Tam Coc Ninh Binh, Vietnam. 2008
The first stop after our castle-viewing through the Rhine Gorge was the town of Rudesheim. On our approach to the town, we passed by...... a few more castles.
Rudesheim am Rhein, as it's known to German's, is one of the most well-known German wine towns. The area has been home to vineyards for over two thousand years. The Roman's initially introduced grape cultivation here; the region's climate and soil are ideal for producing wine.
Overlooking the cozy, laid back town is the Niederwalddenkmal.
This is a monument commemorating the unification of Germany, built in the 1870's and 1880's. It features a thirty four foot tall statue of Germania holding the recovered crown of the emperor in the right hand and the Imperial Sword in the left.
The guided tour part of our time in Rudesheim was at Siegfried's Mechanical Instrument Museum. This museum houses a large collection of mechanical instruments, spanning four centuries of history. In size, they range from the hand-held music boxes to the orchestrion, weighing tons. They've got a unique collection of self-playing violin's and string instruments, including the Hupfeld Phonoliszt Violina, the Poppers Violinovo, and the only known original example of a Hupfeld Violina Orchestra. It's definitely the kind of museum you rely on an expert guide to talk you through the highlights, explain the context, and even "play" the instruments for you. This has got to be one of the most unique museums I've seen.
After Siegfried's, the cruise director met us and offered a specialty coffee tasting, courtesy of Avalon. Rudesheim has their own coffee drink made with Asbach Uralt brandy, and brown sugar cups mixed into coffee. They even use a special cup designed for this beverage specifically. The brandy is flambeed and stirred while the sugar dissolves. A topping of whipped cream and vanilla sugar are added, and a garnish of chocolate flakes are sprinkled across the whipped cream.
As our ship pulled into the dock, I noticed some cable cars going up the hill over the vineyards. So we actually skipped the coffee tasting, and took the cable cars up to the park with the statue of Germania overlooking the river, and the town itself. Even though there was a little rain, the view was spectacular, and the ride over the vineyards was definitely one of my favorite parts of this entire trip. Rather than taking the cable cars back down, we opted to walk through the vineyards and back down to the river before boarding the ship.
There's nothing like walking down ancient stone pathways through a vineyard.
Born and raised in the travel industry, Avery clings to a unique and profound drive to explore the planet's people, their cultures, history and architecture, as well as natural settings, landscapes and ecosystems. Outside of his upbringing in the travel industry, Avery's higher education mainly consists of Environmental Biology and Anthropology; his knowledge in both greatly influence his travel.