Trip along the Rhine
‘Ja, een reisje langs de Rijn, Rijn, Rijn’ ( ‘Yes, a trip along the Rhine, Rhine, Rhine…), my father immediately started singing, when I told him I would be accompanying a river cruise on the Rhine.
A classic, both the Dutch song and the trip!
With all classics, they capture the imagination, excite and are timeless.
In this blog you’ll read about my experiences aboard the ship HS Advance. There are a lot of companies which offer a Rhine river cruise. At the bottom of my personal story you will find the information about the tour operator Friendship Cruises for which I have guided this specific trip. The trip lasted a total of two weeks. I accompanied the one week track from Basel Switzerland back to the Netherlands.
The philosophy of Kampen and Beyond: connection and boundless discovery. Exactly what this trip is all about! The Rhine river is the great binding force connecting Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands. A journey with beautiful excursions along the waterways and over land, through mountains and valleys: the beautiful nature of Lake Lucerne, Monastery Maria Laach, cities like Mainz and regions like Alsace and the Eifel, to mention just a few of the highlights.
Jantje (John) of Leiden
I literally start in my hometown Kampen, where I get on the train to Basel to embark there the next day. What a mighty fine feeling to see the IJssel River still flowing in front of my doorstep in the morning and to get off at its source, the Rhine, in the evening (see photo 1). Talking about connection!
The train trip was very comfortable. By the time my kids start their first sandwiches at school, I am already in Germany! In Hanseatic city Münster, I have quite some time to visit the city and see the cages in the top of the Lambert Church. In one of these cages, the lifeless body of John of Leiden was once displayed. I made up my mind to put in a 100 percent effort on this trip and not to get away with any nonsense and misbehave like John of Leiden. Around the Münster Cathedral there is a lively market and I saw plenty of beautiful historic buildings. I will definitely come back one day!
From Münster directly to Basel in six hours where I arrive by early evening.
Just a hundred paces to the hotel and there we are: what a relaxing first day of traveling, with already many impressions of cities and landscapes along the way.
With my nose in the butter
The Netherlands is all about, windmills, tulips, cheese and butter. That’s why we have a lot of expressions connecting to them. For instance when we say: ‘met de neus in de boter’ (literally: ‘with your nose in the butter’) we mean that we arrived at just the right time. So I felt as if I dropped ‘with my nose in the butter’ when the next day a full-day excursion is immediately scheduled. And what an excursion it was! The photo gallery below gives an impression of Lucerne and the famous Kapellbrücke (2), the cruise on Lake Lucerne (3 and 4) and the steepest cogwheel railway in the world which, with a maximum gradient of 48%, takes us to the top of Mount Pilatus. In the photo (5) you can see that I may look a bit pale and am clutching rather convulsively at a little bag one of the participants gave me for safekeeping. What an experience! With my nose in the butter!
The excursion in Switzerland is figuratively and literally one of the highlights of the trip. Most of the guests have also signed up for this day, which gives me a good opportunity to get to know them better.
During the week I was able to get a good picture of the way of traveling and the guests. Also a lot of thanks to my colleagues Ben and Jacqueline who accompanied the entire trip. Their involvement with the guests and thinking in terms of possibilities were very inspiring and educational!
This way of traveling gives you all the space you need to retreat alone on the sun deck (6) and enjoy the scenery that slowly passes by, as well as to find conviviality and connection in the cozy restaurant (7). You only have to unpack your suitcase once and your sailing hotel offers you a new panorama behind every bend. The most famous bend of our Rhine trip is, of course, that of the Loreley (8), the most romantic part of the river. In the morning I get up early to (usually) stand alone on the deck to awaken my romantic soul at sunrise (9)…and moving on….:)
This mode of travel allows guests to experience a great deal. What to think of, while you are having breakfast, your ship descending in a lock. You sink down as well and the room slowly becomes completely dark!
The excursions are a bonus. In the gallery I have included photos of a guided city walk in Basel along beautiful viewpoints and quaint stores (10), Bonn (11), drinking Rüdesheimer Kaffee together and walking through the Drossel alley (12 and 13), Mainz (14 and 15), Monastery Maria Laach (16 and 17) and a trip on the cable car in Koblenz with a beautiful view of the point where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet (18). In the photo you can see very nicely that the water of the Moselle is darker colored.
Setting the sailes!
The voyage is almost over. For the first time in my life I will be sailing into Holland (19). As a tour leader I hope to be able to set my sails soon! (20).
Text and photos: Reinier de Wit, founder of Kampen and Beyond. Photos of me were made by my colleagues.
I did this river cruise for Friendship Cruises. The full description of this trip can be found HERE (in Dutch)