Monday, June 27, 2011

Germany - Day 6 Part I - Rhine River Cruise

We were up early today for our Rhine River Cruise. This one-day cruise started in Braubach and went to Rudesheim before turning around and heading back. This part of the Rhine is considered upper-middle and may be the prettiest part of the river with all the castles and vineyards lining the banks. Before we even got on the boat, we had a nice view of our first Rhine castle nestled on the hillside.

We sat on the top deck of this really nice boat so we would have good access to both sides of the river for photos.

One castle (schloss) after another lined the hillsides. As it turns out, the castles were originally owned by nobility and high ranking Catholic church figures (archbishops). Most of the castle owners were granted the right to collect tolls from ships traveling on the Rhine. This practice existed for 1,000 years from 800 to 1800 AD and it kept the collectors very wealthy. Around 1250 AD, some people decided it would be a good idea to collect tolls without the sanction of the church. Those people were referred to as "robber barons" and were eventually put out of business and their castles destroyed.

Typical Rhine River city.

There is very heavy traffic on the river with barges and cruise boats.

Both sides of the river have rail lines serving both passenger and freight trains.

The entire length of the river we traveled was covered in grape vines. Here two workers tend the vines in what must be back breaking labor.

The boat made a number of stops along the river. You can use the boat like a bus if you want to see several cities along the way.

Sigrid had a great day.

As did Gisela.

It goes without saying that Georg enjoyed himself.

Lars proves the old saying....."like father like son".

Not all castles are large and luxurious.

Click on this panoramic photo to see more detail.

The Inca's don't have an exclusive patent on hillside terracing. As a matter of fact, these hills were probably terraced before the Inca's built Machu Picchu in the 1400's.

There were a number of places along the river where people were camping in tents and campers. These two look pretty relaxed.

Up next....more of the cruise and Rudesheim.

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