Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

germany's riesling realm...by horse, boat, and cable car

I've had the good fortune to spend two very seperate spring days, with two very different groups of people, on two very beautiful tours of Germany's Rheingau region...both just happened to be bachelorette parties. But, instead of strippers there were cyclists, instead of veils and tiaras there were sunglasses and sunscreen, and in both cases there was a lot of flowing bubbly and so much fun.

The Covered-wagon Tour: through vineyards...to castles and convents


As anyone who rides can tell you, the view from horseback is a special delight. Now, granted I wasn't actually riding these wagon-pulling quadrapeds but it often felt like I was. Meandering the windy and hilly vineyards along the Rhine valley gave me renewed respect for what these workers were doing for us.


The Rheingau is not Germany's largest wine region (that lies on directly on the other side of the river) but it is definitely its largest Riesling producer and one might say, it features Germany's most internationally successful wine producers. Needless to say, there is very good wine here.

Castle Vollrads
And, like everywhere along the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, there are a ubiquitous amount of castles. Schloss Vollrads is a hidden gem, small and delightful, nestled amongst glorious hills of hanging grapes. Unfortunately, like every good castle story, this one has plenty of drama. I won't spoil it by telling you here...you'll need to come and visit.


Our tour took us through the dainty wine villages along the Rhine, such as Eltville and Ostrich-Winkel. Dotted with half-timbered houses and painted wine taverns, the clip-clop of the horses hooves and the gorgeous scenery made me just so happy. Well, maybe it was also the sekt! (German sparkling wine...of course)


Which just added to the already very merry time us girls were having.


Kloster Eberbach


The Ring Tour: ferry, chairlift, hike, gondola, ferry...a circle of loveliness and wine


Starting from Rüdesheim or Bingen, you hop on the ferry towards Assmannshausen, passing a few castles perched on the hillside as you float by.


This is the beginning of the Upper Middle Rhein Valley, with steep cliffsides and treacherous hanging vineyards and castles every kilometre. A tour that on its own is worth its weight in gold.

Castle Rheinstein

But on the ring tour, you get out in Assmannshausen, a small town reknowned for its red wine festival...an unique event in this area of white wine. The Hotel Krone, built in 1541, is one seriously romantic and very traditional hotel....the hanging wisteria just adds to the sweeping elegance of it all.

Assmannshausen...unfortunate name for a very cute wine town
Up the ancient chairlift, between hills of vineyards and overlooking the town, towards the forest above Rüdesheim.

Chairlift fear and fun
On this particular tour, but quite usual if I think about it, wanderers and/or bachelorettes usually stop and picnic...with sekt or just plain ol' normal wine. When in Rome...


It is approximately thirty minutes of walking through the forest to get to the lookout above Rüdesheim...depending on how many other lookout points you take advantage of.


Coming out of the magic cave...ooh la la
And you have to add in the picnic stops...Germans really do picnic-ing like no others (in my opinion). Sausages, stuffed peppers, cheese and dips, fresh olive bread, grapes, large plump olives, and chocolate. Add to that, sitting on a castle wall for a bite to eat and well, you can't get that in Canada!

Picnic at the castle...of course

Niederwald Memorial

Above Rüdesheim and you have a view of the widest part of the Rhine, right before it gets to be its narrowest. Across the river is Bingen am Rhein, another traditonal wine town, but with a more laissez-faire flair, possibly due to its years of French rule ergo the huge monument facing France after the Napoleon was defeated and driven away.


Rüdesheim am Rhein
And then after gondola-ing down towards town, we meandered towards the ferry, but not before taking in another glass of wine or two.

Evening ferry over the Rhine...to get to the other side (duh)

What's a bachelorette party post without a parting shot after an entire day of bubbly.


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