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Rhine in Flames Day 4

Another free day, but this time John and Jen were offering a short ride for those interested. I sorely needed to get back on my bike in a non-emergency scenario, so I went along in company with around half the group.

The day started with a river crossing on the ferry that departed not far from the hotel. Once on the opposite bank, we rode alongside the river, with views of a distant castle, then through a town and into the wooded hills, where, halfway through a bend, I saw a creature bouncing around in the grass and slowed to get my best ever look at a red squirrel.

A short stretch of motorway followed and the weather, fine and dry when we set off, took a turn for the chilly and misty. This was a pity, because our destination was a famous viewpoint, the Drachenfels. We took the little railway to the top, peered hopefully out at the cloud-covered, Wagnerian forests, and ate currywurst.

The journey back followed the same route as the journey out, and was just as pleasant in reverse. Jen was riding pillion with John, and turned in her seat to take photos of the bikes behind as we leaned through the bends. I enjoyed a brisk overtake of almost the entire group, only for my bike's intermittent fault to kick in necessitating an embarrassing stop to turn the ignition off and on again. Back on the ferry, I located the balcony of my hotel room across the river and waved to Howard as we approached.

This evening was the pièce de resistance of the tour: the Rhine in Flames itself. It's a festival of fireworks, with villages all along the river putting on displays. We were to enjoy a dinner cruise, culminating in a ringside seat at the climax over Koblenz Castle.

Soon, we realised that our 400-person craft was merely one component of a vast flotilla, and that the others had better music than us (we seemed to be on the all-ABBA vessel). Police and fire boats travelled among the cruisers. Soup was served, then a mystery meat I helpfully translated from the menu as veal.

The first fireworks went off along the banks, and there was a scramble for the deck. John, taking his responsibilities as tour leader seriously, led me by the hand through the crowds so I could get a good spot:

"Move down the bus, please. Coming through. Got a child here, it's her birthday."

Red lights lined the river, and music drifted across from the other craft. We travelled under a bridge and came to rest with our stern towards the castle, causing a rush of passengers from the front to the rear deck. We stayed where we were, relishing our newfound elbow room.

Up the river, a ship blasted its horn. Others followed suit, and I braced for the blare of sound from our own. Then the disparate hifi systems coordinated to bring us Bond themes as fireworks burst above the castle. Breathtaking, awesome and a little bit cheesy, like all the best things in life.

It would have been nice to have been transported straight to bed as soon as the fireworks ended, but we needed to turn around and ply our way back to Boppard. We resumed our seats in the dining-room and wondered about coffee. A jolly German gentleman who joined us turned out to be the ship's owner, and ordered everyone an ice cream on the house. This, along with flagging down a waiter to demand hot beverages, perked everyone up to a state where we could make a nuisance of ourselves by standing in the gangway near the DJ, dancing to YMCA and Cotton Eye Joe. Hotel and bed 2am.

Miles: 131.2

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Red squirrels are just soooooooooo adorbs!!!! 😆 (first time EVER saying/typing that. lol)

It is too bad about the view being covered by the clouds, but the fireworks sound amazing! !! Sounds like they were definitely worth the crowded conditions at times.

And, more importantly, who doesn't love FREE ice cream?! 😆😉🍦🍧🍨

Am enjoying this review, btw!

Thank you! ^.^ Not long to go now :)
A red sqrl! How neat! I've still not actually seen one in person. Still, even the greys are pretty cool sorts. ^_^

Bah! Pity about the weather at the Drachenfels.. bit like the time we visited the Jungfraujoch (highest station in Europe! 13,333'. Signs everywhere cautioned people not to run - not so much out of the risk of slipping, as the fact the air pressure was 660mb at the time, displayed on a giant LCD board of meteorological conditions), so we were basically in the middle of the clouds at the time, with not a great deal of visibility once there. Though some outstanding views on the way up on the funicular, including some glaciers.

Currywurst! Why can't the UK have currywurst stalls everywhere, instead of kebab vans? Not that I have anything against a good kebab, but ye gods, they're a pain to actually try eating unless you're back home, with full cutlery and a plate to let it all flop out onto.

Has the ignition fault been dealt with? That sounds quite unnerving.

the others had better music than us

An all-ABBA evening sounds pretty cool to me. =:D

dancing to YMCA

I rest my case. =:)

The fireworks sounds fairly amazing. That's got to be quite a memorable setting for a major display. ^_^
The fault has been going on for...about a year now, and diagnostics have thrown nothing up.