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April 25, 2022
The Romantic Rhine

The Rhine River begins as a trickle in the Swiss Alps. It flows 820 miles through several countries before draining into the North Sea. The Upper Rhine delineates Germany’s borders with Switzerland and the French Alsace. The Lower Rhine passes through the Netherlands and into the Rhine River Delta.

But the Middle Rhine creates a stunning canvas of picturesque forests, vineyards and castles. This 40-mile stretch between Koblenz and Bingen boasts steep riverbanks and hillsides. Here, 20 historic castles rise up from the cliffs on both sides of the river.

We spent the afternoon doing a scenic sail through the Middle Rhine. When we got up this morning in Koblenz, it was raining. We went off on our excursions with umbrellas in hand, but we never had to use them, as it stopped raining when we stepped off the longship. By afternoon, not only was the sky clear, but the sun was even peeking out. We had an extremely lucky day for castle viewing.

We joined most of the other guests up on the topmost fourth deck, which boasts a panoramic 360-degree view. It was very cold, so everyone bundled up. Viking provided a handy full-color castle map, and Susan the Program Director provided a running commentary over the loudspeaker.

Deck 4 of the Viking Vili

Gail and Cameron consult the castle map

Sue the Program Director provides running commentary up on Deck 4

Amid the breathtakingly beautiful natural scenery, we saw hillsides decorated with villages, vineyards, and castles. We passed the legendary Lorelei Rock, where legend tells of a beautiful maiden who sang a haunting song that lured sailors to their doom against the rocks.

Sterren and Liebenstein Castles, inherited by two hostile brothers. Note the wall erected between the two castles.

Maus Castle. “Maus” is German for “mouse.”

Where there is a “Maus” Castle, can the “Katz” Castle be far behind?

Lorelei Rock (on the left, port side)

A statue of Lorelei

At 3:30 pm, we retired to the lounge inside to enjoy German high tea. The floor-to-ceiling picture windows allowed us to continue viewing the scenery as we warmed ourselves back up.

German high tea in the Deck 3 Lounge

We were nice and warm in the Lounge as we passed Gutenfelz Castle, once a toll stop on the Rhine

Today is our last day on the Rhine River. Later this evening, we will navigate off of the Rhine to the much smaller Main River, which will ultimately take us to the Danube River. Tomorrow morning will feature more scenic sailing and (hopefully) a chance to sleep in for once.

The officers drink a toast to the Viking Explorers Society, celebrating returning voyagers. From left: Adrian (Executive Chef), Annamaria (Housekeeper), Martijn (Hotel Manager), Zlatin (Guest Services), Sue (Program Director), Ria (Maitre D’)

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