September 21, 2009
Another late start, we tell ourselves that we’re trying to ease the adjustment back to US time zones, but the apartment is so comfortable with Henry in his own room and Lizzy in the living room that it’s too tempting to not take some time for ourselves. An hour and a half drive got us to Bacharach, a wine-making town on the Rhine. We drove down the steep Rhine gorge walls covered with grapes into basically a long, charming one-street town to catch one of the Rhine cruise boats. We had a few hours to spare before the boat left and had lunch at a rather yummy Italian restaurant and of course some more ice cream. German dairy products are just better.
(the streets of Bacharach. Notice the all important sign Eis Cafe. Eis is german for ice cream.)
(Throwing rocks in the Rhine while waiting for the boat.)
The Rhine cruise was awesome. It was nice to be able to just sit one the deck in the sun (without which the cruise would not have been nearly so nice) and watch the villages, their churches and castles, and cargo barges go by. Lizzy made friends with a friendly flight attendant from Singapore who stayed interested even after the little one spit up all over her shirt.
(a view from the boat. The castle in the river was key in the napoleonic wars. General Blucher was very sneaky here and built the first pontoon bridge to victory.)
We got off in St Goar another lovely little village and hiked up to the Castle overlooking the river. As we went up through the castle garden and vineyard Henry brushed up against a sawtooth leafed weed with silvery things dangling from it…yup, stinging nettle. That took about 10 minutes to take care of and by the time we got up to the castle it was time to head back to the boat for the ride back.
(walking to the castle, or in Henry’s case riding. Such a hard life. Riding on your dad’s shoulders while eating a European pastry. Dell has crumbs in his hair. Such a good dad!)
(Hey Henry what’s that plant? Oh stinging nettle. And how do you know that? Yep, Henry found stinging nettle on the hike. It even blistered. Luckily we were kind of prepared and had water, alcohol wipes, neosporin, and bandaids.)
(view from the hike. Notice the vineyard in the foreground. It was heavy with grapes.)
(Lizzy slept most of the hike up)
(the castle. We had to turn around and hike back to catch our boat almost as soon as we arrived here. There are some benefits to having a car when you’re traveling with kids.)
The return ship had a slide and playground toys on the sun-deck which allowed both of us to fully enjoy the scenery. A 5 year old little Japanese boy named Takami kept calling for Ren-ri (took us a while to realize he was saying Henry) played together on the slide and were really cute despite the complete language barrier. Turns out his family are our Japanese counterparts travelling Germany with 2 kids nearly the exact same age as ours, unfortunately the language barrier extended to the adults as well or I’m sure we would have had fun comparing kid traveling stories.
Henry was very hesitant to play with Takami at first but as you can see from the picture by the end they were playing really well together. They did this over and over, laughing each time, then racing each other up the ladder.