Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Cruise Down the Rhine

The weekend after our field trip to Kassel, we had another trip planned. This time, the weather was nice and sunny for our day trip to Rudesheim. It turned out to be a very hot day, even though it was beautiful. We had such a fun time with the group and I'm really glad this trip down the Rhine was part of the program for the language course group!

Our first stop was this little park area that had old wine presses and giant old wine barrels. Rudesheim is in wine country (mostly Riesling), and so this won't be the last time you'll see wine related things on this trip.

The town itself is very touristy, but I felt like it was done in a classy way. You might not enjoy living in Rudesheim, but it's not all tacky t-shirt shops and mini golf, like I think of when I think "tourist attraction". Because it's on the water, it had a different feel to it than most of the German towns I've visited in the past.

We got in a long line to board the boat. Most of us filed onto the front of the boat and sat outside, which was great because we got to enjoy the nice sunshiney day, but with the benefit of a great breeze from the moving ship. It was 90 something degrees, so breezes were quite welcome.
Most of us sipped local Rieslings and snapped pictures as we enjoyed the beautiful castles and countryside we passed on our trip. Being on a boat is so relaxing, and I found myself wishing that the trip could be extended just a few more hours because it would have been perfect napping conditions.

 We celebrated Sarah's birthday with a cheesecake from the cafe on board.

We were free to explore after we got off the boat, so everyone took off in search of food. Carson and I plopped ourselves down at the first place we came across and I think we had burgers? I remember just being famished. After nourishing ourselves a bit, we explored the town a little bit. It's very small, but I liked that because it was easily covered in a short period of time.

Christmas store! My mom has one of these and I found myself wrestling with the desire to pick one up too... thankfully prudence won out. I didn't have  the space to bring one home with me, and my wallet was very thankful for that (I'm going to keep my eyes out though and if I see one that's priced well, I'll figure the space thing out).

This street is just beautiful, with old buildings, a narrow cobblestoned street, and grapevines all over. There are wine gardens and restaurants along with a little shopping. Excellent people watching potential.

Trying Rudesheimer coffee. It's a thing here, and in my personal opinion, it isn't worth the hype. There is one that is very fancy and comes out on fire, but a super hot drink on a super hot day just wasn't what I wanted. Maybe it's good that way though,

Some of the group had gone home after the boat ride, but everyone else met at the cable cars to enjoy a scenic ride to the top, over vineyards. It was so peaceful and silent as we rode higher and higher, the perfect atmosphere to enjoy our amazing surroundings.

Photo credit: Jenna's camera. The man who took the picture saw Carson's shirt and immediately began doing the (University of Florida) Gator chomp. It turns out he attended grad school at UF and was vacationing in Europe.

At the top of the hill, we admired a monument that no one seemed to know the meaning of, although it was a very prominent statue. Upon extensive (Google) research, we discovered that it was the Niederwalddenkmal, which is a monument in honor of the German Unification after the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. The monument was beautiful and large, and it has a lovely view from the top.

 In lieu of taking the cable cars, we walked down through the vineyards.

Why yes, we all partook.

A few of us went to a wine cellar for a tasting, and then walked around Rudesheim a little more before the next train arrived.

The yellow drink you see is called Federweisser, and it is new wine that hasn't finished the fermentation process. It doesn't taste like wine and is very sweet.

We piled into the crowded train station to climb on a crowded train back to Frankfurt. Meanwhile we made plans for the next day (stay tuned) and took cat naps after an exhausting but wonderful full day in Rudesheim.

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