Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rhine River Valley, Germany

Day 2 of being in Germany and Day 1 of guided tours began with a 6:15 wake up call.  One thing I learned about group travel from this trip is that there is very little leisure time, or sleeping in.  
Since we were now in Germany all of our traveling was done on bus.  We hit the autobahn bright and early and also hit a major traffic jam.  Before going to the country we had, of course, heard about the autobahn and how there was no speed limit in certain sections of the roadways.  Our tour guide told us this reputation is one that shouldn’t stand up.  In Germany the autobahn is referenced as the biggest parking lot because of all of the traffic jams that happen due to road construction or wrecks.  Our traffic jam ended up making us late for our cruise department.  We missed out on the first leg of the cruise.

Once we finally arrived on the boat we took in beautiful hills with castles, or remnants of old castles, on top of the hills.  Our tour guide told us some of the old, destroyed castles are being sold for a really cheap price, but when the buyer agrees to the sale they are also agreeing to restore the castle to the way it looked when it was first built.  Many of the castles that have been restored are now homes to bed and breakfasts or restaurants.

Terraced vineyards also rolled down the hills.  This was really amazing to think how people would harvest the grapes on such steep hills.  Pretty wine towns also spotted the countryside we passed.  The Rhine River Valley is a huge producer of wine and those who tried out the regional wine said it was delicious.  Finally, toward the very end of our picturesque cruise we passed the Lorelei rock, which is rooted to a deep legend.
The Lorelei rock legend claims that a beautiful woman would sing songs to the captains driving boats through the part of the river.  Because of her beauty and singing the captains would become distracted looking up at the rock and crash, sinking the boat and killing the sailors.
The Lorelei is the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea.  A very strong current and rocks below the waterline are what have actually caused many accidents.
The Rhine River Cruise was only about 45 minutes long, but every minute seemed to be prettier than the last.  After evaluating our trip, JC and I decided this was one of our favorite parts of the German vacation.  We also decided the Rhine River Valley is a place we would like to return to and stay for a few days.  It was absolutely beautiful!

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