has had any effect yet.

We asked if getting chemo and radiation at the same time could cause any problems and both doctors said no, that was actually a really good approach.

So far, Marshall has been experiencing EXTREME fatigue, but no other side effects of the chemo have shown up. Let's hope it stays that way. And we are told that the radiation will probably also add even more fatigue to the mix.

Now we move on to our older dog, Marlee. He is deaf and partially blind and he has some doggie dementia. He walks into corners and can't figure out how to back out of them, when he goes outside he can't figure out how to get back in the house, he falls a lot, etc. etc. But he does not appear to be in any pain. We've done a bit of crying over this because it probably won't be very long before we have to make a decision about him. It is heartbreaking. We're going to get him to the vet this week to have her check him out. It just kills us to leave him behind when we are in Denver for long periods of time because we want to spend time with him.

That's the story for today. It was a very long and emotional day. I had to ignore my job today and I thank the gals who covered for me even though they were already being pulled in ten directions.


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Sunday, October 19, 2014

3rd day of chemo

Marshall has now taken the chemo pill for three days (and the prednisone was reduced to 4mg twice a day instead of 5mg twice a day -- I think they may wean him off of the prednisone) and so far the only possible side effect he feels is fatigue.  But he's had that all along with the other medications, too, so not sure if it's the chemo or not.

The pain he was having in his back has let up.  He didn't take any oxycodone today at all.  So it probably was stress related.  He does still have the hip pain when he moves in certain ways.

Tomorrow we need to get up at 5AM to hit the road back to Denver to see the radiation oncologist and find out what our plan of action is going to be.  Boy, I wish we could just say "Beam me up, Scottie" for these trips to Denver!

Tonight we got on the internet to see what rent costs are in Denver so that maybe we could rent an apartment and we could take our animals with us on these trips rather than agonize over trying to get a dogsitter.  But the rents are pretty high so that may not be an option for us.

Through an interesting series of events, we were able to get a second opinion on Marshall's treatment.  Our oncologist is Thomas Flaig.  Dr. Flaig's boss is Dr. David Crawford at the University Hospital.  It turns out that Dr. Crawford knows Fred (my boss).  A few weeks ago Dr. Crawford was coordinating a big charity golf tournament to benefit prostate cancer research and I got a call from Wendy, a gal who works with him.

Wendy and I talked a lot while coordinating Fred's foursomes for the golf tournament and last week when we were at the cancer center Wendy met us for lunch.  She brought Dr. Crawford with her!  So I couldn't resist asking his opinion.  He said he would check Marshall's records and let us know what he thought.

He sent me an email last night saying that he agreed with Dr. Flaig's plan of action but there was one other drug that he might suggest to add to the mix.  He said he would talk to Dr. Flaig about it and they would get back to us.  That was kind of cool.

And it turns out that Wendy is a patient advocate for many doctors and medical facilities so she is going to be a huge resource for us.  She brought us a ton of information when we met.  We were very fortunate to make her acquaintance.

Off to bed -- tomorrow will be a long day.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Radiation and chemo

On Wednesday, Marshall saw the dentist. He worked on the dentures some more and Marshall said they felt pretty good when we left the office but within a few hours -- and after eating lunch -- the pain was back. So we will need to see him again.

This morning he got lab work done and then we saw the oncologist. The PSA is now up to 33. Dr. Flaig brought up the scans taken this week and compared them to the scans taken last month and on the bone scan there is a new area in the mid-back. However, when he looked at the CT scan, that new area didn't show up. He said that CT scans take over a thousand images but they can still miss things.

And there is cancer growing in the left hip area.

Dr. Flaig said that even though the PSA is rising, the progression of the cancer is fairly slow. But he says it is time to move on to new treatments. So we are discontinuing the Zytiga immediately.

And he scheduled us with the radiation oncologist to get radiation on Marshall's left hip. We see him on Monday to get it in place.

Then he said there are three options for going forward:

1. A new drug called Xtandi. Dr. Flaig does not recommend Marshall going on Xtandi because a small percentage of men have had seizures as a side effect and have fallen and fractured a bone, which in his words would be "devastating."

