Rudesheim is one of Germany's best known wine towns. We had a small motorized "train" to carry us the short distance into town. Most of the Avalon Tranquility passengers went inside Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum for an included tour, followed by a sampling of the famous hot Rudeseim Coffee, which is made from Asbach Uralt wine, sugar, and whipped cream. If you haven't been to Rudesheim before, this museum is great fun since you get to hear (and see) the over 350 mechanical music boxes and cabinets at work. Some are tiny, others are huge.
Mom and I had toured this fascinating museum a few years before, so since the day was so lovely, we decided to strike out on our own and take the chair lift gondola ride to the top of the mountain for a view of the Rhine River. The sun had come out by then, and the small, 2-person gondola rode over the vineyards along the river up to the top of a hill, where the large Neiderwald Monument (114-feet tall) to Germany stood. This monument features the figure of Germania, and 32 tons of bronze were used to cast the monument in 1883. The hilltop was laced with walking trails, and you could even walk across the hill and take another cable car/chair lift down to another point on the river, followed by a river boat ride back to Rudesheim. We walked around for a while, admiring the views, before taking the 15-minute ride back down the way we came. Round-trip was 13 euros for the two of us.
Back down in the busy 10,000-resident town, we strolled the narrow streets, which were lined with outdoor bars and cafes. Given the early September crowds, I can see how they could entertain over 2 million visitors each year! Interestingly, since this is the wine region of Germany, we saw no "beer gardens", just "wine gardens", although I am sure they also serve beer. Mom and I tried a sample (1 euro each) of the "first wine of the season". It was almost like light cider since it can't have fermented long. After window shopping a little and strolling along the famous narrow pedestrian street called the Drosselgasse, we settled down outside at a bar with a couple we ran into from the ship, where we had a glass of white wine that was somewhat older than what we had tasted earlier (probably from last year).
Dinner was good (again). Mom and I both got the feta cheese appetizer and beef soup. I had the fish dish and mom had duck (her duck was better). I was good for dessert--a fruit plate--but mom was better--she skipped dessert all together. Our table mates had tiramisu and some kind of rich pastry.
The next morning we would join the Main River and sail towards the tiny German village of Miltenberg.
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About.com Video - Visit Rudesheim, Germany