Sunday, June 26, 2016
Dancing on the Rhein
Every event today seemed to balance on the head of a pin; two minutes later we wouldn't have seen…, five minutes longer we would not have been..., one second this way or that and we would have missed one of the events that stacked together to amount to one of most fun days of our lives.
So we started in Munich. Leaving sucked because we loved our time there. Yet the morning went as planned, we got a final cappuccino at Viktualienmarkt, retrieved the car from the parking garage, and even snagged the particular parking spot we needed in front of the apartment in order to load up our luggage.
The drive to the Rhein seemed to take forever, traffic and thunderstorms delayed us, yet we took turns driving and enjoyed the beautiful landscapes. When we finally arrived it was well past lunch time, but we had snacked on fruit and nuts on our road trip, so we skipped lunch checked in with our host, and hurried to start the Niederwald Rundfahrt (round trip) in time to catch the last boat. This consisted of parking in Rüdesheim, taking Seilbahn (the people mover type cars) that ascended to the top of the hill on a wire overlooking glorious vineyards. Each car contained from two adults or up to four kids. Several upper elementary aged kids were descending, perhaps as a field trip, and some of the more outgoing groups delighted in waving and shouting greetings at passing seilbahn cars as we shuttled up the mountain. “Hallo,” “Wie geht’s?” (Hello…how goes it?) we were asked, we smiled, answered and got joyful responses from the young people. One group flashed peace signs and we returned the greeting of peace, one girl exclaimed, “Kühle leute!” (Cool people).
The next part of the journey was hiking nearly an hour through the magical woods, seeing the deer at the zoo and then taking a chair lift down the other side. By this time we were beyond hunger, clear of mind, soaking in the birdsong as we descended. We had made it back down the hillside with time to spare to catch the last boat back to Rüdesheim. We found no food on the boat but enjoyed an apartif during the 30 minute ride up the river, marveling at castles, green hills, quaint towns, and vineyards.
As we navigated the cobblestone streets in search of a traditional restaurant I had in mind, big fat rain drops began to fall. We dodged drops, racing along under awnings and ducked into the restaurant just before the sky ripped open and it began to pour. We enjoyed amazing food including lemon balm pesto, whole fish, and a lovely local Riesling, which when paired with the playful three piece band made for a relaxing and satisfying dinner. As the restaurant began to fill with more patrons, the band played more traditional music that patrons sang and swayed with at their tables. Then the drinking games began as several large parties stood in front of a long board with shot glasses attached and on the count of, “Eins, zwei, drei!”they attempted to down these communal shots of schnapps. One group started a German style conga line and the Japanese tourist hopped on board, recognizing a more familiar activity they could join in. Once we had seen all the wonders our dinner venue could behold, I told Greg it was time to move on to the next place. We both imagined that was going to be back at home, but the town had come alive. Several bars had live music or a DJ and dancing, mostly with an older crowd slow dancing to oldies and traditional music.