2. Old-fashioned chemotherapy (docetaxel) by infusion. Dr. Flaig does not recommend this either because he thinks Marshall has weakened over the past 2-1/2 years and that this type of chemo would weaken him more and make it more likely that he might fall.

3. Chemotherapy by pill (cytoxin). This is what Dr. Flaig recommended, so we are starting cytoxin tomorrow. He said that compared to the docetaxel, the cytoxin is a VERY low dose and the side effects should be minimal. He also said that the cytoxin works in about 40% of men. Marshall will be monitored every three weeks to check his blood counts and kidney function.

So we went to the pharmacy at the hospital and got the cytoxin prescription filled and we had to pay $181. Good grief.

We talked to the doctor about the excruciating pain Marshall has been having and he said that the way Marshall describes the pain it sounds muscular to him. He recommended taking 2 oxycodone every 6 hours and seeing if the pain lets up over the next few days. I personally think the pain could be related to stress (he's been worried about this visit for 5 weeks). I think it will let up now that we have a plan of action.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Scans are done

We got to the hospital at 9:30 and by 1:30 his scans were all done and we headed back to the hotel.

As usual, they had a tough time finding a vein for the port and he had to be sent to the experts who use a computer of some sort to locate a good vein. He was in a much better frame of mind than he usually is for these scans, but he still has a lot of pain so he was taking Ativan and a muscle relaxer, as well as 4 Advils every 4 or 5 hours.

Tomorrow is the dentist and it's not till 11:45 so we get to sleep in and then we will have the afternoon free.



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Monday, October 13, 2014

Getting ready for tomorrow

We made it to Denver and are in our hotel. Trying to stay calm while waiting for tomorrow's tests. Marshall has been having LOTS of pain and has a swollen area in the left part of his back. Scary.

We need to be at the radiology department tomorrow by 10:00A so that he can get prepped for the various scans and tests. We should be done by 2:00.

We will try to relax the rest of the day. Wednesday is the dentist appointment. The dentures just aren't working out and Dr. Dhawan has stayed in touch with us to have Marshall come back in and try to figure out what's going wrong.


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Back to Cancer Center

We will be there all week to see where we stand and what we do next. Keep Marshall in your prayers.


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Friday, October 10, 2014

We are home!

The trip home was very long and very tiring. We put our luggage out at 6:15A and then the Viking bus took us to Budapest Airport at 6:45A. The airport was gorgeous and was like a huge high-end shopping mall. All kinds of designer shops. I enjoyed browsing (and yes, buying...)

There was a wheelchair waiting for Marshall and they got him seated on the plane. When we got to Frankfurt, Germany, there was supposed to be a wheelchair there for him as well. But there wasn't. The people in the wheelchair area were extremely rude and kept saying "Sit! Wait!" We approached them every 15 minutes or so because we were getting close to time to board the plane. And each time it was "Sit! Wait!" But finally they called us up to get on one of those golf cart type vehicles and we got a lecture from the driver about "Too many people need wheelchair, not enough wheelchair, not our fault if you miss plane," etc.

When we got to the plane they had just finished boarding so we made it but it was close. Very stressful. It was a 10-hour flight and we didn't get much sleep. When we got to Denver we got through Customs easily and quickly so that was a relief.

Then we had a 4-hour drive from the Denver airport to our house. And we were EXHAUSTED. We slept for hours and we are still tired.

It is good to be home! What a great trip!




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Monday, October 6, 2014

Budapest, Day Two and a Half

Photos of our favorite shipmates and photos from today's 3-hour tour with a wonderful driver who was full of fun and serious information.
June and Ted from Britain.


Phil and Yvonne from Scotland.

Our hotel - Le Meridien

Hotel restaurant.

Budapest has many spas -- our driver told us this was the largest hot water spring spa in the world and people come from all over to "take the water."

Hot water springs spa.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Heroes' Square.  Two soldiers are on guard at all times.


Marshall and me in front of the Parliament building.  Incredibly beautiful.
 
These Budapest photos were all taken on the Pest side of the Danube River.  The driver then took us to the Buda side but the batteries in my iPhone died and I couldn't take any photos over there.  I was SOOO bummed.  The views and the buildings were very different from Pest and I would have loved some photos.

