Rhine Valley and Rudesheim

After breakfast we sat upstairs on lounge chairs on the sky deck.  It was a beautiful sunny day as we cruised through the Rhine Valley on the Rhine River, Germany with green hills and quaint villages, castles sitting atop high cliffs, steep sloping vineyards and steepled churches on either side.  The Rhine River starts in Switzerland and ends in the Northern Sea.  This stretch of 60 miles between Koblenz and the Main River is called the Romantic Rhine and is designated a UNESCO world heritage site. The 80 castles were all built in the Middle Ages, the 12th or 13th centuries.  The villages are quaint but isolated, residents have to commute to Koblenz or Frankfurt.  Also there are lots of noisy trains passing all the time but they are essential for industry.  The river is pretty clean and people swim and fish in it.

After lunch we docked in the small town of Rudesheim where we boarded a little choo choo train which took us to the centre of the old village.  Some of the passengers went on a cable car and the rest went in the Siegfried Mechanical Museum.  It houses a fascinating private collection of automatic mechanical musical instruments.  A guide took us into different rooms of the old Bromserhof house with frescos from the 13th century and played several of these unusual instruments, showing how they work and where they were played.  Afterwards we strolled around the cobblestones streets looking at the shops, ending at a restaurant for a demonstration and tasting of a special Rudesheim Brandy Chocolate coffee made in special cups with whipped cream.  We wandered through the town and a park back to the ship.  We discovered that the sky deck will be closed for a least the next 2 days, maybe longer, as it wont fit under the bridges on the Main River unless they take down the upper deck.