Transportation comes in many flavors. The planes have their air lanes. The auto stays to the highways while the train sticks to its tracks. Our boat has its river, in this case, The Rhine. The differences are significant. While in the air I can only get an idea of what I am seeing far below. Granted, it does provide a very unique perspective. The train and the auto, because they are grounded, afford me a view of the surroundings I pass through, but the speed diminishes my ability to take it all in. The boat, well this is where the difference truly shows itself.
The pace of a boat is flat out slow. If you are trying to get from point A to point B in any kind of serious time limit, it’s not going to be your first choice. However, if you really wanted to take in the scenery, then a river boat is a perfect choice. With its wide vistas and its unobstructed views, the river boat gives you everything year eye can take in as every bend in the river provides a new vista. The slow and easy pace will lull you into the relaxation your mind and body could never convince you to take.
We are four days into our river trip and I thought I would describe life on this boat. We rise around 7:30, and check the weather and our location by stepping out on our veranda, really try not to take a trip without one. After reading the daily news summary conveniently delivered to our room, it is down to breakfast. We can eat inside or take our breakfast on the front sun deck where the views rise to meet us. Am I sounding like an over privileged, pampered and spoiled tourist yet? If so, it’s not my fault, for this was the cruise line’s desire to begin with. Well yeah, I confess. Later in the morning, we will assemble on the fore deck to depart the boat in search of our guide. The cruise line has set up an area tour for every day. If I don’t wish to partake, I can retire to the sun deck or back to our stateroom veranda. Today, we toured the 800 year old Marksburg Castle. I may mention that again later.
Afternoon generally finds us sailing to our next site, no fuss, no worries, no work on our part. We can watch the scenery roll by as the river slides quietly by beneath our boat or take in a discussion or two provided by the entertainment host. By this time, unless you are a hermit, you will have met ten to twenty new people from multiple states and countries. If you were diligent, you will perhaps have become travel partners with one or two of the couples you have met. Recalling the names and places is challenging but everyone is forgiving. In our case, we have met a couple with many similarities and have been arranging to do activities together. They are open and warm, interesting and fun. Who knows, we may stay in touch after the trip, for a moment or a spell or perhaps for a lifetime. The beauty is, that for now we are travelers in arms. I teased my wife the first night. While sitting at the bar, I asked her if we should fish or be bait. Fishing meant we would go out and seek couples to talk to. As bait we would sit at the bar and attempt to look interesting. Which one did we choose? Maybe a little of both.
Evening on the boat is a mixed bag. Sometimes, as will happen tonight, we are docked in a port city and we can explore the city center by foot before working our way back to the boat. Other nights, we will retire to the lounge and listen to some entertainment while locked in conversations ranging from family and kids, to current and past careers, next or past trips and anything in between. Still other nights, exhausted from our excursions, we may retire to our state room for an early evening or perhaps a moonlit lounge on the open air veranda, watching the river glide beneath us as we head for our next port of call. No matter what the choice, the day has provided us with sights and experiences that we will not soon forget but that with any luck at all, we will surely repeat.
Got to close, we are off to tour the town of Rudescheim with the goal of finding a cozy place to dine and another chance to lift a toast to tomorrow.