Xmas on the Rhine: Rudesheim
Rudesheim was my favorite spot so far. A small medieval town, our visit was enhanced by the fact we were there on a Saturday and stayed after dark so we got the full effect of a festive, very crowded scene with a lively street-fair ambiance. It must be the custom for groups to all wear matching hats and it was fun to see the different types of Christmas-themed hats including: cowgirl, Christmas trees and, of course, funky elf caps.
We had lunch at the Schloss Restaurant located on the famous Drosselgasse, a very narrow alley with dozens of shops, restaurants and wine bars. During lunch we had some local beer and Riesling and listened as a band played a wide variety of international music – oddly enough, even Hava Nagila (Rudesheim is known for a very international Xmas Market). Once out in the street our group made a quick visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum. We almost didn’t go, but it was worth the short investment in time to see the incredible mechanical instruments in action, all housed in the 16th century home of a medieval knight. Then we were back out with the crowds to visit the shops and market stalls including the well-known Kathe Wohlfahrt store (one of several throughout Germany) to do some serious shopping for German-made Christmas items. Entertainers were singing Christmas music from a stage set up near the chairlift and even the weather cooperated by giving up a reprieve from the rain.
Eventually we had to get back to the bus and travel a bit more up the Rhine, crossing by ferry to return to our ship.
I think Uniworld has done a good job under the circumstances getting us to all our planned markets. Tomorrow we will change ships to finish the trip. Even though we will have to pack and move, and have had to use a bus to get around today, they’ve also done a great job of getting us down the Rhine to see the castles on a smaller boat, as well as given us complementary lunches, drinks and cash credits. I have been impressed by the calm, thoughtful and efficient staff. A few people did take the pre-cruise option to cancel – and as a result the two of us are traveling with 118 very nice people!