Friday, 13 May 2016

Gondolas and Riesling

Friday’s port of call was Rüdesheim am Rhein, a picturesque winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

On arrival we were put into a dinky-toy train and trundled through a few streets to a point where we divided into groups of those wanting to visit the Mechanical Music Machines museum and those wanting to take a cable car up the mountain to see the Niederwald monument. We thought we might get a bit more fresh air and exercise in doing the latter and were not disappointed.

It was the first day of rain on our travels and we managed to get thunder, lightening and some chilly rain to add character during this excursion.  The view from the chair lift was stunning and we were able to look down on the riesling vines below, as well as taking in the stretch of the river and our boat docked in the distance.

The monument is a most imposing and powerful representation of its military theme. It was constructed to commemorate the foundation of the German Empire after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. The photo on the right gives an indication of its size in proportion to the people climbing over it.

We decided to partake of the local riesling in the place it was grown and headed for the kiosk at the top of the hill. It lived up to the hype.  We were most amused by the regimentation even in this casual outdoor setting and couldn’t resist taking a photo of yet another set of rules!

The rain bucketed down for a bit and, with lightening continuing, the gondola operator decided to close it down until it was deemed safe to use.  We looked at the long line of people, thought about the cute shops and coffee waiting below, and decided to forget the ride and hike down the mountain. It was a fun walk through the vineyards and although a bit damp we were very pleased with ourselves when we reached the bottom at the same time as the person in the front of the gondola queue when we left.

Our boat people had organised for us all to meet and enjoy a local coffee - Rudesheimer Kaffe.  This turns out to be similar to Irish coffee but with brandy instead of whiskey. Great way to warm up after our brisk walk downhill in the rain.

Also got in a wee bit of shopping and a small something was packed and posted home to NZ from here.

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