Day Eight and Nine: The Rhine and the Trip Home 

On Wednesday, we drove back up to Frankfurt and took a relaxing half day cruise on the Rhine river.

On the shore of the Rhine river outside of Frankfurt, waiting for our boat to arrive.
On the shore of the Rhine river outside of Frankfurt, waiting for our boat to arrive.

All along the river were vineyards and castles, and most of the castles have been converted to hotels. I think it would be fun to stay overnight in a real castle.
All along the river were vineyards and castles, and most of the castles have been converted to hotels. I think it would be fun to stay overnight in a real castle.

A scene that was repeated over and over again on this relaxing cruise: Castle on hill with vineyards, overlooking storybook town, overlooking Rhine river.
A scene that was repeated over and over again on this relaxing cruise: Castle on hill with vineyards, overlooking storybook town, overlooking Rhine river.

A fortress-like structure on a sandbar in the middle of the river. I didn't hear clearly what this structure's purpose was.
A fortress-like structure on a sandbar in the middle of the river. I didn't hear clearly what this structure's purpose was.

Another boat passes us. These river trips are popular, there were lots of these boats. I understand why, it's an inexpensive and enjoyable way to relax on the river for an afternoon.
Another boat passes us. These river trips are popular, there were lots of these boats. I understand why, it's an inexpensive and enjoyable way to relax on the river for an afternoon.

The vineyards are nearly vertical on the sides of the hills. Harvest time must be a real pain in the ass. :-)
The vineyards are nearly vertical on the sides of the hills. Harvest time must be a real pain in the ass. :-)

Lots of churches in these little towns, too.

Rachel seemed more interested in getting ice cream cones than in seeing the sights. Whaddya expect, she's nine. :-)
Lots of churches in these little towns, too.



Rachel seemed more interested in getting ice cream cones than in seeing the sights. Whaddya expect, she's nine. :-)

It occurred to me that churches were the skyscrapers of their time. Everywhere we went in Germany, we would see these little storybook towns each with a single steeple towering over them, the tallest and most visible structure for miles.
It occurred to me that churches were the skyscrapers of their time. Everywhere we went in Germany, we would see these little storybook towns each with a single steeple towering over them, the tallest and most visible structure for miles.

Castle, vineyard, town, repeat.
Castle, vineyard, town, repeat.

Church, vineyard, town, repeat.
Church, vineyard, town, repeat.

Along the river, on both sides, there were train tracks between the towns and the shoreline. A fast train came by about once every three minutes on each side.
Along the river, on both sides, there were train tracks between the towns and the shoreline. A fast train came by about once every three minutes on each side.

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A passenger train rolls along the river, framed by vineyards.
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A passenger train rolls along the river, framed by vineyards.

(1.84 Megabyte AVI Video File)

Train disappears into the distance below a castle.
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Train disappears into the distance below a castle.

There were a whole bunch of campers along one section of the river, it looked like a real party. :-)

The windsurfers were also very thick on the river, much like the hang gliders around Castle Neuschwanstein. They liked to jump the wakes of the boats going up and down the river.
There were a whole bunch of campers along one section of the river, it looked like a real party. :-)



The windsurfers were also very thick on the river, much like the hang gliders around Castle Neuschwanstein. They liked to jump the wakes of the boats going up and down the river.

Jenny, Rachel, castle, repeat. :-)
Jenny, Rachel, castle, repeat. :-)

I talked our tour guide into snapping this photo of us together.
I talked our tour guide into snapping this photo of us together.

Near the end of the cruise, when everybody seemed to desert the upper deck of the boat.
Near the end of the cruise, when everybody seemed to desert the upper deck of the boat.

Thanks for the ride!
Thanks for the ride!

We had a light dinner at this little restaurant, it was included as part of the tour.
We had a light dinner at this little restaurant, it was included as part of the tour.

More sign translations:

'Do not use stairs while drunk.'
More sign translations:



'Do not use stairs while drunk.'

Don't ask.
Don't ask.

Really, just don't ask. :-)
Really, just don't ask. :-)

On the bus ride back to Frankfurt, Rachel was playing with a young Japanese boy, they were being very cute playing peek-a-boo around the seats. I think the boy's mother was even mildly amused.

The countryside passing by outside was gorgeous, like the rest of Germany.
On the bus ride back to Frankfurt, Rachel was playing with a young Japanese boy, they were being very cute playing peek-a-boo around the seats. I think the boy's mother was even mildly amused.



The countryside passing by outside was gorgeous, like the rest of Germany.

I think the light of the setting sun made this series of photos come out particularly nice.
I think the light of the setting sun made this series of photos come out particularly nice.

There were too many good opportunities for cute pictures as they played, and the great light made them all come out so good, I can't help but post a bunch of them. :-)
There were too many good opportunities for cute pictures as they played, and the great light made them all come out so good, I can't help but post a bunch of them. :-)

Okay, that's the last one. :-)
Okay, that's the last one. :-)

After we got off the bus, Rachel revealed that the little boy gave her a beautiful origami crane as a goodbye present.

All together now: 'AAAAAaaaaawwwwww....'
After we got off the bus, Rachel revealed that the little boy gave her a beautiful origami crane as a goodbye present.



All together now: 'AAAAAaaaaawwwwww....'

A good night's sleep at the airport hotel in Frankfurt, then a relatively uneventful set of flights home, again through Philadelphia.

It's good to be home, but I'd go back again in a heartbeat. We had a great time!
A good night's sleep at the airport hotel in Frankfurt, then a relatively uneventful set of flights home, again through Philadelphia.



It's good to be home, but I'd go back again in a heartbeat. We had a great time!

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