Destinations Magazine

I’m Sailing Away on a Rhine River Cruise

By Aswesawit @aswesawit

Dear Luke and Leia,

Hey guys, today I’m sailing away on a Rhine River cruise and will take you along in pictures.

Viking River Cruises Longship Helvetica.

Viking River Cruises Longship Helvetica.

The Rhine River starts in the mountains of Switzerland and winds its way along the northern border until it gets to Basel. It then takes a north turn heading along Germany and France creating an excellent environment for fantastic German and Alsace wine regions. The Rhine, after picking up waters from the Moselle, Neckar, and Main rivers, finally completes its 722 mile-long journey by cutting into the Netherlands and dumping the collected waters into the North Sea.

Breisach / Black Forest

This was my ‘pre-cruise’ favorite stop on our itinerary since I have always wanted to visit the black forest since taking German in High School. From the deep wooded forests to the famous Black Forest Cake,it brought back so many memories from my high school German studies.

Black Forest German clock.

Black Forest German clock.

Sign on a hiking trail in the Black Forest.

Sign on a hiking trail in the Black Forest.

Famous original Black Forest cake.

Famous original Black Forest cake.

Breisach, Germany.

Breisach, Germany.

Colmar

Although we had to take a bus to get there (it’s not on the river), Colmar, in the historic Alsace region of France, was the most enchanting town we visited on this journey with Viking River Cruises. Nana thought that its half-timbered houses and cobbled stone streets have the look and feel of a Disney Studio movie set. It’s easy to believe that the Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” was set there. The town never stopped displaying its charm the entire time.

Colmar, Alsace, France

Colmar, Alsace, France

Charming square in Colmar, France.

Charming square in Colmar, France.

Half-timbered houses in Colmar, France

Half-timbered houses in Colmar, France

Horse-drawn carriage on cobbled-stone streets in Colmar.

Horse-drawn carriage on cobbled-stone streets in Colmar.

Everyone wants to capture the sights of Colmar.

Everyone wants to capture the sights of Colmar.

Strasbourg

Continuing down the Rhine we changed countries from Germany to France and the town of Strasbourg. Strasbourg has beautiful half-timbered colorful houses, a magnificent cathedral, and very charming, picturesque streets. It is also the official seat of the European Parliament.

Quaint Half-timbered house of Strasbourg, France.

Quaint Half-timbered house of Strasbourg, France.

Strausbourg Cathedral de Notre Dame

Strausbourg Cathedral de Notre Dame

Street view in Strasbourg, France.

Street view in Strasbourg, France.

Beautiful reflection in a canal, Strasbourg.

Beautiful reflection in a canal, Strasbourg.

The European Parliament Building, Strasbourg, France.

The European Parliament Building, Strasbourg, France.

Heidelberg and Rudesheim

The town of Heidelberg looks like what I always envisioned for a German city, with tall church steeples, high pitched red roofs, an arched bridge over a river, and surrounded by mountains. We can’t forget the German castles of course, and the Heidelberg castle doesn’t disappoint with its towering view over the riverside town.

Heidelberg Castle.

Heidelberg Castle.

View from Heidelberg Castle of Heidelberg, Germany.

View from Heidelberg Castle of Heidelberg, Germany.

Heidelburg, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany

We spent the evening and dinner in the quaint German village of Rudesheim where Nana helped to provide the entertainment (they played Edelweiss on cowbells!). The village had its half-timbered homes famous in the region but with a much smaller ‘home town’ feel. The food and wine were fantastic and we even had some time to explore the town a bit on the way back to the ship.

Dinner Entertainment in Rudesheim, Germany.

Dinner Entertainment in Rudesheim, Germany.

Traditional German Band.

Traditional German Band.

Cafe at night in Rudesheim, Germany.

Cafe at night in Rudesheim, Germany.

Castles on the Rhine

Most of the next day we spent cruising the historic middle Rhine Valley, watching vineyards go by and seemingly seeing castles on top of every mountain. Many small villages were along the Rhine as well. There are some useful guides for sale that give the details of the banks scenery as they pass with numbered markings visible from the ship. We got to see the famous Lorelei as we sailed past her location.

