Viking River Cruises cleverly planned most of our traveling for nighttime so we could spend our days in port. Today though, we had two cities on the itinerary: Heidelberg and Rudesheim. We might be cruising during daylight hours to get there, but that didn't mean we would be bored.
After our morning tour of Heidelberg Castle we returned to the ship and the sound of German music coming from the sundeck. As the ship set sail downriver we discovered that the crew had put together a fabulous lunch for us there. They had set up stations offering an incredible assortment of various German items such as brats, German meatball sliders, pulled pork sliders, German potato salad, and some other things that I don’t know the name of. Of course beer was flowing and there was plenty of Black Forest cake!
Cruising the Rhine to Rudesheim
This afternoon our ship was cruising the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our destination was Rüdesheim am Rhein, a typical wine-making town in the area. Of course the scenery was beautiful but we could do a lot more than just sit by the window and watch the passing landscape. Viking also kept us entertained with on-board events such as wheelhouse and galley tours, a history lecture about travelers along the Rhine and a demonstration of how to make a Rüdesheimer Kaffee, which is actually one of the main Rudesheim attractions.
We opted to skip the ship tours in favor of an afternoon nap (yay, downtime!) but got up in plenty of time for the lecture and a chance to try this famous coffee. Turns out to be very similar to Irish coffee but it's made with Asbach Uralt, a special local brandy. Good stuff.
Dinner in Rudesheim am Rhein
As evening approached we joined a group of shipmates who had also signed up for an optional dinner in town, with authentic local food. What a pretty restaurant!
The best part of the meal was the generous half-bottle of local wine for each person. As to what they served, it was clearly traditional German food – pork and sauerkraut. Germans sure love their swine.
We enjoyed some musical entertainment during dinner, and at the end of the meal I got drafted into the audience participation event: playing Edelweiss on cowbells.
After which five people all tried to drink kirsch shots from glasses nailed to a board. Dan and I got drafted as well. The others were taller than I am. It was a little difficult for this shorty to reach the glass, but I managed to get most of it in my mouth.
While we were in town chugging kirsch shots, the passengers who had remained on board were being treated to sauerbraten for dinner. This beef dish takes days to make and is one of Dan's favorite foods. Had we known they were going to serve that deliciousness, we would have stayed on board.
Worse, we had such a good time in town that we got back to the ship late and missed the glass blowing demonstration that Viking had set up. Rats. I enjoy watching that sort of stuff.