December 26, 2006 - Christmas on the Rhine, Day 4pm (cruising to Cologne)

At lunch, we head back to the boat to leave Mainz and start the long cruise to Cologne, through some of the prettiest areas of Germany.
Many houses have their own private vineyards.

This is the largest Oestrich-Winkel I've ever seen!
(No, I don't know what that is, but we think it has something to do with pulling cars out of the river. These people are crazy drivers.)

We pass no-name towns with castles and cathedrals all day.

Then we pass some castles with no town nearby at all...

St. Rochus Chapel

Rüdesheim, Germany

Another view of that cool tower.

This is Mauseturm, actually an old toll tower from the 1300s.

Cool terraced hillside with a statue near the crest.

The Niederwald Monument is supposed to embody the spirit of Germany.

Ehrenfels Castle

Across the river from Ehrenfels...

Back on the other side is Rheinstein Castle...

...and its neighbor, Reichenstein Castle

I can't find the name of this castle. Cool, though.

Just some town... They all looked like this - tall houses, large church steeple, and either another chuch and/or a castle overlooking it from a distant hillside.
So picturesque!

Stahlek Castle overlooks the village of Bacharach.

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, in the middle of the Rhine river.

Ben is clearly enthralled...

Gutenfels Castle

Schönburg Castle

The town of Oberwesel

Katz Castle

Rheinfels Castle

Everyone enjoys the castle-viewing as we drink wine, hot chololate (it is cold and very windy out), and - of course - play cards.

Tomorrow - Cologne