Monday, 18 June 2012

The Rhine Valley

Hello Everyone,

It was day 22 and nearing towards the end of our Contiki tour. We left stunning Switzerland and were driving back into Germany for our next stop-The Rhine Valley. The Rhine Valley is a magical place which is home to steep vineyard covered mountains and castles. Every town along the route offers cute little places to stay or camp and has atmospheric places to eat and drink wine which is hugely popular in this area. Our next stop was at a small little town on the Rhine River called St Goar.
steep vine covered mountains on the way to St Goar

After leaving Switzerland our first stop was in a town called Heidelberg. This town was so cute and had an awesome hot chocolate cafe that Mia recommended we try out their chocolate spoons. We walked into the shop and chose which chocolate spoons we wanted (I had hazelnut caramel) and then paid for our hot chocolates. We then dunked our chocolate spoons into our mugs of hot milk and whirled them around until they had fully melted before we drank them. They were so delicious and a fun way to drink hot chocolate!
My mug and chocolate spoon


Such a cool way to drink hot chocolate
We didn't have long in Heidelberg before we had to leave so I decided to use Rachael's Skype credit and call my parents on the house phone back in Australia. Ashleigh answered the phone and we chatted about what I was up to and I was asking about her beautiful little baby bump was growing. I had a list of Contiki sites and experiences that I just read off a list to my dad as I felt as though I hadn't told him much about the amazing places we had been travelling to in our short conversations lol He was laughing and asking questions and apparently hogging the phone when mum wanted to speak to me too!lol Dad always likes to hear about the countries I've visited and the sites I've seen where as mum likes to talk about how I'm feeling, if I'm taking my puffer and if I've fallen in love yet ha ha I started crying again when I was talking to mum!Just hearing her voice made me miss her and everyone at home. I was running out of time as we had to meet Mia back at a particular spot and I had 2 minutes to spare. Sally got on the phone and I literally got to say I love you and that was about it before I ran back to the rest of the group. When I got there they were already walking towards the coach and Rachael said that I might have to sing Karaoke!!noooo my worst nightmare!lol Thank god Michael and Emily were later than me and they had to sing a song from the movie 'Grease' infront of the whole bus.

From Heidelberg we travelled onto another small town where we visited a beer stein factory which had over 3000 steins. We learnt about how they were crafted and about which beer steins were their exclusive collector items. They had beer steins for occupations, years you were born, special events and much much more.The limited edition Berlin wall stiens were awesome and even had pieces of the wall stuck onto the top of the stein. Steven bought two mugs that day and I'm sure he will put them to good use when he gets back to Australia!We then had dinner where we got to eat meat, veggies and Black Forrest cake from a small place next to the beer stein factory. We also picked up a 750ml bottle of vodka at the supermarket for 5 euro!lol
One of the largest working cuckoo clocks in the world

Our beer stein talk
Eating dinner in Germany
Rhine River

pretzels in Germany
After driving for another hour or so and we arrived at our next one night stop over-the 'Winzerhaus Hotel'. It reminded me of a pub back in Wellington as ours are quite small just like this one was. We put our bags upstairs  and went straight to our wine tasting. We sat down at a nice long table in a cosy winery where we ate cheese and bread sticks. We got to learn about the history of the winery and the production of wine through short video clips on a projector. The old man was who owned the winery was so nice and told us a little bit about each wine before we sampled them. We started with wines that had a strong flavour and then moved onto the sweeter wines the further through the tasting session we got.

Our cute little hotel stop over

Such a cute little pub

Me, Taylor and Ping at the wine tasting

Famous German Ice Wine

Wine tasting

Beautiful winery

Rachael, Jess, Me and Taylor at the wine tasting

Me and my beautiful Tay Tay

Me and the Vineyard Owner pouring me Ice Wine
We also got to sample the famous ice wine which Germany is famous for and is one of the largest producers of this very sweet wine in the world. Ice wine (Eiswein) is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. It almost tasted like a syrup which was quite nice and if you buy this wine anywhere else in the world it can be up to triple the price. After the wine tasting we went back to the pub and had a few more bottles of wine and had fun mucking around at the tables with our friends. Hamed and Porfirio somehow ended up being challenged to an arm wrestle and it was so funny watching them battle it out lol I think Porfirio ended up letting Hamed win! Then Rachael and I decided it looked like fun and she ended up killing me. She was so much stronger than I thought she would be and her skinny arms were a little decieving baahaa 
Hamed and Porfirio deep into their arm wrestle lol

Rachael holding strong
That night we had twin rooms which towels, a bathroom, nice pillows and sheets which was felt like heaven after sleeping in a sleeping bag and using a micro fibre towel the whole trip. After many bottles of wine I fell asleep in comfort that night. 
Luxury room on Contiki
Love The Ice Wine Drinking Backpacker

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