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Grand European Tour, Amsterdam to Budapest and Prague.

We arrived in Amsterdam September 17, 2010 and were greeted with overcast skies and drenching rain,  I was hoping it was not an omen,  We were scheduled to leave on the Viking Legend on the 20th for the fifteen day trip to Budapest and on to Prague. The Viking was designed for the rivers of Europe, it is long, 443 feet, and narrow and consists of three levels and a sun deck. It can accommodate 189 passengers and a crew of 45.  I did not realize what was involved to travel these rivers, We went through 67 locks going from sea level  to a high of 1380 feet  and under 600 bridges. We started on the Rhine, at Mainz Germany we caught the Main river and then the Main/Danube  Canal and ended on the Danube.

We were all looking forward to the cruise, our traveling companions, Bill and Kathy Applegate had been to Europe my wife Joan had not. For me it was like a homecoming or a reunion, I spent two memorable years , 1953 and 1954, in Wiesbaden Germany. I was a United States Air Force Photographer and was assigned to  the 3rd Photo Sq. our mission was to provide documentary motion picture coverage throughout Europe, Africa and The Middle East, my job  was to provide still photo coverage.

The Cold War was at it's height and the Berlin Blockade was lifted in 1949. There was still concern that the Russians wanted to over run Western Europe.                      Continue ----------



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 My first assignment was to photograph strategic targets in Northern Germany. These photographs would be used in conjunction with our aerial photos. I would spend weeks at a time in Northern Germany, (The British Sector) including the cities of Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne. This lasted for several months and gave me the opportunity to live and photograph Northern Germany

Wiesbaden was on the Rhine and on weekends we would spend time  in the towns of Rudesheim, Koblenz Bingen and Assmannshausen I was   really curious to see how they looked 57 years later.

The most dramatic change was Cologne, they literally crawled out of the rubble and built a modern bustling city. I have included a link from a low flying U.S. bomber   taken in 1945, it can be found on the Cologne page.  I was surprised that I ended up taking one of the same picture I made in 1953, it is part of the Cologne Gallery. On the Rhine River the development along the river was unbelievable.. The Krone House in Assmannshausen, where we would have lunch and sample the local wines, had expanded  but still maintained it's character. I would have liked to stop for lunch.

It was a great trip and would defiantly recommended it.  I hope you enjoy the imagery and your comments are welcome.

Ted Pappas


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