Travelled : The Rhein River, from Arnhem in The Netherlands to Mainz in Germany.
Visited : Linz, Bruebach, Rudesheim, Mainz, Boppard and Andernach
Stayed : On the MS Allegro, cabin 105 to be exact. The Allegro is 110m long, 10.4m wide and carries 144 passengers and crew.
Budget : MS Allegro ‘8 day Romantic Rhein Cruise’ €499 per person (includes coach transfer back to Arnhem). Our room account totalled €90.
We have travelled up the Rhein from the riverlands in Holland, to the mountains of Baveria. The country changes quickly from Cologne to Bonn low hills start to emerge. As we approach Linz the hills rise more steeply and thickly forested.
Life on the Allegro is very easy going. We don’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere and we travel at a leisurely pace. Mind you the water current in the Rhein is amazingly strong and we are travelling upstream so maybe this is by necessity. As I mentioned earlier, most of our fellow passengers are elderly and very nice people although many seemed to be focused on smoking themselves to death. We have been very fortunate, we appear to be the table of whipper snippers, all about the same age. They are very kind to include us in most conversation and speak in English.
The food on the Allegro is very good, the usual buffet breakfast and multi course lunch and dinner. The coffee is fairly ordinary, but the Dutch seem to think Douwe Egbert’s Moccona out of a machine is pretty good stuff. While most of the passengers are elderly they come running when the the dinner bell rings. Mind you the elevator broke down a couple of days ago and this has caused some pushing and shoving on the stairs as the stick people lobby for their turn.
It has taken us a couple of days to adjust to river cruising rather than ocean cruising, which we have done several times before. From our experience, ocean cruising is travelling overnight arriving in port early, visit the town or city and be back on board to depart in the evening. On the Allegro it’s about getting a comfortable spot and watching the countryside glide by. We stop at least a couple of times a day for 2-3 hours then cruise of again for another few hours. The Allegro doesn’t travel at night and we dock in the early evening giving you time to wander some village for an after dinner stroll. We are normally on our way about 6-7am.
The old gate into Linz. Pam is hoping for lots of dress shops and she’s not disappointed. On the right of the photo there are several plagues indicating the flood heights going back to the 16th century.
A typical example of the half timber homes and business in Linz. As you can see the streets rise quickly away from the Rhein. It’s an interesting walk along the laneways, with many of the buildings have their construction date chiseled into the lintel above the front door.
The town square or Altstadt in Linz. Its main feature this lovely bronze fountain. The figures of children have swivelling hands and heads and may have one time been animatronic.
Cruising south from Linz at Koblenz we pass the confluence of the Rhein and Moselle Rivers. On a huge stone plinth, the statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, stands guard on his horse.
A little bit of excitement as Marksburg Castle comes into view. We are told it is one of the few castles left undamaged after WWII.
We arrive in Braubach in the early evening. After dinner we take the opportunity to walk the altstradt. We find this lovely little fountain in the park, an old town gate dating back 600 years in the background.
Interesting little bottle shop we pass walking through Braubach.
Walked passed and thought ‘what’s a condom machine doing out in the main street’, but no it’s something we have not seen in Australia for 20 years a cigarette vending machine.
As we head further into the Rhein valley, the vineyard become more evident. This is Riesling country and Pam (who normally enjoys a Sauvignon Blanc) now keeps telling me, how good the local trocken (dry) rieslings are !
Another castle stands guard over a village on the Rhein.
As we sit and watch the castles go by we play KEEZBORD with our Dutch friends. The easiest way to describe it is Ludo with a deck of cards instead of dice, but more rules than Long Bay Goal.
Here is a busy photo for you. A castle on the hill, which is now apparently a youth hostel, vineyards terraced down the hillside and a car ferry that got very close before slowing and turning behind us.
Standing on a small island in the middle of the Rhein we are not sure if this is a small castle or a very fancy lighthouse, but it’s interesting to ponder over a Grolsh.
We arrive in Rudesheim just after lunch. It’s a very touristy place but it has a real buzz. It is also home to one of Germany’s more famous landmarks.
We take the gondola up the mountain to the monument. €5 pp, thanks. It’s a lovely ride over the vineyard with a spectacular view of the Rhein.
The Niederwald Monument, described in the Lonely Planet as a bombastic monument to German Empire dates back to 1883 (so don’t mention the war). The monument stands 38 metres high, with a 12.5 metres high statue of Germania, the Mother of Germany guarding the Rhein.
From the Neiderwald, a wonderfull view of the valley below and the Rhein.
The Drosselgasse, the most famous laneways in Rudesheim. Full of odd little shops, interesting taverns and some strange architecture.
I thought I’d seen some unusual things, but this toilet in Rudesheim is on the short list.
Going for a walk along the Rhein in the evening has become our favourite pastime. On this occasion In Rudesheim, we find 10 river boats, all at least as big as the Allegro moored for the evening.
We have just finished breakfast as we arrive in Mainz. Mainz was an ancient roman town (13 BC), now the provincial capital of the Rhineland-Palatinate.
While most of Mainz is very modern and contemporary, it’s cobbled laneways and square provide a link with it’s past. The centre piece is the Dom St. Martin built in red sandstone in 1036. So big it’s not possible to get a complete photo on the iPhone.
The walls of the Dom are covered with the most intricate stone carvings. Probably a German thing we suspect.
An unusual coffin in the crypt of the Dom St. Martin.
An example of some of the beautiful old houses that line the Altstadt. As soon as you walk away from the square it’s all Zara and Calven Klein, plus a myriad of phone shops and cafes.
We arrive in Boppard just in time to walk the village and have a drink. The riverfront gardens are beautiful as is Pam.
Another inspiring piece of street art, this time in Boppard. It’s sits on the corner of two laneways near the Altstadt.
There are several grand houses along the riverfront in Boppard. Most are now hotels, but this one dated 1800 has held out.
It’s been a wonderful experience cruising the Rhein and quite unique to anything else we have done to date. But we are looking forward to being back in the Hymer exploring more of Germany.