Castle along the Rhine River.

Castle along the Rhine River.

I’m Sailing Away on a Rhine River Cruise

I’m Sailing Away on a Rhine River Cruise

Small village along the Rhine River.

Small village along the Rhine River.

I’m Sailing Away on a Rhine River Cruise

I’m Sailing Away on a Rhine River Cruise

The Lorelei on The Rhine River.

The Lorelei on The Rhine River.

The 590 marker to locate this village on a Rhine River map.

The 590 marker to locate this village on a Rhine River map.

Braubach – Marksburg Castle

In Braubach we visited Marksburg Castle, which sits on top of a mountain and offers a commanding view of the town and river below. Interesting enough, Marksburg is the only mountain top castle to have never been destroyed. For over 700 years it has been occupied, and now it has the proud honor of being part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Middle Rhine Valley.

Marksburg Castle, Braubach, Germany.

Marksburg Castle, Braubach, Germany.

Chapel in Marksburg, Castle.

Chapel in Marksburg, Castle.

View of the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle.

View of the Rhine River from Marksburg Castle.

Koblenz

Situated at the picturesque confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, Koblenz was in full bloom… Yes, it was hosting the biannual German flower festival, and it was a Very Big Deal. After taking the cable car over the Rhine River we were treated to the spectacular collection of flowers assembled for all to see. Later we wandered around the town and we sat for a while at a fountain, watching the children play in the water and wishing you two were with us.

Cable car across the Rhine River in Koblenz, Germany.

Cable car across the Rhine River in Koblenz, Germany.

Flowers from the German flower festival.

Flowers from the German flower festival.

Children playing in the fountain, Koblenz, Germany.

Children playing in the fountain, Koblenz, Germany.

Relaxing square in Koblenz, Germany.

Relaxing square in Koblenz, Germany.

Koblenz, Germany.

Koblenz, Germany.

Cologne

Cologne, or Koln as it is spelled in German, has a large gothic cathedral overlooking the famous bridge from World-War II. Bombed beyond recognition, the old church still stood, while the rest of the city was virtually leveled. They did pull the bridge back up and rebuilt it, but most of the rest of Cologne is fairly new. They rebuilt it after the war, keeping its original charm and using the waterfront to welcome visitors.

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany.

Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany.

Water front buildings in Cologne.

Water front buildings in Cologne.

Waterfront fountain in Cologne.

Waterfront fountain in Cologne.

Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany.

Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany.

Kinderdijk

Canals, flooding and windmills are the story here in Kinderdijk. Leaving Germany behind, we enter beautiful and flat Netherlands with a final stop on our journey to tour the windmills of Holland. Understanding that most of the Netherlands is below sea level, brings to life the very essence of the windmill and those who dutifully attended their operation for their fellow countrymen. The windmills and surrounding landscape was both photographic and charming.

Flat lands of The Netherlands.

Flat lands of The Netherlands.

Canals of the lowlands, The Netherlands.

Canals of the lowlands, The Netherlands.

The windmills of Kinderdijk.

The windmills of Kinderdijk.

Windmill, Kinderdijk, The Netherlands.

Windmill, Kinderdijk, The Netherlands.

Bedroom within a windmill.

Bedroom within a windmill.

Flat lands and canals that the windmills control.

Flat lands and canals that the windmills control.

There was one cool thing we saw on the way to Kinderdijk that you guys really should have seen. Someone actually built a life-size model of Noah’s ark, complete with animals on board.

Model of Noah's ark.

Model of Noah’s ark.

Every good thing has to end and that includes our cruise. It’s time to get off of is boat and onto some dry land in Amsterdam. We will write again soon.

Love,

Nana and Pap

P.S. – If you have Pinterest you can click the top left of any photos in our story to add them to your Pinterest boards. We hope you find them inspiring.

Colmar, France.

Colmar, France.

Half-timbered building in Koblenz, Germany.

Half-timbered building in Koblenz, Germany.

Charming Strasbourg, France.

Charming Strasbourg, France.

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