Travelling with Joy - The End

I had to make my own coffee this morning. 

No one asked me what I wanted for breakfast, and my bed sure as heck didn’t make itself.

Yep, I’m home from my fantasy river cruise through the castles, museums, and war monuments of the Rhine & Moselle Rivers.

The final week of touring was an amazing blend of exploration, cultural discovery, and social interaction with my fellow passengers. The onboard entertainment featured local artisans, musicians, and lectures on regional history and horticulture. Special events included private dinners at exclusive castles such as the Reichenstein in Boppard, and a private backroom tour of the castle, followed by an evening of German cuisine and entertainment.

As I mentioned last week, our late fall departure was rewarded with amazing autumn colours.  This was all the more apparent once we began our cruise along the Moselle. A fairy-tale setting lay in wait upon our arrival to Cochem. The sun broke through, and once I caught sight of the Reichsburg Castle, I was immediately transported back to a medieval time of knights and princesses, dragons and gargoyles. The village was breathtaking, and it was impossible to stop taking pictures. We toured the castle and marvelled at its incredible upkeep. The folklore and history was so entertaining.  

The landscapes along the Moselle were a verdant display of an area rich in agricultural growth. Primarily a wine growing region, it was interesting to see the incredible steep grade upon which the grapes have been planted for generations. The mind boggled as to how any sort of equipment could possibly gain access to, and then harvest, the vines. So different from our gentle, undulating slopes.

The incredibly preserved villages along the river are also so quaint and inviting. One of my favourites was Bernkastel, with 700 years of history authentically reflected in half-timbered houses, a medieval market square, and castle ruins. Shopping was wonderful, and prices very reasonable.

Our stop in Remagen was a sombre reminder of World War II. It was the successful conquer of the bridge of Remagen which sped the end of the war by a good six months. Sadly, many lives, both Allied and German, were lost during the ensuing four-day battle. The town has erected a Peace Monument, at the site of the bridge tower remains, which houses a display of original photos and documentation of the battle, as well as moving tributes of peace from Gandhi, John Lennon,and the Dalai Lama, to name a few.

Our time in the Netherlands was spent exploring the extensive private collection of the Kröller-Muller Museum, with its incredible Van Gogh exhibit, as well as the renowned Rijksmuseum which opened in 1885. Definitely an art neophyte, I was nonetheless enthralled by the Rembrandt exhibit. Truly mind-blowing talent. The small groups and private guides allowed for lots of discussion and explanation of the various symbolism and intent within the priceless paintings. I am much more ‘cultured’ as a result.

Amsterdam never gets old. Coffee houses and cafes (there is a difference), cheese houses, canal cruises, and an overwhelming sense of liberalism permeates this city. The Red Light District is but one of the many interesting parts of the city and its history.

The cruise ended as easily as it began. Tearful farewells to fellow passengers and our cruise staff, and then into the efficient hands of the Tauck transfer team, which briskly whisked both ourselves and our luggage to the airport. A blissful end to a truly remarkable vacation.  Relaxed, rejuvenated, and rewarded with new knowledge, experiences and friends. 

What more can you ask from a journey?

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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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