Thursday May 13, 2010

Early this morning, while we were still sound asleep, our ship docked in Koblenz at the joining-point of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. But, by eight o’clock, armed with our warm-layers, raincoats and umbrellas, we went ashore to check out this town’s romantic streets and Old Quarter (badly damaged in WW2, then subsequently rebuilt). There’s history here stretching back 2000 years, and we were quickly captivated by its cobbled streets and distinctive architecture. One small disappointment: it was a public holiday, and most of the locals had yet to wake up.

We got back on board by mid-morning, and set sail along what is probably the most famous and most scenic stretch of the Rhine Valley. It was too chilly to stay for long up on the top deck, but the panoramic views we enjoyed from the ship’s comfortable lounge were simply fantastic: castle after hilltop castle … steep (almost vertical) terraced vineyards … attractive riverside villages … ornate stately homes … It just went on and on, and our cameras were almost smoking!

For the final highlight of the day, the Amadeus Elegant docked in another picturesque old town – Rudesheim – where we rode the Winzerexpress (tourist-train) up to the Droggelgasse (centre of town) and spent a delightful hour marvelling at the audio-ingenuity of long-gone centuries in a unique museum: Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet ….

An excellent time was had by all? You betcha!

PEOPLE NEWS: Things are heating up in the nominations department …

* The ‘Wrongful Arrest’ Award goes to Val – who’d left her camera behind in the Indonesian restaurant we’d eaten at recently. No effort was spared to recover the item, including several phone-calls and a 70-Euro taxi-ride back to the restaurant. Then, today, Val discovered the “stolen” camera in her handbag!

* The ‘Sound of Music’ Award goes to Sharon – whose cell-phone alarm-clock has been waking her and her cabin-mate at two o’clock, three o’clock, five o’clock in the morning … on one occasion even playing the tune Edelweiss.

* The ‘Little Miss Muppet’ Award goes to Joyce – whose earpiece (which we all wear when we’re out sightseeing so we can hear our tour guide’s commentary) wasn’t working. Turns out she’d sat on it earlier in the day, squashing the poor thing and breaking its electronic heart.

TOMORROW: We get a taste of two more fairytale towns on the green, green banks of the River Main: Miltenberg and Wertheim. So don’t go away …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) beside the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And if you want a better look at our photos, just click on them and they’ll enlarge –  magic!