The morning began with a heavy overcast, rain and chill, which, typically, is not the most ideal for a river cruise at the Rhein River… Or any river! We persevered and met up at 8:45 a.m. in the hotel lobby, silently hoping the weather would eventually get better and those clouds would give us a break to enjoy this long awaited vacant day for leisure.
The train took about one hour to get to our stop; through the drizzling rain, we half-jogged to the dock just to see our boat leaving. We missed it!! Wow, what a morning we thought as we shrugged the chillness and slight disappointment off. Luckily, as we tried to get the best of the situation, we found a beautiful quaint coffee house situated on the edge of the river. Time flew as we chatted away and enjoyed our coffee and teas. In the meantime, our eyes never wandered too far from the dock. We can’t miss the next one!
Phew, we made it! As we boarded, some of us commented on how pleasant it was for us to not have to pay any additional fees to do this boat tour. It has been included in our already purchased ICE/railway ticket. Things were looking up.
Some things in life are just plain consistent; one of the examples was the weather that we endured that day. It was consistently cold with cumulus clouds hanging around, causing a few drizzles here and there.
As the boat left the dock, the journey began and the stunning view of the Baroque styled architectures, stoned forts and castles along the river complete with their surrounding traditional charming villages took our breath and drew us into a pseudo Medieval reality. Soon, we were busy running to both sides of the boat with our camera trying to soak and capture all the beauties.
After a few stops, we ended up at the quaint little village of Boppard in the valley of Loreley. A town of 2000 years of history and population of 17,000. Narrow cobblestone pathways split stores, coffee houses and restaurants led us to the center of the town.
We decided to grab some refreshments at “Choco Bar” restaurant’s outdoor seating in the center of the town square while enjoying the gorgeous view of the baroque styled church strategically located in the front of table. As mid-afternoon came, we raced to the train station while trying to stay dry from the drizzling rain. We made the train and by 5.30 pm, we had returned to our hotel.
Personally, I felt very glad that we persevered that morning to make the Rhein River tour. Perhaps, next time, in the summer time, I shall return, stop at every dock, and enter every castle.
No time for rest, some of us decided to meet in the lobby at 6:30 p.m. for a quick shopping spree and dinner around Zeil Street, Frankfurt’s main shopping street. After a quick shower, we walked back to the train station where we, only about one hour ago, just arrived from. The half-of-mile walk was truly a déjà vu experience. As most stores closed at 8pm, we needed to get there quickly!
Next up, after shopping, was to try some Austrian cuisine, a great suggestion made by our food connoisseur colleague, Christine. Unfortunately, it was “Full House!” said the waiter. We went to another restaurant across the street and it was the same bad news. The restaurants were packed and, unfortunately, we did not have any reservations for six people. Note to selves, when in Frankfurt...make dinner reservation!
The silver lining of our dinner exploration was that we found an amazing Italian restaurant “Paniateco.” We received five-star customer service, amazing food and did we say, five-star customer service? The waiters were very pleasant and out of hospitality, the restaurant offered us digestif Limoncello after our dinner (Limoncello is known as a palate cleanser/digestif).
Overall, we had a fabulous day. Not even the weather could stop this IST team from enjoying the city and what Hessen has to offer!