We’ve spent most of the day exploring the river Rhine, starting from Koblenz where we stayed last night, and ending our day in Wiesbaden. It’s been a fairly warm and humid day with the inevitable thunderstorm this afternoon which cleared the air and left us feeling more comfortable this evening.
Our first stop this morning was Rhens, where many years ago I’d stayed overnight with my parents, en route to or from the Alps where we’d spent our summer holiday. Such a picturesque village; we couldn’t drive straight through without stopping for a few minutes to take photographs and marvel at the lovely old buildings.
The succession of castles and vineyards prompted many stops along the way, but there was little traffic on the road and it was easy to slow down, wind the windows down and hang out there with a camera.
We parked the car in a few places to have a wander around. My hero was keen to stop in Boppard, where he’d stayed on a school holiday just a few years ago ( ) and we couldn’t pass straight by the Lorelei (above) without a closer look to see if we were missing something.
Most of the time, we simply ooohed and aaaahed at the glorious scenes around us. Oh, and took a photograph, of course.
When we reached Bingen, we decided to take the ferry across to Rüdesheim, which provoked many happy memories for me. I was particularly keen to visit the Niederwalddenkmal and to walk through the Drosselgasse again. I’d been there a couple of times previously, most memorably as a teenager with Karin’s family and had fond memories of both.
The ferry across the river was remarkably efficient and in no time at all, we were making the ten minute journey and spotting the gondola lift up there to the memorial. My hero decided straight away that he’d drive up there and meet Mary and I at the lift station.
First, though, a spot of lunch was called for, and following a short wander up the narrow – and rather smarter than we remembered – Drosselgasse, we went our separate ways. Mary and I hopped into a small gondola for the peaceful ride through the vineyards up to the summit, whilst Mark went back to the car.
It was glorious up there. So quiet, warm and very clear.
We were quite sorry to reach the summit.
Until we got closer to Germania, that is. I’d remembered the memorial as being very impressive indeed and for a fifteen year old, that was quite something! I didn’t remember it being quite so developed, didn’t recall the terraces and the steps and viewing platforms at all, but all of that made for a great visit this afternoon, for sure. The mass planting of lavender resulted in a heady aroma around those lower terraces and the overall effect was magnificent.
A heroine such as Germania should be just like this. Long flowing locks, standing confidently with sword and crown. She’s a suitable figurehead for the united Germany of 1871 and stands proudly above the most glorious landscape.
What’s more, the thunderclouds were the perfect backdrop for her this afternoon, gathering as they did whilst we were there and causing us to make a quick dash for the car as the heavens opened. Did someone suggest a Wagnerian soundtrack?
We left the rain behind as we drove to Wiesbaden, though it caught us up shortly after we arrived and the heavens opened once again. But thankfully, the rain has passed and we’ve had a pleasant couple of hours in this elegant city, finishing the day in the Paulaner Bierstube.
Who said that we’re leading Mary astray and teaching her bad habits?