European Vacation – Day 7 – Pumpernickle

A tour group departed for Heidelberg at 8:45 am and the ms Grace cast off her mooring lines at 9:00 am.  We traveled south going backwards (stern first) for a about a kilometer to find section of river wide enough to turn around.  Upon completion of a 180° turn the ms Grace headed north.  We cruised for five hours to Mainz, Germany which is at the confluence of the Rhine and Danube rivers. I am finally starting to get a sense for the geography we are covering.  If you turn (right) west on the Danube River you will go to Frankfurt Germany, Vienna Austria and Budapest Hungry.  When we turn (left) north on the Rhine River we will travel to Cologne, Düsseldorf and Amsterdam.
Here is a photo of ms Grace.
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While Priscilla and I stayed on the boat for the cruise to Mainz you, our gentle readers, should still get the full tour.
Here are photos of today’s tour highlight – the Heidelberg Castle.
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A close up of the Heidelberg Castle.
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The University of Heidelberg has a long tradition as a center of learning, but students at the 500-year-old university have often taken the view that “All work and no play makes Hans a dull boy.” As long ago as the 16th Century, citizen complaints about carousing students led the university to open a Studentenkarzer, or Student Prison, where academic miscreants were kept off the streets for three days to four weeks at a time.
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Being jailed in the Studentenkarzer couldn’t have been too unpleasant, because time behind bars was a rite of passage for many students. The offenses included crimes such as disturbing the peace, womanising, unruly drunkenness, and setting the townspeople’s pigs free.
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For those of you that enjoy dark bread but never stopped to think about the derivation of the name, Pumpernickel is a German verb meaning “to fart,” and Nickel, like Old Nick in English, was a name for the devil, so it actually breaks down as “farting devil.” … Fortunately, though the name stuck, pumpernickel bread evolved into something much more palatable!
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Our tour guide had some good advice regarding how to remember to empty your room safe of your passports and wallet when you depart the ship.  Put one of your shoes in the room safe.
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Our Tauck tour groups are not the only ones being inconvenienced by the low water levels on the Rhine River.

Low water levels on Rhine River disrupt petroleum product shipments ahead of winter

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Low water levels on the Rhine River in Europe have resulted in transportation disruptions for shipments of petroleum products by barge, which in turn have resulted in higher freight costs and higher prices in markets upriver, such as southern Germany. These disruptions are occurring at a time when these markets typically build inventories of distillate fuel for space heating ahead of the winter.  The lowest point of the Rhine River is at Kaub..

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The ms Grace is just south of Kaub and the ms Inspire is just north of Kaub.

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Dinner was another magical event at the Schloss Johannisberger winery.  This is the oldest Riesling winery in the world.  In 1420 the Bishop decried this winery should only produce Riesling wine and 300,000 vines were planted that year.

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The Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Winery

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Some celebrities were sighted at the winery.

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Tomorrow we will transfer to the ms Inspire which was our original riverboat.  The tear in the fabric of the universe has been mended.

 

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