The Classic Rhine Cruise - View from the Inside

"We enjoyed a full morning of sailing the romantic Rhine Valley and the Rock of Lorelei."

September 2019 • Jules Verne

We arrived in Cologne on a beautifully warm sunny day and joined our clients aboard the MS Gerard Schimitter; excited for our journey ahead and the wonderful experiences to come.

We visited the impressive Cologne Cathedral, only a few minutes away from the boat. We explored the surroundings of this stunning jewel of German Gothic architecture that can be seen from anywhere in Cologne; it is the tallest Gothic building in the world and its majestic harmony makes it a must-see.

We enjoyed a full morning of sailing the romantic Rhine Valley and the Rock of Lorelei; considered one of the most beautiful river settings in Europe, where you can find dozens of castles, woodlands, vertical vineyards, medieval cities and churches perched on the endless steep hills.

As the sailing had a pleasantly slow pace to it, we relished in the beauty of our magical surroundings; if I ever imagined where fairy-tale writers take their inspiration, I don't have to think much further than this amazing part of Germany. During the age of Romanticism (18th century), this was the place where artists and painters went for inspiration - inspired by the landscape, legends, and good wine…

Talking of legends, the most well-known one is of the Loreley; based on an almost vertical rock which rises 132m above the river. Until the 19th century, the whirlpools and reefs made this passage very dangerous. Legend says that an enchantress with supernatural beauty and a magical singing voice would charm the sailors so they would forget the dangers of this passage and ultimately perish. On clear nights when there is a full moon, the mysterious song can still be heard…

In Rüdesheim, we enjoyed wine tasting at the cave of Adolf Störzel - we tasted three different white wines, all locally produced; a charming setting to learn how wine is produced.

By train we were taken for a panoramic tour of the pretty town, over steep hills and through the vineyards, ending at the Museum of Mechanical Music to discover the history of the many forgotten instruments that have been delicately restored.

Afterwards, we wandered around the town and got lost among its beautiful buildings and narrow streets full of colour and character. We even visited a typical Christmas shop; open all year round, we had the opportunity to purchase a Christmas decoration (on a hot and sunny day in July!).

With more sailing along the beautiful Rhine, we arrived in Mannheim for an excursion to Heidelberg to visit the imposing castle on top of a hill. Our knowledgeable guide discussed the historical details and many interesting facts about the important role this castle and its inhabitants played in the history of Germany. With beautiful facades and stunning views of the city, I felt like we had travelled back in time.

We disembarked in Strasbourg and visited the village of Riquewihr in the Alsace region in France before our flight home. It was a marvellous experience; cruising the Rhine is a fantastic way to explore what is often referred to as the 'heart of Europe'. I felt extremely lucky to pass through some fascinating cities with rich histories and see some of Europe's most beautiful landscapes.

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