August 1st ~ Rüdesheim, Germany and Cruising the Rhine
Rudesheim’s history traces back to the Roman times, as do many settlements along the Rhine River. Famous for their delicate white wines, the steep hills are completely covered in lush green vineyards.
Our first stop is a visit to a 16th century mansion, Brömserhof, that has been painstakingly devoted to displaying mechanical musical instruments, some of which are over 300 years old.
I was a little disappointed in this tour. The musical instruments themselves were fascinating, and lovingly restored, however there were far too many people, in my humble opinion, in each group which made it very difficult to see the individual pieces. We were also rushed from room to room with no time to actually look at many of the items. Such a shame as this is a superb collection and would have been well worth seeing under slightly different circumstances.
Oh well, onward…
With free time to further explore Rudesheim, we chose to take the gondola up to the top of the hill to admire the views and see the imposing Niederwald Monument.
The gondola ride was a highlight of the day for me. The views of the Rhine River, town of Rudesheim, surrounding area, and the thriving green vineyards below us were a real treat!
The Niederwald Monument (Niederwalddenkmal) was built in the 1870’s and 80’s to commemorate the unification of Germany.
Instead of taking the gondola back to Rudesheim, we opted to take a small hike. We felt we had plenty of time before our ship sailed midday, and confident since it was down hill that we would be fine.
Well, we would have done MUCH better if we had taken the RIGHT trail!!!
About half way down, I noticed that we were veering farther and farther away from the gondola. I had remembered seeing others walking down when we were on the way up, and they were right underneath us.
Hmmmm, I knew we had taken a wrong turn somewhere, but we were not sure how or where to get back on track – SOOOOOOO, we just took off through the vineyards (which are very steep by the way) and eventually got back on the correct path.
We made it back to the ship with time to spare…
You can see Niederwald in the far distance on the hill to give you an idea of where we walked from. Just a lovely jaunt…
Our afternoon was devoted to truly enjoying the 40-mile stretch of the majestic Rhine River and all the castles she is known for. This portion of the river is the most famous and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sitting up on the sundeck, soaking up the scenery and ambiance, we were offered cocktails and bubbly. One by one the castles appeared, high up on the hills as we gentle motored up the river. Many were in varied states of disrepair while others had been painstakingly and with much expense, brought back to their glorious beauty.
Amazingly, some are for sale for $1. Yep, you read that right – $1. But the catch is that you must have the funds and means to restore it which could be exorbitant!
We noticed that each vineyard is labeled.
But how about those castles…
Here are a few of my favorites:
Pretty amazing aren’t they???
We also passed by a famous (or infamous) spot on the river. Remember the stories of Lorelei, the songstress who lured sailors to their death? Well, click on the link to find out the origins of this tale. The large rock located at the bend in the river has been named Loreley (German spelling) and a small statue is located at the base.
We docked in Boppard for the evening, but the weather had turned and we chose not to go out in the rain to explore.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the lovely breeze and stunning views we got to experience on our gondola ride to the top of the hill. Such a sense of calm and freedom combined with a true appreciation of the beauty of the area. It sometimes catches me off guard where we will find the most enjoyment.
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