Today we had the morning to spend in Amsterdam exploring and seeing the sights. Our first option was to go to the Anne Frank house, however we arrived and took one look at the line and promptly decided to walk around the city instead. Apparently some people book tickets for the house six months ahead!
Decision made, we wandered over to the I am Amsterdam sign outside of the Rijksmuseum, to get some group photos and lunch. After climbing around the sign we walked up past the pool with two hugging koalas (none of us understood it either) and decided to go and get some lunch. Our trip manager recommended walking along the canal to some cafes further up the road. We had lunch at a quiet cafe in a back alley where, weirdly, every single car seemed to be driving backwards! At least two cars reversed all the way up the street to access the other end.
We jumped back on the bus around 12:30pm to begin our drive to the Rhine Valley. The first view of the Rhine River was absolutely breathtaking, as its surrounded by steep hills on each side. We stopped at the charming village of St Goar, where we saw a demonstration of how to make beer steins. We also got to see the world’s largest free hanging cuckoo clock which was actually surprisingly small.
To top off the day, we had a wine tasting down in a cellar in St Goar. We tasted different wines from the region including several varieties of Riesling and the famous ice wine that Germany makes. Ice wine is quite incredible – they can only create ice wine when the grapes are harvested at exactly -7 degrees Celsius, and it takes 8 times the amount of grapes to make one 375mL bottle of ice wine than to make 1L of normal wine. It retails at around €40 apparently.
Tomorrow we are heading down to Munich to see the beer halls and experience a real German city. I think Germany is my favourite country that we’ve visited so far, and I’d love to go back to the Rhine Valley sometime.