Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 11/12 – Koblenz to Rüdesheim

We had a pretty long walk back to the boat, and by that point mom was very tired. We had tried to talk to Dad online, but it was not working very well. We then tried to call him, but the call would not go through. I did call Hunter and he was heading in to work for the day. It’s always great to hear his voice. I asked him to call Dad, because we couldn’t get through. We then tried Dad’s cell and it worked. Turns out the home phone was not working. Back on board, we went to the lounge to warm up with a cup of tea as we had gotten a little chilled. We ended up staying there talking to a number of people who were coming back from town. Next thing we knew it was time for the briefing for Wednesday, and then of course dinner. We sat with a wonderful couple from New Jersey. Dinner was very good again, only 4 courses, Thai noodles, pea soup, stuffed chicken, and the best part – dessert! It was a honey and date parfait that was out of this world. They had live entertainment in the lounge, which was very amusing. You can see the effects of complimentary wine with dinner J The singer they had was excellent. We really enjoyed it. Once that was over we went back to the room to get a good night’s rest.

Day 12 – Castles and Rüdesheim

I have lots of photos of castles, but I can't post them all :)

We woke up around 8:00 am as we knew we would have the morning cruising along the Rhine. They said there would be around 30 castles to view. I wondered if I could just stay in bed and watch them go by! We managed to get up and ready and down to breakfast by 9:00. They were just finishing up with it, but we made it in time. After a warm breakfast we went up to the sundeck. I actually turned right back around to go and get our jackets. It was by far the coldest weather we’ve had. It was done right cold. We sat with a couple from Phoenix and they said this was like the middle of winter for them. We passed castle, after castle. Some are in ruins and others are still being used and they come in all shapes and sizes. One of the most impressive things other than the castles were the vineyards. They seem to line the entire Rhine valley. I guess they’ve had enough cold weather because the trees and vines are the most gorgeous colors. Mom commented that it looks like a patchwork quilt. At 10:30 they came out with pretzels, sausages, and beverages. They also had the musician come up and it became a very lively atmosphere very quickly. I was brave enough to try the sausages they had today with all of the different mustards. They were so good! The pretzel also went well. For a beverage we opted for the hot mulled wine. As cold as it was it really warmed us up on the inside. We spent the rest of the morning looking at the many castles and the beautiful colors. Most went down for lunch, but we stayed upstairs. About 13:00 I was thoroughly cold (it’s also damp today), so we came into the lounge. I ran down and brought up a few items for us to snack on and hold us until dinner. We passed the final castle before arriving in Rüdesheim. We have now docked and have free time until 16:45 and then it’s off to a winery. I am going to head in town to hopefully post this and then come back and venture into town with Mom. I guess my posts are now a little different as I only have access to the internet once a day. More to come!


As you may have seen from my post below, so much for the internet. They only had computers, no plugin for my laptop. I was able to get online to try Skype. Let’s just say a German keyboard is not like those in the US. It took me quite some time to fine the @ symbol and the letters are in different places. This poses quite a problem for a touch typist! At last I figured out how to login and called dad on Skype. He was doing well, but I think I woke him up from a mid-morning nap! I gave up on the computer after about 30 minutes, plus it was time to go and get Mom. I wanted to get out in town a little. We found many shops along the river and Mom bought a “little smoker” by Käthe Wohlfahrt– it’s a little wooden Christmas object that you put an incense piece in and the smoke comes out the chimney. It’s really cute!

At 16:45 it was time to meet the group for our coach trip up to Castle Vollrads for our wine tasting. We were a little concerned that the buses would not fit up these narrow roads, not to mention meeting oncoming traffic. The scenery was again, stunning and the “castle” was very impressive.
We started the tasting in a banquet room that had leather tapestry wall coverings that were 700 years old, black on gold, very ornate. All of the wines tasted were Rieslings. The first was a dry wine (Sommer Riesling) from 2007, but we both really enjoyed it. Our guide was quite amusing as well. We then went up a number of steps to the second level where we entered what I could call a salon that had very unque tapestries inset in frames on the walls. The room reminded me of what it must have been like in the “gilded age.” The second wine was a semi-dry (Kabirnett), which after the first, seemed terriibly sweet, until you took a sip or two more. It mellowed out and was a very nice wine. It was here that they let us in on their closure secret. They no longer use cork to close the bottles, they instead use a glass stopper which is initially covered with an aluminium cap. After opening, the glass piece just needs a slight click and it comes right open. I preserved the flavor of the wine without taking on the taste of the cork. It really is an ingenious idea that will be sure to catch on through the states eventually. The final wine was a late harvest wine, which was much sweeter. It would be great with a sharp cheese. The funniest thing happened during this final tasting. This woman from out group was sitting on an antique settee when the arm broke off! Sure hope it wasn’t a family heirloom and sure glad it wasn’t mom that did it! By then the tasting was over and time to head back to the boat. Of course it was time to eat again. Dinner was very good with Mom’s dessert being my favorite - the bet Peach Melba I’ve ever eaten. I’m not sure how we’re going to go back to the US and not have 4 course dinners each night. The dining room was about half empty as many chose the optional authentic German dinner in to this evening. I’ve had about all the “authentic” German food I can handle! Mom and I have come back to the room to call it a day. We have already left port and are cruising toward Speyer. We will arrive there around 8:30 tomorrow morning and go on a walk tour – maybe. I’m not sure if I’m that motivated. We then leave at 10:30 for Heidelberg. It should be a fun day together. I should be able to post from there. It’s hard to believe that this portion of our trip is nearing an end already.

Day 13 – Heidelberg

(I know these posts are going forward, but this is the first time I've been able to post everything)

We woke up this morning to grey skies and rain. The walking tour into Speyer was at 8:30, so as most of you can imagine, we did not make that. We knew we had a big day to Heidelberg planned. We departed via motor coach at 10:30 and got to ride on the Autobahn. There was a lot of traffic for this time on a Thursday morning. We had some harrowing moments on the trip up to the castle ruins, and by the time we were up there it was pouring down rain. I’ll have to say, mom never missed a step – literally or figuratively. The trip up was well worth it. It was as though we were in the clouds, and I think we actually might have been. The scenery was breathtaking. The castle was started in 1000, but now is mostly in ruins. Much of the castle was destroyed in the 1689 war (I think that’s the date), but neither castle not city was touched during WWII. There was some very uneven terrain, and we had to battle the elements, but this one view from the terrace made it all worthwhile. I think the clouds made it a surreal experience. The hour we spent at the castle site felt like it went by in 10 minutes. It was time to get back on the bus and go into the town of Heidelberg. The whole group had lunch at the Hotel Rittman which is the oldest restaurant in the city. I’m not sure what all lunch was, but it was very good. We sat with two couples, one from PA and the other from DE, who were so enjoyable! Lunch had pork of some sort, spaetzel, and red cabbage. We had this frozen berry dessert. It was great to get dried off and some food in the belly. The rain has now stopped and Mom and I are in an internet café posting. We have to meet the group at 16:15, so I had best finished up.


Hunter said...

The little L loves dessert! Watching castles go by without having to get out of bed is right up her alley! Continue to have a wonderful time. L, H

Anonymous said...

You're near Jon's family winery! They produce Reislings. It is Kafer with the two little dots over the "a." The pictures of the stained glass were beautiful!

S Knell said...

It's obvious you ladies are having a wonderful time!! Thank you so much for "sharing" your trip with us back here at home!