Monday, July 16, 2012

A little Rhine and a lot of Riesling

My daydreams of sailing around the world  turned into a nightmare a long time ago already. I've always been the one turning green at fancy yacht parties and missing out on all the champagne. The rhythm of the deep sea simply never clicked with me.

On a recent weekend trip to visit my friends in Mainz however, the peaceful flow of the Rhine River provided the perfect playground for the kind of boating that I actually can enjoy. 

When it comes to water, I have no need for speed - but I had to learn some trust. My daredevil friends recently passed their boat drivers' licenses as a group and now found a new weekend hobby: hanging around on boat jetties in their nautical outfits and taking turns to play captain. 

At Heidenfahrt, a boating community which is part of the Heidesheim am Rhein area, the spacious Rhine River provides a wide water track for boating enthusiasts.  Not everyone prefers slow motion barging like me and of course there were times when I had to hold on - and even when I had to hold the wheel for a while, heart beating like a cuckoo clock. 

It's a kind of high evoked by all the fresh air and the speed of the boat gliding across the river and the sparkling water and the pretty historical towers peeking out from the beautiful green riverside surroundings - almost like a holiday for the eyes.

Back at the Heidesheim camping and picnic area the rest of the group claimed a spot for a nice bratwurst grill in between the boating and wakeboarding escapades. It was the first time since moving to Germany (and throwing myself into Bavarian beer culture) that I got to enjoy a civilised glass of good wine. 

The Mosel valley along the Rhine produces some award winning Riesling wines and I really enjoyed mouth-puckering fruity but dry sensation of the Peter & Peter Riesling - though it probably would have been a better match with seafood, it made a great sipping wine with a (coincidentally fashionable) yellow-green colour.

We grilled bratwurst and pork steaks and enjoyed it with a selection of homemade salads and potatoes and Italian tomatoes stuffed with garlic, fresh herbs and feta. The wine flowed freely and we ate slowly and in stages throughout the lazy Saturday afternoon.We were also lucky enough to find a gelato and espresso kiosk on the camp site, in order to round off the indulgent meal in a typically European way. 

Of course, my favourite is always German chocolate. Which remains a good ending to any great getaway day - land, river or sky.

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