Thursday, 7 July 2016

Our Next Day,

was going to be cruising,


 along a part of the Rhine Valley,

 so bags packed and we were on our way,

 one of the few working wind generators we saw, 

 Gustavo joked that we would see a factory that makes clouds, 

 we almost believed him as we passed this water cooling tower, it really did look like it was a cloud factory,

 first stop,

 Diana's favorite,

 Burger King, but Diana went for a lasagna,

 we passed a few more wind farms,

 if only they all worked,

 soon we were looking at abandoned castles,

 some empty,

 some made into hotels,

 and others are on islands,

 it appears that in times past,

 each castle owner would put a chain across the river and expect a toll to be paid,

 in just our short journey,

 before we boarded the boat we saw so many castles,

but this is not one, it is the entrance to a railway tunnel,

 the coach stopped for us to have a look around the town of St. Goar,

 at this shop amongst others,


 and inside guess what?

 you guessed it, cuckoo clocks,

 before we went inside we noticed this legend that showed how deep the flood waters rose when the Rhine flooded in the past,

 and here we are inside having the intricate mechanisms explained to us,

 we decided not to buy one, so outside for a photo shoot with a Steiff Teddy bear,

 we then had a walk around town,

 it was a bit too cold for ice creams,

 the shops are on a pedestrian precinct,

 but the occasional tour bus,

 drives through,

 we made our way to the waterfront,

 and looked at some of the castles,

 on the opposite bank,

 one of the cruise ships sails past,

 a panorama of the far bank,

 we were lucky in that just a few days ago and in fact up to this morning boat tours were cancelled,

 whilst the floating pontoons could rise with the increased river levels,

 on the banks,

 many of the bankside part of the jetties were still underwater,

 but we were lucky with ours,

so that was a relief,

 a barge makes its way upstream,

 the engine end of it complete with car,

 our boat racing to pick us up,

 a 180 degree turn,

 and we are soon onboard,

 taking in the view,

 as we made our way downstream,

 past the local ferry,

 and some still flooded landing stages,

 there was so much to look at,

 it was just a shame that the day was so overcast,

 a train makes it's way to one of the castle lookalike entrances,

 whilst we relax, 

we were told of the tragic story of Lorelei, the flag at the top of the rock face marks the spot where she fell,

and here she is, to read the story of her death have a look here, 

 along the valley there are many vineyards, but more about them later,

 we passed more castles.

 and towns nestled below them, this one Loreleystadt St. Goarshausen,

 this was all thirsty work,

 as we rounded the next bend, another castle came into view,


 they were on both sides of the river,

 another small town, above it vineyards,

 and near by it's castle,

 everything was just so picture postcard perfect,

 if only it was sunny!

 it was amazing the number of trains that ran past the river, every few minutes another one raced past,
 another cruise boat passes upstream,

 as another train thunders past,

 next some vineyards reach down to the water's edge,

  near to the town of Hirzenach,

 a panorama of it,

 and another train,

 theses are two separate castles, with a dividing wall between them,

 not so this one,

 the next town Wallfahrtskloster Bornhofen,

 as we neared the town,

 we could see that the waters,

 were still making river trips a problem,

 the river nearly up to the top of the bank,

we passed more churches,

in every town or village,

and of course hotels,

speaking of which,

as we passed the local ferry,

we were coming up to ours, Dave had driven the coach to meet us,

and what a pleasant town to spend the rest of the day in,

all set to dock,

but thankfully not at this jetty,

Gustavo was also here to greet us,

and this was our riverside hotel, the Hotel Rheinlust, which if you need to know is,

is a 9-minute walk from Boppard train station and 13 km from Marksburg Castle,

the rooms were nicely laid out,

after checking in we went for a stroll,

along the river bank,

here,

there were more jetties under water,

luckily not ours,

the group had arranged to meet up,

in town,

first a wine tasting,

the shop sells amongst other wines, a special one that is strictly controlled, the ice wine, a little about the wine, we were told that the temperature must be at least -7C for 7 consecutive days and nights, this has to be confirmed by the state weather bureau, only then can the grapes be harvested, being frozen the water is forced out of them making the wine very sweet, this does not happen very often we were given the choice of only 2 years that recently this has happened in, 2015 and 2008, we chose the 2008,

a wine press a tad past its sell by date,

I then found a new friend, wine in a 18 liter box!



we continued our walk,

around the town,

stopping for the occasional picture,

naturally lots of shops,

and a few bars,

we continued around the square,


passing the fountain again,

to a street with a few shops,

there must be a football game soon I guess,

a nice selection of plants and flowers,

we arrived back at the riverside,

and took a stroll,

ending up here,

for a wine,

 and a coke,

we watched as barges,

loaded with cars and tractors sailed by,

some so low in the water,

Diana liked the shape of the ice wine bottle, and here is a little thing about the vineyards here, there is hardly any mechanical harvesting done here, unlike many grape growing areas that are relatively flat where mechanical harvesting can be done, here most, if not all of the grapes are hand picked, very labour intensive indeed, hence another reason for the high price of the wine,

a shower and a change,

and we were out for our evening meal,

tonight a pork dish,

followed by a dance,

which everyone enjoyed,

no end,

I stuck with the wine,

well you know what they say, 'there's no fool like an old fool',

but I changed my mind after a few glasses!

then one of the hotel staff started a karaoke,

which Dave,

and Gustavo gave a great performance at,

well everybody did,

then it was back to the disco,

that went on till late, with the end of that we were all off to bed.


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