ABOARD THE VIKING HLIN – Last night’s party was certainly a rousing good time and I believe even Chet enjoyed it. It was an optional excursion ($69 each) and 30 passengers from our ship and 55 from the sister ship, the Viking Kara, participated in dinner and dancing at the Rüdesheimer Schloss restaurant.
This village, which we also visited last year, is one of my favorite stops on the Rhine. You can walk on and off the ship right into Rüdesheim. There are a few attractions, perhaps the most notable being Siegfriend’s Mechanical Music Cabinet (a collection of mechanical instruments), but mostly people enjoy its restaurants, taverns and small shops.
During our four-course meal, the beer and wine flowed liberally. Food included salad, salami, beer cheese and dark bread, potato soup, pork, mashed potatoes, cabbage and an apple dessert. As expected, the band was loud and boisterous. There was lots of audience participation. We sat with three couples from the other ship – which was heading north as we headed south – and shared impressions of our trip thus far.
Viking names its river ships for Norse gods and goddesses. Hlin is the goddess of protection. This is what the company says about her:
The task of the Norse goddess Hlin is to protect and shelter humankind. She is also the goddess of consolation and brings comfort and solace to those who grieve, kissing away their tears. Hlin is deeply compassionate in an unsentimental way, and a wise teacher. Thanks to her guidance, we learn how to honor our dead, and integrate their love and wisdom into our daily lives.
I figure she is going to be a very good sailing companion. There is a large bright painting featuring Hlin in the center of the ship.
Today marks the halfway point on this river trip and I totally realize that seven days just is not enough. We have taken four river cruises now, and the first and third trips were two weeks each. Really, that is the right amount of time, otherwise you are on a treadmill much of the time what with ports/tours every day.
Yesterday afternoon and this morning were the first break in that routine and we sailed for much of that time. Thank goodness! River cruises advertise this idea of a relaxing ride as you watch the scenery pass by but in reality most ships are docked all day and passengers are off on tours. It can get a bit wearing.
But this morning was the one sailing period that every ship on the Rhine observes. The trip through the Middle Rhine, where most of the castles are located. It takes about three hours in all – and wouldn’t you know, it began raining again – but our program director Candi gave a very nice narration. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very nice for photos.
We are now docked in Koblenz. This is where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet and last year we headed off onto the Moselle. This time we spend the afternoon and evening here and then continue north on the Rhine.
May 11, 2017