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Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas cruise on the Danube River - Dec 28th/2014....

I have cruised along this stretch of the Rhine on two previous occasions.  It has picturesque scenery, highlighted by numerous quaint towns and romantic castles, some of which are in ruins.

The highpoint of this stretch of the Rhine is the Loreley Rock.   According to myth, a maiden mesmerized with songs the crews of ships to cause their destruction on the rocks.

I had the light lunch in the lounge.  They served broiled salmon, pasta with pesto sauce, a green salad and the dessert was chocolate and cheese slices.

We began the tour by driving up to Niederwalddenlmal which towers above Rudesheim.   The monument affords excellent views of the Rhine valley.  Having previously only viewed Germania from the river-level, it was interesting to view it up-close and to take in the dramatic view of the Rhine valley.  There was a snow cover over the entire area; and at the top of the hill, it was cold - cold enough to see our breath.

 From the Niederwalddenlmal, a bus drove us down to the town of Rudesheim to visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Cabinet.  We walked through the famous main street, the Drosselgasse, which is lined with many quaint wine bars and shops.  On the Drosselgasse, Siegfried’s Musical Museum occupies an historic mansion, the half-timbered Bromserhof (1559).

The Museum has a fascinating collection of 350 antique mechanical musical instruments.  From the 19th and 20th centuries, almost all the self-playing music cabinets, calliopes, pianos, organs, and large music boxes are in working order.  A guide at the Museum demonstrated some of the musical instruments.  Some of the mechanical instruments played multiple individual instruments, like a small orchestra. I think they only give tours to those with reservations or tours, and AMA covered the admission fee.  I thought this was an intriguing and very enjoyable museum.

It was almost an hour drive to reach the ship, and much of the drive was directly along the Rhine River.  I did not realize before that many castles and castle ruins are lit up at night.  These castles appear as romantic ghosts when lit up - I wish that I could have taken some photos, but because of the glare on the windows and the movement of the bus, I just could not take any.

 Suppers have been wonderfully gourmet.  I had the beef capriccio with parmesan flakes and mushrooms, and for the soup, the chicken consomm√©.  Then I had the stuffed pork tenderloin, which was as tender and tasty as the suckling pig.   Pork in Europe taste so much better than pork in the U.S. - there is a difference to me.  For dessert, hazelnut ice cream with litchi, raspberry sauce and chocolate sprinkle.  They served another nice red wine.  They had music and dancing after dinner and a late night snack in the lounge - I did not attend.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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