As much as we love seeing the USA in our RV, the trip I’ll likely remember the most was our River cruise along the Mosel, Rhine and Mainz rivers of Germany (the castle cruise). We did the cruise for our 30th anniversary, almost 10 years ago but I was cracking up at how many campground photos I had and thought I’d share here. It was amazing how extensive the RV campgrounds were all along the German rivers. One of the biggest reasons for those campgrounds is for the young migrant workers that come from Romania and other countries to harvest the grapes along the steep slopes along the rivers. Apparently the U.S. is not the only country with an aging population no longer able to harvest crops and a younger generation focused on tech and healthcare jobs?
What attracted us to a river cruise was the smaller number of passengers and you unpack your suit cases so your room feels more like a home base (much like our RV has become for us). The other thing that sounded appealing was that all tours began after a relaxing breakfast on the ship and no matter how many tours you did that day, you returned to the ship at a later stop along the river. Somehow they managed to pass through the scenic areas by day and through industrial areas by night so if you stayed on the ship on any day, you had some great scenery.
After our excursions in London and Paris, we rode a bus to Luxemburg, did another tour and then onto Trier where we boarded the river ship. The river cruise went down the Mosel with stops for castle tours at several towns ending at Koblenz where we got onto the Rhine river. From the Rhine went moved onto the Mainz until we reached the Mainz-Dannube canal which took us to our final river destination at Nuremberg. After touring Nuremberg, we took another bus to Prague and did some tours before flying home.
Due to rules imposed across the river valleys, more than 94% of the wine produced must be be made from the Riesling grapes to help the economy along the river. Even though most of the wine produced is Riesling, there were many types of red and white wines to pick from on ship. Our all-inclusive cruise included food, water and wine, but milk, soda, beer and mixed drinks were extra charge (we found this very odd, but got used to it quickly).
Maybe it’s keeping the memories alive, maybe the wines are just that good, but in either case we have come to love Riesling wines since our river cruise. The castle tours were incredible. Our trip was only seven days on the rivers, other itineraries can be 7-21 days depending on the cruise chosen. For first timers the 7 days on river was plenty and that gave us four “on land” days in London, three in Paris and two days in Prague in addition to the cruise. You could start in Amsterdam and go all the way to Budapest via river ship with up to 21 days on the rivers.
With so many campgrounds and so many sights to see, a long RV trip would be a great followup to the river cruise some day. I did not see any Class A motor homes, only tents, trailers and Class B/C motor homes. I did find one RV rental company and I’m sure there’s many more (http://www.go4motorhomerental.com/europe-campervan-hire/germany/dusseldorf/).
We still have several other trips on our bucket list, maybe someday maybe we can sneak an RV trip across Europe into that bucket! Most of the photos below are of the campgrounds I snapped photos of, but I did include a few of the other sights from the cruise itself. Since we took over 1000 photos, our Europe trip would need to be a series of posts on a non RV oriented blog 🙂