Castles, Fireworks and A Cruise Down The Rhine River
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When I asked my dear friend to journal her trip to Germany last weekend for Honeymoons.com, I never imagined this trip would be such a magical and perfect for a destination wedding or honeymoon! I found myself wanting to jump onto a plane headed for Germany the minute I read this!
My friend’s trip was for a 25th Anniversary celebration for her company. She left EWR on Thursday night and arrived in Frankfurt Friday morning, returning to the United States Sunday morning. I hope this sounds as great to you as it did to me! Enjoy!
Katie’s Germany Magical Weekend
Friday morning the best taxi service in the area picked me up from the airport – it was Kramer taxi service, (011 49) 02631 94 83 22) and this was no yellow cab – of course you’re in Germany so you’re picked up in a Mercedes van (since there were several of us we used the van).
I arrived at the Mercure Hotel, located in Koblenz Friday morning. The people behind the desk were very friendly and very, very accommodating. The hotel was modern, clean and had air conditioning. (Not all hotels have AC in Germany, so this is a plus when you’re visiting in the summer!)
Friday evening we (~150 ppl) loaded up on our busses to head to the town of St. Goar, located in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley at the Schloss Rheinsfeld – (Schloss means “Castle” in German. The Castle is the largest fortress ruin on the Rhine and we enjoyed our dinner in Europe’s largest vaulted cellar.
website photos: http://www.schloss-rheinfels.de
Rheinfels is one of the mightiest fortresses of the Rhine and is a must-see. It was built in 1245 by a local count as the base for his toll collecting operations. Now it has the most extensive castle ruins on the Rhine. The size and labryinthe layout is amazing and again, a must see.
We arrived to the castle around 7pm….we were on the terrace of the castle, overlooking the Rhine River, where we were served champagne. It was so beautiful and romantic. You can watch the passing boats on the Rhine, or simply spy on the other castles that are on either side of the Rhine. Either way, it is hard to not feel as if you are back in time and part of a fairytale. Germany has no shortage of castles!!
Then after an hour or so, we moved to the vaulted cellar, where we were to dine. This was nothing short of amazing. It was not only decorated so beautifully, not one detail was missed – from the little white candles in the walls of the vaults to the perfectly placed flower arrangements to the musicians. (a flautist and a guitarist, who played the whole evening – to the wandering guitar player.)
The food was delicious. First, we had a mixed salad with balsamic dressing and air-dried ham; followed by a cream of leek soup with a cherry tomato! Saving room for my entrée which was breast of Mediterranean chicken on ratatouille, served with potatoes au gratin. Dessert was a simple yet scrumptious fruit salad.
For wine, we had a choice of a 2007 Engelboller Berstein Riesling wine, a 2007 Bopparder Hamm Fasserlay wine (a drier white wine, which was delicious) but my absolute favorite was the Rotwein – that’s red wine, in German! It was a 2006 Noir de Deil Qualitatswein trocken – a dry red wine. It was fabulous!
Around midnight, we loaded up on the busses and returned to our hotels.
The next day we were being treated to a spectacular event called, “The Rhine in Flames”. The RIF is a series of spectacular fireworks that takes place at various times and locations, between Braubach and Koblenz on the river. Since we were within walking distance to where the ship was docked. We, and approximately 250 ppl – boarded a ship for this enchanting evening. All the guests were greeted with a glass of champagne as we boarded the vessel giving us just an idea of how great of a night we were in for!! After the champagne, waiters came around with trays of Kolsch beer – the local beer from Cologne. Our trip then began down the beautiful Rhine along with a parade of ships & boats and they were stopping at all of the vineyards that were located on the steep terraces along the way. I have no idea how they plant & harvest the grapes, but the Germans defiantly do. As we passed through each town, one sight was more amazing then the next with each town in full celebration mode! In fact in one town, we saw about 75- 100 tents set up; kind of like a “tailgating party” on the Rhine! Even at the Mercure, the hotel we were staying in, had a stage set up for a concert, a beer tent and games for the kids It’s really quite amazing….the Germans sure know how to have a good time!
On our boat, we were served a wonderful buffet dinner with an assortment of salads, entrees and desserts that everyone enjoyed. To add to the fun, there was also a band playing and the crowd enjoyed every minute. Our boat then passed through the rivers of Rhine and Moselle, and all throughout the region from Koblenz, Spay, Braubach, Rhens und Lahnstein. The boat then came to a stop in the first town for the fireworks to begin. Over a beautifully illuminated castle, the fireworks started! And AS IF THIS WAS MAGICAL ENOUGH, you can see in the near distance all the fireworks going off one after the other town after town. It was just amazing. As our ship began to crawl it’s way up the Rhine, we passed so many castles! Each town was illuminated with their amazing fireworks display making some castles look as if they were on fire – between the illumination and the smoke from the fireworks. Around 11pm, our boat came to the fortress Ehrenbreitstein across from the Deutsches Eck (German corner) at the mouth of the Moselle River. It was nothing short of amazing. In fact, it was such pure magic that I had to pinch myself to make sure I knew I wasn’t dreaming….
I would absolutely recommend both the castle for a sightseeing destination – there is a 4 star hotel attached to the Vault and they also offer tours of the castle. I am sure they have weddings there; it’s so romantic, especially with the almost full moon we were treated to!
And what a place to have for a night of your honeymoon – what can be more romantic than on the Rhine with that spectacular firework display. http://www.firework.rhine-river.com/koblenz/index.html – website for Rhine in Flames.