Wine? Wine Not?

During this trip I learned that Germany exports about 1% of its wine.  This makes sense, as the German wine section at the local liquor store is pretty small (especially compared to the France and Italy sections).  After drinking some German wine I can understand why they’d want to keep it all for themselves. 

This wine was sampled on the Rhine River, in a little village called Assmanhausen (which is famous for its red wine).  My sister and I had decided to take a day trip to the region to experience some German countryside (and some wine).  The bus took us up a mountain, where there was a ski-lift.  We could either take the ski-lift down (the cost of which was extra) or we could take the bus down.

I think you all know which decision my sister and I made:


You can also take the chair lift from the town up to the top of the mountain.  I’d imagine that the views are much better going down, though.

In the town we ate at a local inn – nothing spectacular (a basic chicken & fries meal).  Then we went on a river tour of the Rhine.  More specifically we went along the Rhine Gorge, which has about 40 castles along a single stretch.

Look - A castle!
Look – A castle!

I have no idea of any of the names of the castles, but there were a TON of them.  Right side, left side, zoom in, zoom out, takeanotherjustincaseit’sblurry!  I was a picture-taking machine!

King of the Hill, literally.
King of the Hill, literally.

I’m not going to show you all the castles, because that would be too much and this post would be way too long. 

We also saw the Lorelei, which is a rock on the Rhine River.

The Lorelei is a darn BIG rock.
The Lorelei is a darn BIG rock.

“Lorelei” translates to “murmuring rock” and the rock has a strong current around it.  The shape of the rock created a murmuring echo, but it’s hard to hear today with all of our modern noises.

Clemens Brentano composed a ballad Zu Bacharach am Rheine, which told the story of an enchanting female called Lore Lay.  She was accused of bewitching men and causing their death, and was consigned to a nunnery.  As 3 knights were accompaning her to the nunnery, she came to the Lorelei rock, and asked permission to climb it to view the Rhine once again. She climbed it and promptly fell to her death.

Another myth was written by Heinrich Heine in the poem, Die Lorelei.  In it Lorelei is a siren who sits on the cliff above the Rhine, combing her golden hair, and unwittingly distracting shipmen, causing them to crash on the rocks. There’s a statue nearby that depicts this myth:

Crappy picture, cool myth.
Crappy picture, cool myth.

Considering the strong current and how the rock is at the narrowest part of the river (between Switzerland and the North Sea), there were quite few accidents at that area, hence the siren story.

After the boat ride we went back to the inn where we’d eaten lunch and had a wine-tasting.  The woman conducting the tasting was really informative and interesting (and had basically been taught English by tourists). 

We sampled 1 white, 2 red and an Ice Wine.  She instructed us how to properly taste the wines, rolling it around on our tongues.  We didn’t have to spit them out, thankfully.  The wines were really nice, especially the Ice Wine (I could have drank an entire bottle of that one).  Sadly, the inn shipped wines to the USA but not to Canada, so no purchasing was made.

Before finishing our day we went up to see a “Texas-Sized Monument” (our guide’s words): the Niederwalddenkmal.  It was constructed to commemorate the foundation of the German Empire after the end of Franco-Prussian War (thank you Wikipedia for that); and it is HUGE.

Not quite as big as Texas, but still big.
Not quite as big as Texas, but still big.

The statue is very intricate, with lots of figures and reliefs.  It’s also up at the top of the mountain, so it offers really nice views of the region.

Big cities can be interesting to travel to, but once in a while it’s nice to get away.

One comment

  1. The Rhine is the best! I’ve never been up that way though. Obviously next that will have to be rectified. I wonder if you can hike to those castles? They look amazing.

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