After spending two weeks in Holland with Minnie and Quentin, whilst their Dad (our son) entertained guests on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, we went on a whistle-stop tour of four other countries.
Frank and Lynne joined us on Thursday night, and on Friday we left for Germany. We made a perfect choice when we decided to stay in Boppard, on the banks of the River Rhine. The tourist resort had everything we needed from the quirky and reasonably priced hotel, to the recommended local eating houses. Because of the weather on the first day we took a boat trip up the river, and were introduced to the majestic ancient castles on the hills along the way. A few drinks and some food helped us to relax and ignore the grey skies, and we played our favourite card game.
The weather forecast was right, and the day after we were able to hire bikes and we rode 42km in the bright warm sunshine visiting quaint historic villages along the way. So, it was cakes (massive!) and coffee in St Goar, and iced beer in Oberwesel. It was along the road from the impressive hotel where we slurped the alcohol that we found a touching and thought provoking memorial; a Star of David symbol and the names of the Jewish inhabitants who were tragically deported and murdered.
The cycling was great fun, and we crossed the river on a short ferry which then enabled us to travel back on the opposite side.
From Boppard we travelled to Luxemburg, and again stumbled upon an interesting village Ehnen famous for it’s vineyards and impressive walks. After a ramble through the hillside rows of budding grapes, we sipped glorious Rose and Riesling wine on white chairs in sparkling sunshine, and laughed a lot. There was a period of concern in the early evening as we watched a low flying helicopter spraying vast quantities of pesticides onto the vines…and then there was a debate as to the effect on the environment and on individuals.
It was great to be able to converse with the locals in French, though we discovered that most spoke Luxembourgish! Never heard of it….
The day after there was mutual agreement that the idea to go to Bruges for our last night was a good one. We set off early and once more found great lodgings near the city. The bed and breakfast accommodation was situated above the owner’s spa and treatment centre, what a haven it was! The rooms were contemporary, stylish, and very comfortable. We will most definitely go back there!
Lastly, we spent a few hours in France; our last relax in the sun. We sailed across the English Chanel in warmth and comfort...and for the first time beheld the white cliffs against clear blue.
God Bless the Queen!