Monday, July 21, 2008

Germany Trip Report, part II.

Monday, 30 August

Rosie, the girls, Robert and I took a ferry across the river to visit Rudesheim today.  There was once a bridge over the Rhine between Bingen and  Rudesheim, but the Nazis destroyed it just before the end of World War II and it has never been rebuilt.  

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Looking back across the Rhine at St. Rochuskapelle.

We meandered through some charming cobbled streets in Rudesheim.

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At the edge of Rudesheim we boarded gondolas which carried us over vineyards to the Niederwald Monument.  

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Guess who was unhappy that each child had to ride with an adult?

The ride up was peaceful and scenic, affording more great views of the Rhine Valley.  

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Built to commemorate the German victory over Napolean and France in the early 1800’s, the Niederwald Monument sits on a bluff at the curve of the Rhine directly across the river from Bingen.   

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After admiring the view and listened to a recording describing the history of the monument, we walked down through the vineyards.

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Upon arriving back in Rudesheim,  we stopped for ice cream and strudel in a little café.

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Leaving Rudesheim we visited the monastery of St. Hildegart which sits in the middle of some vineyards and serves as the home to some 50 or so Benedictine nuns.  

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We walked into the monastery’s sanctuary and could hear the nuns singing from a hidden transcept.  We stood quietly in the back, mesmerized by their voices.  It was quite peaceful and reminded me of the opening scenes of The Sound of Music.

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Jogi had arranged a wine tasting for us at a local ‘weingut’ (winery) owned and operated by friends of his in a neighboring town.  

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Rosie and Jogi have known this couple for many years, and they served as translators as we toured the winery and cellars.  

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I can’t even express what a privilege it was to sit at a table with this husband and wife, whose life is dedicated to their business, and hear them tell stories of their vineyards while opening bottles and sharing their wines with us.

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As we were enjoying the wine and company of Gertrud and Helmut, the girls sat quietly and played their Nintendo games over glasses of grape juice at a neighboring table.  

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At one point I looked over and saw that Dots had fallen asleep at the table.  Ah, jetlag.

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We left Weingut Helmut Hanka and drove to Burg Schwarzenstein, an elegant hotel and restaurant in a castle high on a hill in the town of Johannisberg (of Reisling fame).  The view from our table was spectacular as the sun set and was still magical even after it was dark.  

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After enjoying a delicious German meal, we rode the ferry back across the Rhine, returning home just after midnight.

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Laura said...

Eloise your photos are so beautiful it makes me want to Go! Right! Now! :)

Liz Harrell said...

What fabulous photos! Your better than Samantha Brown! :)

And I think I spied a man in leather pants in one of those photos. Yikes. :)