Budapest, Day Two

Yesterday I walked all around the hotel.  Many many shops, but they are all designer shops (Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, and scores of others) so I didn't go into any of them.

The Harley store was 2-1/2 blocks away, so I got over there and bought more shirts and other Harley paraphernalia.  We wanted shirts that said Budapest.  There were a whole bunch of Americans in there asking for shirts that said Budapest.

Then Marshall and I walked up and down the shopping district.  There was a Starbucks at one end (you know I love my Starbucks...) and the Starbucks took Euros, Forints or US Dollars, so I didn't have to worry about exchanging any money. 

We got back to the room and tried our best to watch TV, but it was beyond our abilities to figure out how to use the TV.  (We didn't have any luck getting on the internet, either). And we were honestly so darn tired that we took a nap that lasted all night!

This morning we went down for breakfast and then over to Starbucks.  We figured out the TV and the hotel helped us get on the internet.  In about an hour we leave for our 3-hour tour of both sides of the city.

Here are some representative photos so far:
Budapest bridge at night



Across the street from the hotel.

Fair across from hotel.
 
Tomorrow morning we leave for the airport and on our way back home.  May post pictures tonight of our tour today around Budapest (now that we have command of the internet once again!!)
 
 
 
 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Budapest, Day One

We docked in Budapest at 8:30 this morning.  The entire boat left the ship for a tour of the city.  Marshall and I stayed here because we have two more days here and plenty of time to explore with a taxi driver.

Last night Marshall was in pain again so we missed the Captain's farewell dinner.  One of the cabin stewards brought us a tray of food, bless her heart.  This morning he felt better and we are keeping the Advil coming so we stay ahead of that pain.

I needed another suitcase to bring back my purchases so I talked to the ship's concierge and just two blocks away is a shopping district.  So I spent an hour or so shopping.  The currency here is Forints and 300 forints equal 1 US Dollar.  My suitcase cost 46,000 forints.  It felt weird signing that credit card receipt.

The little shopping district was adorable so I am including photos.  Also, at every stop we make another ship shows up with big red lips on the front.  That ship is behind us today right off of our verandah.  Cute.

I am now packing.  We leave the ship tomorrow at 9AM to go to our hotel.  We hope to find another Harley dealer here.
Shopping district

Shopping District

Shopping district

This is one of the views from our ship.  I have no idea what this building is but it is HUGE.

Lips boat.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Vienna, Austria

Today there were several tours, but we have kind of been discouraged from trying to take the tours because Marshall just can't walk very fast or very far without resting.  So we got up this morning and Marshall said, "I wonder if there's a Harley dealer in Vienna". We got on the internet and found the address for Fischer Harley and we asked the ship's concierge to arrange a car for us.

We got a wonderful taxi driver who first took us for an hour's drive through Vienna and pointed out buildings of interest.  The city is just filled with ancient castles and other buildings that are hundreds of years old sitting next to modern buildings that are recently built.  The driver was so informative.  We took a lot of pictures.

Then he took us to the Harley dealer and we spent 30 minutes picking out t-shirts for us and for grandkids.  We arrived back at the ship at the same time as one of the tour buses and as people got off the bus and saw my Harley shopping bags, we were the center of attention.  It was amazing the people who would have rather gone to the Harley store than the tour they were just on.  So a bunch of our fellow passengers ran to the concierge and arranged their own car to go to the Harley dealer before we sail later today.  Cool!

Tonight is the Captain's Farewell Dinner and tomorrow we will be in Budapest.

Vienna

Vienna


Vienna

Fischer Harley Davidson, Vienna, Austria

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Melk, Bavaria


Last night Marshall was in a lot of pain, so he took an Advil+oxycodone combination and went to bed.  This morning he felt better so we assume he just overdid it yesterday.

We docked in Melk, Bavaria this morning and I took the tour of the Melk Abbey and then walked back to the ship through the tiny town.

We left Melk at noon and began the most scenic part of the entire cruise – castle ruins along the Danube.  This is kind of what we expected the entire cruise would be like.

But today was exciting.  All of the passengers were on the Terrace taking pictures of castle after castle, as well as colorful towns.  But a few hours of that and we were back to cruising down the Danube looking at lush greenery. 

