Coffee and Wine in Rudesheim
Friday, September 15, 2017
I can’t get enough of this massive, wall-to-wall panoramic window in my Panorama Suite aboard Avalon Waterways ‘ Avalon Expression. Every morning, I open my curtains to reveal another amazing tableau on the Rhine River.
Today’s scene: a striking sunrise over the hills and valleys near the famous Lorelei Rock as we made our way southbound towards Rudesheim, Germany. Compared with the colourless grey backdrop of Cologne last evening, the vibrant rays of amber sunshine were enough to make me dress and go up on deck, camera in-hand, to take as many pictures of our beautiful surroundings as I could before these first rays of light disappeared.
Shortly after nine o’clock, Avalon Expression came to the Lorelei – a famously narrow stretch of water on the Rhine. Marked by a massive, 433-foot high vertical cliff face and bookended by several serpentine turns, this portion of the Rhine was known as a deadly and treacherous one in days gone by.
Located at kilometre 554.2 along the Rhine, the Lorelei’s waters are 80 feet deep – some of the deepest on the Rhine. The story behind it goes like this: sailors traversing these waters were so entranced with a beautiful young maiden (Lorelei) that they ran their ships aground on the rocks and were never seen again, victims of her beauty and the lure of her siren-song.
Now, one man – the young Prince Palatine – was so enamoured with Lorelei that he had to see her for himself. His “passionate yearnings” were not returned, and he met the same fate as the sailors.
His father, the Duke Palatine, climbed the cliff to avenge his son’s death. Legend has it that in order to escape to safety, Lorelei threw her necklace from the cliff into the waters below, which rose up and carried her away. No word on how the Duke reacted.
An alternate theory, proposed by yours truly, is that this just happens to be a really tricky stretch of water that modern technology and communication has managed to make navigable. Your pick.
As we cruise southbound along the Rhine this morning, a look at what’s happening today aboard Avalon Expression, courtesy of the Avalon Waterways Daily Newsletter:
- 6:00-7:00am: Early Riser Breakfast (Lounge).
- 7:00-9:00am: Full Buffet Breakfast (Restaurant).
- 9:00-10:00am: Late Riser Continental Breakfast (Lounge)
- Noon: Light Lunch (Lounge)
- Noon: Full Buffet Lunch (Restaurant)
- 1:00pm: Avalon Expression arrives in Rudesheim
- 1:30pm: Included Feature – Visit of Rudesheim
- 4:00pm: Mini-train ride back to the ship
- 4:00-4:45pm: Coffee & Cake (Lounge)
- 4:45pm: All Aboard. We sail for Miltenberg.
- 6:45pm: Port Talk – Miltenberg (Lounge)
- 7:00pm: Dinner (Restaurant)
- 7:15pm: Panorama Bistro (Lounge)
- Afterwards: Evening Entertainment with our onboard musician, Titi. (Lounge).
- 9:00-10:00pm: Happy Hour
- 10:30-11:00pm: Late Night Snack
As it turned out, Avalon Expression was alongside at Rudesheim shortly after noon, and at 1:30pm, we set out on a preview of another excursion that will be offered beginning in 2018 on Avalon’s new Active Discovery on the Rhine river cruises: a hike, gondola ride and wine-tasting.
Located at Rhine kilometre marker 526.7, Rudesheim is one of the most famous cities in Germany’s Rheingau region. It’s known for its Drosselgasse – a pedestrian-only street filled with nothing but shops, wine bars and taverns.
I was last here way back in 2013, when we stopped to visit the Christmas Markets that line the streets in December. While the streets are far less chaotic in September, make no mistake about it: Rudesheim is popular with international and local German tourists alike.
All the better that our Rudesheim Hiking & Wine Tasting excursion would be taking us away from the crowded tourist center, up to the famous Niederwald monument perched on the hillside high above the town. And to get there, we’d take a picturesque cable car journey over the local vineyards.
Hopping aboard the Seilbahn Rudesheim at the uppermost reaches of the town, where Christopelstrasse meets the Oberstrasse