Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Day 4 Part 2 - Middle Rhine, Rudesheim

Taken in the park.  Wine cask is to mark an important industry in this area.
Waiting for us at the dock was the Vallendar.  It is nothing special -- one large room on the first deck with very large windows, lots of tables and chairs and the bar.  Upstairs was an open deck with some shade where you could also sit. 

It was planned out so that we had our meal -- wiener schnitzel, a few French Fries, frozen mixed vegetables, and a prepared frozen sundae with some whip cream and a drop of chocolate on top (certainly nothing near to the standards we have become accustomed to) -- before we reached the Middle Rhine.  I did have a nice chicken breast with herbed butter, the fries were hot and the sundae good so I didn't really complain about the food.  I figure they had less than a week to arrange the required 2 boats for the people changing ships so at least we got to see everything from the water.

The Middle Rhine is the area that was certainly the most interesting and beautiful area and familiar to most people.  The castle at Backarat is the one photographed from a helicopter and used in the Viking ads.  Must admit that seeing 24 castles in a short period of time meant that by the end of it most people were very blasé about them.  Know I was reaching that stage. 

Was surprised to learn that many of them are now private properties and several made into exclusive hotels.  Beside one castle there is a gravel pit that was given to the Netherlands and there are continually ships travelling between the two stops.  Andrea has a good picture of that but I stayed inside so many of my pictures have the reflections in the glass.  She used her iPad and camera so maybe one day we will get all the "good" pictures together.

But there are many towns along the river and many have their own claim to fame -- mostly for the wine they produce.  Most of the slopes are over 40 degrees so all the work must be done by hand.

There is something in this rock that makes it glint like gold but they have been unable to discover why.  Recently some teenagers had to be taken down from the rocks after an expedition to find the gold.

Something to also be noted is that Germany has marked every kilometer of the river starting from its start.  Each 100 meter has it's own sign and there is another for the 500 meter mark.  Makes it easy when taking pictures to get one of the mile markers and you can tell where it was taken.

How would you like to go camping here?  Those are wine grape fields in the background.


The sign above is while approaching the rock outcropping that has inspired so many tales.  The river does take a sharp turn at this point and is at it's narrowest so I can imagine that a moments inattention could lead to disaster.  No need for an excuse of a woman singing.

An indication of how sharp the turn is and the signals used to keep the boats in the proper channels.  Of course, the signals are all automated now and run by a third of those previously required.

A nice part of the trip was that Andrea's husband was working midnights so at quiet times he was following us on Google and advising her as to what was coming up.  Like to avoid the castle in the middle of the river.    (Picture was taken once we were safely passed.)  Made him a real part of the trip and considering all the work he put into it I was glad he had the chances to connect.  Text messages went through fine but everything else was non-existent.  Sorry I hadn't brought my own phone but would have been just one more thing to keep track of and keep charged. 

Nice finish to the trip was that the Vallendar tied up right beside the Idi and we just had to walk the gangway.  Because Nick and Sondre are normally on that ship they had co-workers holding the letters of "Welcome Home" while standing on the higher level.  We were greeted by the Captain and hot towels and grape juice so it felt very nice to be there.  Hope the other passengers did as well moving to the Kavsir.

Another time of unpacking and settling in before going down for supper.  On this boat we don't get the same choices as on the Kavsir although the food was still to a very high standard.  It was mostly served from a buffet with several different types of bratwurst and traditional dishes.

(Feel like I am missing so many things but I don't have my notes handy and once home couldn't easily transfer from one computer to the other.)

In the evening people could have had supper in the town of Rudesheim or go into town later to walk around.  There was also a glass blowing demonstration at 9 with samples to buy after but we have had enough so had a fairly early night.  The ship left dock at midnight.


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