|Willkommen to Rüdesheim, one of many storybook villages along the legendary Rhine River in Germany. All photography, unless noted, is the property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
From Amsterdam to Basel, the shores of the River Rhine are lined with some of the most enchanting places I have ever visited and as our Viking Longship Viking Mani plied the currents, each bend in the river ahead revealed a new storybook village beckoning for exploration; a continuation of my search for winsome villages absurdly picturesque and charming. When it comes to fairy-tale villages, Germany certainly exceeded my expectations, each one more delightful than the last! Here are a few highlights of one such place from my recent Rhine Getaway voyage with Viking River Cruises. Anchors aweigh, the storybook unfolds. Pages teeming with life!
|Winzerkeller Café along the Oberstraße in Rüdesheim.|
Following our morning tour of the remarkable Marksburg Castle and the narrated voyage along the castled Rhine, we were on our way to the Rheingau wine region, specifically Rüdesheim (pronounced Rude-ess-heim) for an early-evening stroll along the cobbled lanes of the tiny village whose quaint Drosselgasse is undoubtedly one of the most enchanting streets I have ever set my feet upon! Surrounded by verdant hills of climbing vineyards, the Rheingau region is considered to be the best along the Rhine and rest assured, Rüdesheim offered plenty of opportunities to sample locally-produced vintages, chief among them the world-renowned Rheingau Riesling!
|Rüdesheim coffee-making demonstration in the Viking Lounge on board the Viking Mani.|
We were first introduced to Rüdesheim during the afternoon cruise through the Middle Rhine when the Viking Mani chefs invited everyone to a Rüdesheim coffee-making demonstration in the Viking Lounge, one of many such cooking demonstrations that Viking offers on most of its cruises, an opportunity for guests to immerse themselves into the local culture and cuisine. The demo began with a little history about the key ingredient in the coffee—Asbach, a locally-produced premium German brandy that's been in production in Rüdesheim since 1892 and claims to embody the "spirit of the wine." Invented in 1957 by Hans Karl Adam, a popular 1950s German TV chef; Rüdesheim coffee begins with 3 tbsp. of very warm Asbach poured over 3 sugar cubes. Light a match and stir until the sugar is melted, usually 1 minute. Pour 5 oz. of hot coffee into the mug, top with fresh whipped cream and garnish with shaved chocolate. Voila, a very delicious treat that warms your bones and tickles your tastebuds with a fusion of flavors! All fired up, we were now ready to explore Rüdesheim.
The Oberstraße and Drosselgasse
|A walk along the Oberstraße in Rüdesheim, Germany.|
It was love at first sight when we stepped into this village and moseyed along the Oberstraße, the main thoroughfare through the little hamlet. The first stop that greeted us once we reached the top of the hill was a magical Christmas shop that tugged at me as anything about Christmas usually does. It turns out that Rüdesheim has a lot to offer day visitors from fascinating museums and wine taverns to bistros and cable cars that float above the landscape with amazing panoramic views of this quaint village along the Rhine.
|Of course a little Christmas shopping was in order.|
|The charming family-run Hotel Zum grünen Kranz in Rüdesheim, Germany, dates back to 1826.|
Lined with cozy pubs and cafés serving up the region's finest Rhine wines and cuisine, the world-famous Drosselgasse is alive with the sights and sounds of Rhenish music as well as scrumptious aromas of regional favorites wafting through the air. Wine taverns line the street from top of the hill to the Rhine and the oldest one dates back to 1727—Drosselhof. Stop in for a tasting! As we ambled down the cobbles to grab a coffee and ice cream, the glockenspiel chimed to life with its hourly performance of pealing bells and dancing figurines coming out to greet all the passersby below—just one of the magical moments in the delightful little village.
|Walking along the Drosselgasse.|
|Wine taverns line the street from top of the hill to the Rhine; among them, the oldest dates to 1727—Drosselhof.|
|Enchanting glockenspiel comes to life with its pealing bells and moving figures.|
Float above the village
|Glide above the village and the Rhine on board the Seilbahn cable car to "Germania."|
The Seilbahn cable car is the "e" ticket to spectacular birds-eye views of Rüdesheim, the Rhine and the climbing vineyards—all yours for the taking as you enjoy the ride to your final destination—the Niederwalddenkmal or Niederwald Monument or more commonly known as "Germania," guardian of the Rhine and a colossal testament to the reunification of Germany. Towering above all the land, "Germania" was designed by Johannes Schilling and commemorated in 1883, 12 years after Kaiser Wilhelm I laid the cornerstone in 1871. Flanking the mighty bronze "Germania" are the figures of "war" and "peace." After your visit to the monument, turn around and behold sublime views of Rüdesheim, the Rhine River and Bingen on the opposite shore.
Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum
|One of the most magical places in Rüdesheim—Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum.|
Once you're back in the village, don't miss Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum, a musical journey back in time to the 19th century when these instruments delighted audiences with their automatic compositions ranging from tiny music boxes to the magnificent orchestrion (orchestra), one device showcases six inverted violins atop a piano base. Astounding! What started as a hobby back in the 1960s by Siegfried Wendel who refused to let these whimsical creations meet their fate in the scrap pile, is today a museum that celebrates the sounds of the last three centuries with 350 automatic musical instruments with intricate mechanical parts moving in syncopated harmony. Meet the illustrious, incomparable Siegfried himself.
Selzer Toy and Railway Museum
A must-see attraction for kids of all ages, the Selzer Toy and Rail Museum is a journey through the last 100 years of toys, cars, doll houses, steam engines, erector sets—among countless others guaranteed to delight all who visit. Train enthusiasts will marvel at the development of the railroad over the last 100 years as well as the large-scale model route from Rüdesheim to Koblenz that dates to the middle of the 20th century.
The Asbach Uralt Winery
|Asbach Uralt Winery tours are available but you must book in advance.|
Tour the Asbach Uralt Winery to learn about the production of this famous German specialty from the grape harvest to distillation to storage and finally the finished product. Be sure to book in advance as walk-ins are not an option.
|The original copper Asbach distilling vats. Photo: © Asbach.de. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Click the image below and then on the second and third windows at the top of the page for magnficent 360 Tours of Rüdesheim,
|Amazing 360 Tours of Rüdesheim, Germany, just one of many enchanting villages along the Rhine River.|
I hope you enjoyed your introduction and visit to Rüdesheim—just one in a series of enchanted places you'll visit on Viking's "Rhine Getaway" river cruise! Be sure to stop back for more charming villages of the Rhine.
Special thanks to Viking River Cruises for inviting me on this unforgettable voyage on the Rhine. Of course, all opinions are mine however; unforgettable moments like these can be yours as well!