The Rudesheim Christmas market more than met my expectations of a Christmas market scene in Germany. When Alan and I walked from the AmaWaterways Amacello into the small German village, we discovered a winter tableau worthy of the front cover of a Christmas card. After crossing some rail tracks near the pier, we climbed the hilly, cobblestone lanes that wound their way up the hill from the Rhine River. Snow crunched underfoot as we browsed the outdoor booths resembling chalets that displayed tourist trinkets, a few handcrafted items, international goods and lots of tempting foods. Glüwein stalls sold cups of steaming, mulled wine—the perfect beverage for staying warm. And the scent of live evergreen decorations mingled with the odors of food and wine creating a holiday smell that I will not soon forget.
Our day had begun with Amacello cruising through the Rhine River Gorge, where castles guard hillsides that overlook charming villages. This area of the Rhine is a UNESCO World Heritage site (as is Rudesheim) and well worth a return visit.
By the time Amacello had docked, Alan and I were ready to explore on our own, choosing to skip the narrated walking tour provided by AmaWaterways. A crowd of mostly German visitors increased throughout the Sunday afternoon and soon the streets were packed tight with shoppers, children, strollers and family pets. The scene became a bit too hectic for us, so we ducked out the side entrance to the village, which is where Alan took this photo, before walking back down to the ship.
To read more about this trip of a lifetime, visit the Rhine River Christmas Market Cruise page.