Rhine Rain Go Away

June 29, 2008 in Europe, Germany, Travelogue

< ![CDATA[  At the suggestion of a friend in Germany we spent a beautiful day floating down the Rhine river, from Koblenz to Mainz, on a Wednesday... as kids float for free that day! Boarding the boat was much simpler than boarding the train, thankfully! The Rhine river is a fast flowing river that snakes its way between steep peaks dotted with fairy tale castles and story book villages along its banks. We lost count of the castles as the children compared turrets and discussed which ones would be easiest (or hardest) to attack and why. We sipped our iced tea and visited with a school group of American teenagers on a three week whirlwind tour that was three times more expensive than Megan's three month tour with us. She was amazed... and happy to be here longer! The warm, cloudy, morning turned to a cool gentle rain, and then to a thundering downpour with flashes of lightning reflecting off of the water. We took refuge inside and peered through the rain streaked windows at the passing hills covered with vineyards for miles: home of the famous Rhine wines. When the rain finally passed Hannah quietly disappeared to the upper deck. Half an hour later I found her there, playing her violin for the pleasure of the deck passengers and herself. She provided pleasant accompaniment to the passing scene and it is an auditory memory that I will store for a lifetime. We were met off the boat in Mainz by the whole of Germany turned out for the soccer play offs: Germany vs. Turkey, and our e-mail friend Evelyn. Evelyn had driven two hours in the driving rain with her friend Lori to greet us and bring us our first real German dinner: dumplings of some sort with a pork meat sauce that was heavenly. We ate until we were stuffed and the sun was long gone. The Germans won their soccer game and we heard the whole of Mainz cheer for another hour while fireworks crackled in the background. It was eleven when we hugged Evelyn and Lori good-bye and tucked them into their van for the long drive home. Who drives four hours to greet total strangers and feed them a hot meal? I guess we know the answer. It was such a blessing to have them for the evening and for the first time in a while we felt like we had extended family.]]>