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DESTINATIONS SPECIAL


FURSTENBERG CASTLE


There are numerous historical sights along the banks of the Rhine, such as the ruins of Furstenberg Castle in south-west Germany


THE LORELEI ROCK


The St Goarshausen area is famous for the legend of the beautiful yet fateful Lorelei siren


A Rhine cruise almost has too many highlights to


EXPLORING AMSTERDAM


The Netherlands’ largest city boasts a wealth of canals, museums and galleries


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mention. The architecture, canals and art museums of Amsterdam; the busy cities and elegant shopping boulevards of Germany’s industrial heartland, from Düsseldorf to Cologne and Bonn; Koblenz, Boppard and Rüdesheim, in the midst of the wine-growing districts; and the exquisite city of Heidelberg on the Neckar, its ruined castle considered to be the most magnificent in the whole of Germany. Following the river’s flow, from south to north, there are highlights all along the way. Quite a few Rhine cruises call at the medieval city of Strasbourg, the cosmopolitan capital and cultural centre of the Alsace region of France. Alsatian café culture dominates the lifestyle of the locals and attractive squares are surrounded by old half-timbered houses. The focal point of the city is Place Gutenberg, named after Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, who lived here for a while in the 15th century. A highlight of any visit is the massive hulk of the


Cathedral de Notre Dame, the highest medieval building in Europe, its viewing platform 332 steps up inside the tower.


| APRIL/MAY 2012


It’s well worth the climb for the vista of the Black Forest beyond the colourful roofs of the old town. The river flows north from here through the Black Forest


A RHINE CRUISE HAS ALMOST TOO MANY HIGHLIGHTS TO MENTION


to Speyer or Mannheim, both jumping-off points for the historic university town of Heidelberg. As it approaches Mainz, the banks are lined with sun-drenched vineyards. Near Rüdesheim, the Rhine enters its most beautiful stretch, carving a deep valley through two mountain ranges, the steep slopes flanking the river used for large-scale wine growing. You’ll see strings of pleasure boats on day trips, as well as the slightly incongruous sight of heavily laden industrial barges ploughing through the water past quaint little villages with ornate weather cocks and graceful church spires, scarlet geraniums cascading from the wooden balconies of the immaculate old houses.


There are several ‘musts’ in this area and most Rhine cruises feature the most popular ports. One of them, Rüdesheim, in the heart of the Rheingau wine-growing area, is famous for the wine estates on the surrounding hills, the products of which are celebrated in the famous Drosselgasse, a pretty, narrow street packed with bars and wine taverns.


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PHOTOS: ISTOCK/ANNA RUTKOVSKAYA


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