Following our visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet, there was not a great deal of time left to do too much in Rudesheim. Marg decided to explore a little of the town, while I took the ten minute cable car ride with Barry, a guy I’ve met on this trip, to the Niederwald Monument which overlooks the town and the Rhine River flowing past.
The cable car ride passed over row upon row of the riesling grape vines we’ve seen so much of in this region. As we slowly climbed towards the monument, a glance back into the valley revealed glimpses of the river and the large amount of commercial boat traffic it carries.
Atop the hill, the monument features the imposing 10.5 metres tall figure of a woman, Germania, marking the foundation of the German Empire following victory in the Franco-Prussian War, which ended in 1871. The unification of Germany was one of the many complex factors that led, ultimately, to the devastation of the 1914-1918 War.
Returning to the town, I found Marg waiting in a cafe, enjoying a Rudesheimer Coffee. On her recommendation, I ordered one too. The coffee is made at your table in the following way. Asbach Liquer, made locally, is poured over three sugar cubes, then a match is put to it. As the alcohol burns away, the sugar/liqueur mixture crystallises. Hot coffee is poured onto this and a large dollop of whipped cream finishes it off. It was pretty good, though it’s not something I would want to drink every day.
We walked back to the ship via the narrow Drosselgasse shopping street and along the path running parallel to the railway line. On the sun deck, the crew were waiting for us with a barbecue lunch.