Officially one of the most beautiful villages in France ( Les plus beaux villages de France), tiny Alsatian Riquewihr nestles among vineyards between the Rhine River to the east and the Vosges mountains to the west. This little commune hasn’t changed much in 500 years and was spared damage in World War II when fast advancing American forces surprised and routed the German defenders before they had a chance to destroy the town as part of Hitler’s scorched earth policies. Advertisements
In the closing weeks of World War II allied armies were rapidly pushing east trying to get across the Rhine River and have a chance to get to Berlin before the Soviets. The problem was that stubborn Germans fighting desperately kept blowing up the bridges across the river just as advance elements of the American army arrived. That all changed at the small German village of Remagen when a brave young American army officer and his sergeant led a squad of soldiers across a bridge and made history. It was like something right out of Hollywood.
After escaping the perilous stretch of the Rhine River rushing past the sirens of Lorelei, a mythical presence that lured gullible sailors into the rocks in an area known as the Rhine Gorge, Kongo arrived at the pleasant little winemaking village of Rüdensheim, Germany and stepped back 1000 years.
The beautiful city of Strasbourg lies a few miles west of the Rhine River on the Ill River. Nothing sickly at all about this ancient French city that was established more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans. These towers on the Ill River were once part of the medieval fortifications that surrounded the inner city.
Kongo visited the beautiful city of Heidelberg a few days ago. Located about 25 miles east of the Rhine on the Neckar River, this center of German culture and education is a DO NOT MISS site on any tour of the region. This panorama was taken from the Heidelberg castle high above the city.
Yesterday Kongo sailed through the Rhine gorge, a section of the Rhine River known as the “Middle Rhine.” This is a spectacular stretch of country filled with castles, charming medieval villages, and perhaps a lurking dragon or two.