To my great relief, I awoke the next morning feeling fine with an enormous appetite. I soon discovered I was in the right place to be hungry. We made our way to the ships dining room to be overwhelmed by the breakfast choices. The food on this river cruise was surprisingly delicious and more than abundant.
My husband and I usually travel on our own, with me doing all the planning and navigating. It can be a tremendous amount of work, since I am very protective of our vacation time, and want every hour to be spectacular. I can wear myself out planning every detail of a trip. This river cruise was a huge deviation from our history of independent travel. And what a relief it was to have everything planned for us and an opportunity to relax…or so I thought.
After a sumptuous breakfast that first morning, we hit the deck running. Traveling down the Rhine River Valley, we visited many villages, wineries, and historic sites, first in France, and then into Germany. Not wanting to miss anything, the idea of relaxing was soon forgotten. The timing of our cruise had been a concern as this area can be cold and rainy in October, but again luck was with us, and the autumn weather was sparkling and bright. The Riesling vineyards were golden, the sky was blue, white and silver, and the hills were as green as green can be. The colors of the villages were highlighted with the reds and oranges of fall.
We did enjoy one afternoon on board the River Queen, sipping champagne, while the mighty castles of the Rhine River Valley loomed above us on either side. Our tour also included the Mosel River, and an afternoon on board viewing the unbelievably steep and picturesque vineyards of this region.
All in all, we very much enjoyed the river cruise experience. It helped that we met many interesting people and made some wonderful new friends. The scenery was all we expected and more. Being pampered on board was an added bonus I had not considered. Our journey ended in Amsterdam, just in time for hurricane force winds and rain. This put a damper on our visit there, but we took a day trip into the countryside of what I still call Holland and explored windmills, fishing villages and even tried on wooden shoes, which they still wear in this boggy country. I was enchanted by the wild and windswept landscape and left it with fond memories.
This marks the end of another amazing trip that I will never forget, but once again I am appreciating the comforts of home, all the while pondering where our next great adventure will be.