LOCATION: Rhine Valley St. Goar & Munich, Germany
This item is part of my Contiki Trip Series.
After leaving Amsterdam, we made our way to St. Goar and the Rhine Valley in Germany. The area turned into a very hilly region as we got closer to our destination. St. Goar was a small town carved between valleys and had the Rhine River running through the town. Most of the hilltops had castles sitting on top of them. It was the first time I had really seen a castle and it really did seem magical.I enjoyed the quiet quality of this small town that was known for its hand crafted beer steins and cuckoo clocks. Our hotel was an old style German cottage complete with a medieval like key to get in the rooms. It was beautiful to stay in a place like this. Later that night we went wine tasting in an underground wine cellar built in the 1700s. We tasted 4 white wines in a cold, dark, candle lit room that housed all the wine barrels. The atmosphere was incredible, but the wine wasn’t that great.
The next morning we had a few minutes to look at the main shops in town. We went to a local beer stein store where all the steins were handcrafted on site. The store was filled with all kinds of steins and any kind of stein you could possibly imagine.
While the owner gave a lecture on how they were made, I frantically ran around trying to pick out a design I would like and one for a gift. It was so hard to choose from all the designs. There were about 15 walls full of different styles. After, we went to the cuckoo clock store that had the largest cuckoo clock hanging from the outside of the building. I didn’t buy anything in there, but all the clocks were interesting and unique in their old world, traditional styles.
After the short shopping visit, it was time to make our way to Munich. Along the way we passed even more castles and small cottages that seem to represent the town. This was truly a magical place that I would love to go back to again.
Munich seemed to be the complete opposite. It was the city to the countryside and was basically the big shopping mecca of Germany. All the fancy stores you could ever imagine were located in the city amongst old style buildings. In the middle of the square was the Rathaus-Glockenspiel. The Rathaus-Glockenspiel is a building from 1908.
Every day at 11 a.m. it chimes and re-enacts two stories from the 16th century. It consists of 43 bells and 32 life-sized figures. The top half of the Glockenspiel tells the story of the marriage of the local Duke Wilhelm V to Renata of Lorraine. In honour of the happy couple there is a joust with life-sized knights on horseback representing Bavaria and Lothringen. The Bavarian knight wins every time of course. This is then followed by the bottom half and second story: Schäfflertanz. According to myth, 1517 was a year of plague in Munich. The coopers are said to have danced through the streets to bring fresh vitality to fearful dispositions. The coopers remained loyal to the duke, and their dance came to symbolize perseverance and loyalty to authority through difficult times. By tradition, the dance is performed in Munich every seven years. The whole show lasts somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes long depending on which tune it plays that day. At the very end of the show, a very small golden bird at the top of the Glockenspiel chirps three times, marking the end of the spectacle.
*Thank you Shiran for accompanying me on this adventure
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?: Yes, Germany is a very pretty place.
Contiki Travel is HIGHLY recommended. I would do this all over again a million times. www.contiki.com