Rhine Cruise, June 2011

From Rick Steves:

While the Rhine is over 800 miles long, the 36-mile stretch from Mainz to Koblenz is by far the most interesting. This is the Romantic Rhine, a powerful stretch of the river slashing a deep and scenic gorge. And the best way to see it is to cruise it…

Passengers’ parkas flap in the cool wind as the rugged hillscape gradually reveals castles both ruined and restored. The ridges of the gorge rise above us, unblemished by any modern building, thanks to a strict code that holds the tide of contemporary Germany back, out of sight from this romantic river escape. Tortured green vineyards climb steep hillsides, and turreted towns grab friendly bits of shoreline. Trains streak like arrows along both shores. Bright green and red buoys battle the current, keeping the cautious parade of barges and sightseeing boats off the many reefs.

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