Guest Blog: Cruising the Rhine

December 1, 2013

Germany, Guest Blogs

 

 by Judy Bereza, guest blogger

My husband and I have never “cruised” in the traditional sense of the word.  A floating hotel with 3000 passengers has never been our definition of a good time.  We were even a bit leery of our impending river boat trip on the Rhine. Although we would be surrounded by 20 of my high school classmates and their spouses, the prospect of 115 fellow passengers all eating at the same time, all off loading to tour at the same time, and all being counseled to be back on the boat by a certain time sounded way too regimented for us. We were so wrong!  We had a fabulous time, and are looking forward to signing up for another cruise in a few years.

So what made the difference?  Imagine a pristine river with high banks on either side, dotted with medieval castles and villages. Your boat is moving noiselessly and smoothly along while you’re sitting at a table on the open deck sipping your cup of tea or glass of wine in the sunshine.  What’s not to like about that? A caveat – sunshine is really, really important, and you just have to be lucky in that regard.  We kept hearing how awful the weather had been the week before, and a mist shrouded view from inside a porthole would have made a huge difference in our experience.

When we tied up at some picturesque German village full of historic architecture – picture medieval churches and houses, and narrow, cobblestoned streets winding away from a shop bordered town square – we always had the option of going with a guide or exploring on our own.  Often, we chose to hike to a castle on top of a mountain instead of taking the tour bus.  Or we would find a quiet restaurant in the village for dinner instead of the group dinner on the boat.  No problem.  As long as we showed up when the boat left, we had remarkable flexibility, a bonus we had never expected.  That being said, the group activities both on and off the boat were educational and entertaining, and we enjoyed participating in them.

 

 

For two intrepid travelers who have typically charted our own course, we discovered there was much to be admired in not having to schlep luggage, consult maps, and deal with the inevitable glitches that accompany individual travel.  If you are contemplating a European river boat cruise, remember that the majestic rivers that wind through this continent have been for hundreds of years major highways for trade and transportation. The historic towns and eventually great cities that were established  along their banks are sill there for you to enjoy.  All you have to do is sign up, tie up, and start exploring.

Judy Bereza is a retired interior designer/kitchen expert, constant walker and “Nana” to three adorable grand children.  She and her friends have hiked in Wales, Cornwall, Switzerland, Smokey Mountain National Park and Ireland.
Occasionally she veers off the trail to explore a different kind of travel adventure that includes her husband.

 

 

 

 

About Susan J. Smith

Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.

View all posts by Susan J. Smith

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4 Responses to “Guest Blog: Cruising the Rhine”

  1. peggy depersia Says:

    There is something related to my German heritage that has me yearning for just such an experience; an opportunity to touch something old and natural via the comfort of modern day travel options. Have also not desired to ‘cruise’ yet you made it sound so appealing and relaxing with a good amount of personal flexibility The photos are stunningly picturesque.

    Reply

  2. Margaret Says:

    Thanks Judy…I’ve heard these river trips in Europe are great and very untypical of the “other” kind of boat tours. Will have to put this on my rather long list of adventures.

    Reply

  3. Barbara Rohwer Says:

    I agree with Judy about not being crazy about a “cruising” but we took our first ever tour on Viking with reasonable satisfaction as well. The free time is essential and can be so easily done from a small boat. We’ve just signed up for two weeks in Russia on the Volga River…..
    Great piece Judy!

    Reply

  4. Pol Dej Says:

    Recently returned from a river cruise on the river Garonne. We used to travel to Europe, were in the Rhine region. http://djanga.ru/2013/11/garonna-647km/ We loved the river, read your article and immediately thought of last year’s trip. Photos are very good!

    Reply

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