Thirty-three years ago this month, armed only with a pair of very small children we travelled on a Rhine River day cruise from Koblenz heading upstream intending to reach Mainz, but were so entranced with the villages and castles along the way. On a whim and with the absence of planning which has held us in good stead ever since, we disembarked in the village of Rüdesheim, completely inspired by the journey and promising to do it again “one day”.
Today was to be that day, but by the time we had slept sufficiently and eaten sufficiently the cruise departure time had come and gone. After a hasty conference at the booking office, we discovered that the return journey was entirely possible if we were willing to suffer an hour or so of train travel with nothing but the river the forest and the castles to see on the way. We grasped the opportunity, were thanked for our flexibility, given last minute (and seniors’) discounts totalling thirty percent of the fare (to help with the cost of the train) and wished well as we set off for the station.
Of course the journey was all that it had been in our memories and perhaps more. Back in Koblenz we may well have retired gracefully to our room to quietly digest all that we had experienced were it not for Joel and Cindy waiting in their motorhome, ready to accompany us on yet another big night out. One day we will work out how it happens that random friends from far away places simply turn up in our path from time to time. Perhaps then such meetings then will be with less incredulity.
When finally we found our hotel we were like kids full of red cordial, minds abuzz with vineyards and castles and fairytale towns and ice cream sundae and laughter with late night schnitzel, not at all ready to tackle the road again on the morrow.