Advertorial – Delve into the splendour of Europe with Craig Travel as we cruise along the Enchanting Rhine River onboard a beautifully appointed AmaWaterways vessel. The Rhine is the second longest river in Central and Western Europe, after the Danube, at about 1,230 km in length. With two departure dates in either May or September 2020, our river voyage will take us through four different countries starting with Holland and moving on to France and Switzerland before settling in Germany to take in a spectacular performance of the Passion Play in Oberammergau. Prepare to be amazed by the medieval castles, lush vineyards, and picturesque villages that line the narrow banks of this vital river passage through Europe’s interior.
The Rhine is often noted for its immense beauty and inspiring landscape. Over 500 medieval castles, churches, ruins and fortresses line this narrow riverbank. Paired with the region’s lush vineyards, timber-framed houses, cobblestone streets, and friendly people, exploring the towns and villages along the Rhine feels like stepping back in time and into a fairy tale. The majority of these castles were built by local princes between the 12-14th centuries when the Rhine was being used by merchants as a major trading route. Some of these castles are nothing but ancient relics now, while others have been lovingly restored and lavishly renovated for travellers to explore.
Many great artists have been wildly invigorated by the beauty of the Rhine, with its castle-lined banks inspiring plays, operas, and literature by the likes of Wagner, Goethe, Beethoven, Hugo, Turner and Byron. After an influential visit to a small Rhine town, Mary Shelley wrote her classic novel, Frankenstein, and both the car and the bicycle were invented along the riverbanks. Come be inspired by this powerful symbol of European unification, where these disparate countries share both borders and a unique blending of culture along the river’s edge.
As we sail our way down the Rhine, we’ll have the pleasure of visiting several different countries, each with their own unique flavour. In Holland, we explore Amsterdam with a scenic canal cruise through the city known as the “Venice of the North.” In France, we visit the picturesque town of Strasbourg, which is renowned for its black and white timber-framed houses, covered bridges and medieval watchtowers. In Switzerland, we head into the mainland to visit Zurich, where we’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the city’s Renaissance-era architecture. Much of our exploration will be along the German Rhine: visit the fabled 13th-century Gothic cathedral in Cologne, enjoy a wine tasting at a local vintner in Rudesheim, tour Medieval Speyer and a 13th-century gate tower in Mannheim, and explore the historical old town of Konstanz, which remains relatively unchanged since the Middle Ages. Finally, experience a highlight of the trip by seeing the Passion Play performed in charming Oberammergau.
Each decade since 1634, this small Bavarian town has transformed itself into a massive Passion Play, depicting the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The play started as a pact with God, while the Bubonic Plague was sweeping through Europe. The people of Oberammergau made a solemn vow that if they were spared from the plague, they would come together as a community to share the life and death of Christ every 10 years. Miraculously, the plague took no more lives in the town and so the tradition continues. Over 2,400 residents bring the story to life as actors, instrumentalists, singers, and stage technicians. The play itself is performed on an open stage against a backdrop of mountains and sky. Experiencing this wonderful spectacle of pageantry is one of the highlights of our journey to the Rhine and is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Experience everything these Enchanting Rhine cruises have to offer, from strolling through quaint medieval villages and sampling the local wine, to experiencing the grandeur and pageantry of the Passion Play in Oberammergau. Contact one of our Cruise Specialists today and secure your cabin, or call Craig Travel at 1-800-387-8890 for more information.