. After a short wait we boarded the boat which was a bit like a river ferry with a level that had inside seating with tables with chairs and benches and then a large open area that on the top level that also had tables of differing heights and more chairs. We enjoyed a little wine while cruising down the river (it seemed like the thing to do) and gazed at the gorgeous country side and storybook towns and castle on the banks. The interesting thing was that not only had these castle been around for centuries, including the well known 1000 year old castle which towered over the small town of Oberwesel, but many of them are still is use, multiple being used as youth hostels. Derek thought that was pretty intriguing but as no one agreed to come back and pick him up he decided to put that plan on hold. We floated by Lorelei Rock which has been the site of numerous shipwrecks throughout the centuries and therefore became the basis for the popular fable known as the Siren of the Seas. It is said that a siren used to call to the sailors as they were passing and would cause them to head towards her, hitting the rock and sinking to the river bottom. We got off the boat in St. Goar which has been a city in this area of the Rhine Valley since the 7th century when a monastery was established here. We sat outside and people watched while taking in the sites and another good meal. After that there was a trip to a local bakery for a little sweet treat, some more wandering around town and then back to the boat. The weather was very warm and while Mom, Dad, Derek and I sat up top on the return it was little much for Max who was able to take a little nap that started after his bottle on the boat and lasted all the way back to Ludwigshafen. We decided to make dinner at the apartment so we left the little family of three to themselves and went grocery shopping. It’s always a fun and interesting experience to shop locally in another country and we became mesmerized by all the different types of cheese and sausages that you can buy. Derek was able to pick up a few of his newest love- German pretzels- and we had those as a pre-dinner snack. It was fun cooking at the apartment, everyone did a little something to help and we enjoyed the meal in the largest bedroom/living room….how very European.
Saturday started with a quick breakfast and then piling into the cars for a trip up the Rhine River. Ludwigshafen is on the Rhine and we had seen it but this time we started out of the city center and met up with one of the many "Romantic Roads" of Germany, the Deutsche Weinstrasse (German wine route). This part of the region is known for its Medieval castles and you can see them on the right and left all along the road as you drive. We drove just over an hour to the town James had picked out Bacharacher Hahn. It was a small picturesque wall town directly on the Rhine, and looked like it was just out of a storybook with its original wall still intact. Besides castles this area also has an immense number of vineyards that were scaling some incredibly steep hills, producing mostly white wine. Wine from this area is more expensive because the growers are not able to use machines and must use manual labor in order to pick their grapes. One of Amy's goals once she was here was to go on a boat on the Rhine and this seemed like a perfect spot to make that happen