Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Rudesheim and the Rhine Valley castles June 4

Today we woke up as we pulled into Rudesheim.  We're docked right next to a pretty park with swans swimming nearby. 

At 9am the 'choo choo train' (as Tamas calls it) picked us up to drive us to the music museum which is just down the street from the tram.  We chose to do the tram instead of the museum.  Great choice I think.  We were in the second, third and fourth cable cars of the day, so we were almost by ourselves for a short while.

We definitely didn't do all that we could to in Rudesheim - we didn't try their specialty flaming coffee, or any beers, or any shops, but then we were only there from nine until noon.  But during that time a friend of Yolanda's arrived and was allowed on board,  Can you believe it?  There is no way in the states that we'd be able to bring a friend on a ship while we were in port.  And they even said she could sail with us to Cologne if she wanted (we arrive tonight at 9pm).  But alas, her car is here in Rudesheim so she couldn't join us.

And since the Captain was the one to grant permission he was the one to let us know that she didn't have to get off the ship until just seconds before we departed.  He is great.  Oh, and it is his birthday today so we (the passengers on the front Sun Deck) sang him Happy Birthday.  Then a bit later on the whole crew crowded into the bridge and sang to him (it was on speaker since we were in the middle of the trip through all the castles on the Rhine.)

Speaking of the castles on the Rhine.  We were in shorts when we pulled out of Rudesheim and for the first hour or so, but then a couple rain drops started....then some more....luckily we'd already seen a bunch of castles.  But Lorelei Rock was coming up when the sky opened up!  Everyone on top scrambled to cover protecting cameras and electronics!  Would be funny except that we all wanted photos.  This was the most photographed stretch of the whole cruise!  We'd been looking forward to it for a week and a half!  And it poured!  But we didn't melt.  Cameras got a bit damp as did we.  And I missed Lorelei.  And it started dumping again. We'd ventured back up top when the rain had stopped, spent another 30 minutes topside before we spotted the most beautiful castle coming up.  And the rain started again.  In earnest.  Dumped, actually.  But again, we didn't melt.  We just jumped into the glass covered atrium and very politely took photos, one at a time, at the one open window.

Now the rain has stopped again, but so have the castles.  We arrive in Cologne at 9pm.  The Captain says he'll do a tour of the city for us, on the river.  Isn't that thoughtful of him?!  

On the tram

over the vineyards

That's Lady Germany up in the upper left - she's about the size of the Statue of Liberty

Most of a family portrait - Yolanda was at the ship meeting her girlfriend

Greg took this one for us

The boys

Mom and Dad getting on their tram - Mom and I are sporting dueling cameras


What a view

Hard at work pruning vines

The River Ambassador - a Uniworld ship

The Captain and Yolanda speaking Dutch - hopefully she isn't talking about me!  (kidding Yolanda!  LOL)

Dad and Patsy sharing their glass of champagne (which isn't champagne if it is German but I can't remember what it's called)

A house decorated with gumballs?

I'll have to update the captions later - Tamas will be giving a list of the castles I think.  I did take notes but.....

Mouse castle?

You have to look very carefully, but this one has an iron cage hanging off the tower - look at it against the sky.  Would you want to hang out in that?

Mom and Dad and Jonie enjoying the view

The only steam powered paddle boat on the Rhine

This one you have to pay a toll before they'll drop the chain or you'll sink

Oops it's raining

Lorelei....but it's pouring so I didn't get any other shots

We still have a great time, even in the rain - we don't look too miserable do we?!

Vineyards go on forever

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