Today was the day of the much anticipated cruise through the gradually narrowing Rhine River Gorge. We docked this morning in Rudesheim. This middle Rhine section, know as the Romantic Rhine, is by far the most beautiful, another listing by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Rudeshiem lies directly on the Rhine below literally hundreds and hundreds of acres of vineyards on the mountain slopes above.
We rode a mini-train (Cullen would have loved it!) into the historic area to begin a gondola ride up the mountain, the vineyards as far as the eye could see, lay like a carpet below us. In spite of the haze, it was a beautiful river view.
At the top was a Germanic monument, an enormous statue of an extremely Teutonic lady sitting upon a throne brandishing the imperial crown. It was erected in 1883 to celebrate the unification of Germany following the defeat of France in 1870-1871.
Then we proceeded to a Rudeshiem wine cellar for a wine tasting. It was HIGHLY entertaining–more than we expected. There we sampled three of the locally produced Rieslings, while listening to a colorful presentation by the host. It was an unexpected, fun time.
The four of us strolled down the street and purchased German Christmas ornaments. Realizing it was probably time to head back, we exited the shop, looked to the right only to see the mini-train departing. Whoops! Miscommunication. A lady called down to the ship and the mini-train returned for our “personal” escort back. It pays to read the schedule more closely!
After lunch, it was castle time. We situated ourselves on the top deck and settled in to relax and enjoy the cruise through the gorge, viewing the 30 castles of various repair along the way. It was a perfectly beautiful, warm afternoon–ideal for this part of the cruise.
Following dinner, ever in search of evening shots, Charles and I walked along the quay in Koblenz, where we had docked for the night. Koblenz is situated at the juncture where the Mozel River flows into the Rhine. Situated at the confluence, is an impressive monument dedicated to Kaiser Wilhelm I, who resided here once and is considered a local hero. Truly it was a full, but relaxing day.