We returned to our Felicity after our morning in Mainz and during lunch the ship departed for Rudesheim (the official name is Rudesheim am Rhein) just a few miles downstream.
Rudesheim is a pleasant little Rhine Valley wine town that is famous for its cafes and a shopping mall called Drosselgasse that is really not much bigger than a large alley. It’s a small town and as we walked around we were never more than three blocks from the river. And some of us were astounded to discover that, after visiting Strasbourg, Speyer, Heildelberg and Mainz, there was no cathedral in sight!
We exited Felicity and boarded a small motorized train for our ten-minute ride into town. First stop was Seigfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum which was housed in one of the oldest buildings in town. Frankly, I found the building and the ancient car parked outside more interesting than the museum but some people were enthralled with the various music-making devices. My working career spanned the waning days of the IBM punched card accounting machines and the dawn of the Computer Age. Some of the musical machines reminded me of the 80-column punched cards we used back in the ’50s and ’60s to store our precious data.
After the museum we made our way down the hill about 100 feet or so to a cafe where we listened to a lively German band while we sampled one of Rudesheim’s finest drinks: coffee and brandy topped with whipped cream and chocolate flakes. Ummm, it was good!
After the coffee all of the gals descended onto Drosselgasse for some serious shopping while some of the guys took a Bitburger break at a nearby beirgarten. Then some people decided to walk the 20 minutes back to our ship but my wife and I feared the weather might get nasty and so we waited for our little train to take us back.
Back on the ship before dinner our energetic lounge singer and piano player Elmar demonstrated his presentation skills as he gave us an interesting lecture on Rhine travel, preparing us for the cruise through the Rhine Gorge on Thursday morning.
Avalon had one of their optional excursions on Wednesday night: back to Rudesheim for an authentic German dinner. We decided to save our 88 euros, however, and remained on board for our standard Americanized dinner which was followed by drinking and dancing in the lounge until the bewitching hour.
It was our most social day on the cruise so far.