Rhein, Sundays

Sky sailing over vineyards on the Seilbahn…

We had great weather over the weekend, so I told Bill that, in no uncertain terms, I wanted to venture out and do something fun and unusual. Originally, I had given thought to visiting the Kubacher Kristallhöhle (Crystal Cave), here in Hessen. It’s about an hour’s drive from our home in Breckenheim. I love visiting caves, even though they can be hard work to explore. Touring the Kubacher Kristallhöhle is potentially a strenuous activity, as it requires going up and down a lot of stairs.

I don’t know if it’s as hard as the Laichinger Tiefenhöhle, a cave near Stuttgart that we visited in 2017, but I do know I’m six years older now, and not as fit. ;). The Laichinger Tiefenhöhle legitimately kicked my ass. I got sick with a cold after our visit and spent the week in bed. Since Bill has to go away this week, I thought it might be better to do something potentially less taxing. Plus, again, we had beautiful weather. That’s when I decided we needed to visit the beautiful vintner town of Rüdesheim am Rhein.

We last visited Rüdesheim in early April 2019. I remember it was a chilly day, and there weren’t a lot of tourists there, although it was clearly a very touristy place. I wish I had read my earlier blog post about this town before we went there yesterday. I see that we, once again, missed seeing the torture museum. 😉 But Google tells me it’s closed now, anyway. Oh well. Interestingly enough, I see there’s a very primitive looking Web site for the museum that still lists prices in Deutsch Marks!

We arrived in Rüdesheim at about 1:00 PM or so, just in time for lunch. When Bill headed for the Seilbahn, the reason we visited, I said I thought it might be a good idea to eat first. Although I felt pretty sure there would be food on the hillside where the “skyride” ends, I figured there would be less choice. And I know from too many prior experiences that I need to eat before I try to do anything ambitious. 😀 I saw an inviting looking menu at the Wirtshaus Drosselmüller, a no frills place on the main drag.

We walked into the restaurant and had a seat on the rear balcony. A waitress in a Dirndl took our order– Hefeweizen and fried chicken with pommes for me, and a Helles and Bierbrat with beer sauce, potato dumplings, and cole slaw for Bill. After a leisurely lunch and potty break, we were ready to fly.

Off we went to the Seilbahn. By the time we got there, it was about 2:40. The attraction closes at 7:00 PM, which meant that we probably didn’t have enough time to do the most expensive “tour”, which at 22 euros a person includes a round trip ticket on the skyrides, a visit to the castle, and a short Rhein River cruise. You can buy your tickets at the office, or at an automated machine. The cars only take two people at a time, but you can also bring your dog. I’m not sure Noyzi would fit too well in the Seilbahn, as big as he is! Bikes cannot be transported on the Seilbahn.

Next time, we’ll have to arrive earlier to do the “Romantic” tour that features the works, because after yesterday’s ride on the Seilbahn, I am sure to want to do it again. Yes, there was a line, but it moved fast and was such a fun and relaxing ride, soaring over the grape laden vineyards. I got lots of pictures. I also got a short video, which shows the magic of the Seilbahn and the beautiful views of the Rhein Valley.

When we got to the other side of the field– the Niederwald– sure enough, there was a snack bar and restaurant. There was also an overpriced toilet… one euro! What a rip off! 😉 Nevertheless, there’s a beautiful view of the Rhein River and Rüdesheim, as well as the majestic Niederwald Monument, which was built between 1871 and 1883 to commemorate the Unification of Germany. It’s a very impressive statue that overlooks Rüdesheim and makes for a great photo opportunity.

As we were strolling around the Niederwald, we passed a little souvenir stall where they were selling signs with names on them. Bill quipped that he doubted he’d see one for one of his three grandchildren. Just then, I opened up my phone, and noticed a “Happy Labor Day” greeting from Bill’s daughter. In the email there was a photo of her, smiling and pregnant. She’d been keeping the secret all summer that her fourth child is well on the way and will arrive in February! I told Bill, who immediately got emotional. Somehow, getting that news in such a lovely place made it all the more special. The funny thing is, we’d both had a hunch that she might be expecting again.

On the way back to the Seilbahn, we stopped for a celebratory glass of Riesling…

After about an hour of walking around the Niederwald, we decided to head back. We definitely could have spent more time there, though, had we planned better and arrived earlier. The forest offers plenty of opportunities to wander, and like any good German tourist activity, it’s very well appointed with clean (but overpriced) toilets and refreshments. I’m so glad we decided to visit yesterday and finally try the Seilbahn. Below is a video I made of our day… It includes the Seilbahn and a pass through the famous Drosselgasse, where there is a Glockenspiel.

Yesterday’s excursion…

It was definitely a lot more crowded yesterday, during our visit, than it was when we last came to Rüdesheim in 2019. There were plenty of souvenir shops, restaurants, and tourist activities open. I also saw lots of hotels. I mused to Bill that it didn’t seem like the town should be able to support so many hotels, but I guess with so many cute hamlets, Vinoteks, and the Rhein River, people find plenty of stuff to do. I know cruise ships often pass through Rüdesheim. I think I saw a tour yesterday, which is kind of weird to me. It’s strange to live in an area where cruise ships frequent. Anyway, a lot of people were out and about and having a good time!

I don’t know when we’ll get to this town again, but it’s definitely worth a visit… even if the public toilets weren’t working, and even if the birds used our car as a toilet. Pro-tip, don’t park under the trees in the parking lot!

Bill has to leave for Bavaria today, so I will be hanging out alone this week. Hopefully, next weekend, we’ll have good weather and good health. I look forward to another exciting excursion in the Rheingau and its environs. It’s time we did some more exploring, before it’s too late.

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Another week of not much to report…

This time of year, especially during a pandemic, is for the birds. The weather is wet, cold, and yucky. Add in the crazily contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, and Germany’s ever changing pandemic rules, and it’s tough to keep a travel blog going.

We did have a couple of fun developments this week, though. The less exciting one is that Noyzi and Arran got baths yesterday. That may not seem like a big deal, except that it was only Noyzi’s third bath in his lifetime, and he’s already about three years old. He was getting kind of stinky. I keep watching dog grooming videos on YouTube, and the groomer is always talking about how important it is to groom one’s pets. I decided that it was time for Noyzi to get a bath, and we decided to bathe Arran, too. Now, both of them smell much better, and Noyzi’s coat is all soft and shiny. He likes baths, too, so that’s a good thing. I would hate to have to wrestle him in the tub at his size. He’s a big boy. Incidentally, Noyzi loves to watch dog grooming videos. He’s as fascinated by them as I am, although for different reasons.

The more exciting development is that my husband’s daughter found out that she’s expecting another son in a few months. She announced the gender in a really cute way… using pink and blue ice cream cups. I know she’s excited, as are Bill and his mother, who were kept out of her life for many years. I am excited too, I guess. I knew she was carrying a boy, just like I knew she was pregnant before she announced it, just because Bill had said she looked like she was glowing on a Skype call back in September.

I’m feeling a little down today, for a lot of reasons, so I’m going to keep this post short. I hope next week, I’ll be a little less depressed.

Apparently, she’s been craving pickles a lot.

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