Anyway, we docked in Vienna this evening.  Most of the passengers left the ship to attend a Mozart concert in Vienna, but we decided we would just have dinner and get rest so we can be up early tomorrow to explore Vienna.  We are going to see if we can hire a driver to take us around for a few hours and point out the sights.

The Program Director on this cruise is a piece of work.  There are several other people on board who are “handicapped” like Marshall and she clearly would prefer that handicapped people sit in a corner and leave her alone.  We’ve spent a bit of time with a couple from Scotland.  The wife, Yvonne, is a cancer survivor and now has some sort of problem with her legs that makes walking difficult.  She uses a cane, like Marshall, and she also brought her own wheelchair.  Her husband is an energetic fellow and handles pushing her around during the tours.

When we were in Regensburg the Program Director told Phil that he and Yvonne were holding up the group and they should consider not going on any more tours.  When it comes to Marshall, she just says, “You shouldn’t attempt” this tour or that tour.  She called our room this evening to ask why we weren’t at the gangplank ready to leave for the Mozart concert because the group was ready to leave.  I told her we weren’t going to the concert.  She said, “Then why did you sign up for it.”  I told her we didn’t.  She insisted we did.  Then she must have looked closer at her list and realized she was mistaken.  Did she apologize?  Of course not.

Anyway, enough of that,  Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with her very much.  We have heard quite a few complaints about her.

Looking forward to Vienna tomorrow…
 

The view of the town of Melk from the top of the Abbey.

On the terrace this afternoon -- the sun finally came out.  Briefly.

One of the castle ruins along the river.  This is where Richard the Lionheart was held captive during the Crusades.  I commented, "Oh, like in Robin Hood!". And our shipmate said, "Yes, but this one is real."
 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Passau, Bavaria


We are now on the Danube River and we are seeing all of the picturesque and beautiful towns and structures that the advertising promised.  It is beautiful.

An interesting fact about the Viking Cruise: there are so many of these Viking Cruise ships on the Danube that there is no room for them to dock at the various cities.  So they tie themselves together.  The first ship to arrive gets the dock, Ship No. 2 gets tied to Ship No. 1, and Ship No. 3 (which was our ship today at Passau) gets tied to Ship No. 2.

So when the passengers from our ship disembarked today for their various tours and sightseeing ventures, we had to make our way through our ship up to the top deck, cross the gangplank to Ship No. 2, walk through Ship No. 2, cross the gangplank to Ship No. 1, walk through Ship No. 1 and then take the gangplank to the shore.  And when we returned to the ship we had to do all of that in reverse.

To make it even more interesting, if Ship No. 1 or 2 has to leave earlier than the other two ships, sometimes when we come back to our ship we see only two ships tied together instead of the three that were there when we left and it can cause a moment of panic (smile).

The highlight of Passau is St. Steven’s Cathedral which is a church that had burned down in the year 1662 and was rebuilt in what they call the baroque style.  This cathedral houses the largest pipe organ in the world, with 19,974 organ pipes.  Marshall particularly likes old churches – and he felt good today – so we decided to make our way to see the church on our own.

It was overcast and raining and it was uphill on cobblestone streets all the way to the church (about a ¾ mile walk).  He did wonderfully.  Halfway there we stopped at a delightful coffee shop for a latte and a short rest.

The church was everything we expected and we spent 30 to 40 minutes taking it all in.  The organ was spectacular.

Then we went to lunch at a café near the church and had a half pint of Hackleberg Urhell beer and when we were finished the waitress called us a cab to take us back to the ship.

Because we are getting close to Vienna, tonight’s dinner was a sampling of the kinds of food we would get in Vienna.  It was delicious.  There were also two musicians in traditional dress – one with accordion -- playing polka music.  This was an unexpected nostalgia trip for me.  I grew up in a German town in Illinois and this was the kind of music that was played at all functions (weddings, reunions, etc.), so I was taken back to memories of my mom and dad and my first boyfriend (who was German).  It was a great evening. 
Playing the Chicken Dance.  The guy on the left did a cute little butt wiggle that I just couldn't capture.

Town of Passau

Heading to St. Steven's Cathedral in Passau

St. Steven's is through this tunnel

Pipe organ at St. Steven's Cathedral

Reboarding the ship at Passau