Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 3 (Part I) - Hike in Rhine Valley

This morning we got up, had breakfast at the hotel, and took the train one stop down to the little town of Oberwesel. I had registered us for a guided hike with wine tasting...but we didn't really know any details about the hike! (It ended up being about 4 hrs...with very steep up and downs!) We went to the meeting spot, and were met by our guide, an older gentleman who was a passionate hiker and mountain climber. There was one other couple, so just 7 of us total. And we started up the steep Rhine hillside... We didn't know what was in store, but some of the spots were very steep, and there were steel railings and foot ladders to help climb. The altitude ranged from 90 to 270 meters (885 feet). The guide was great, explaining things and telling little stories. We walked by lots of grapevines, through forests, over the slate stone. It was really beautiful landscape. At one point we even saw a deer that had been trapped in one of the fenced-in areas and was running around, trying to figure out how to get out!

 At the top of the cliff we met a guy from a local vineyard for a wine tasting. We tasted four of his Rieslings, which were all very different, although they were all grown within 5 km of one another (right near where we were hiking!). He explained the difference between the drier and sweeter Rieslings (and the common misconception in the US that all Rieslings are super sweet!!), which we got to taste as well.  The guy was great...he spoke in English so everyone could understand, and he had spent time in Washington and Oregon and spoke really great English. He talked about this region, how dry the soil is and how special it is for the grapes. He himself is in the 7th generation of running his family vineyard. They used to have farmland too, but in the 1950s his father gave up the farmland and now they just do wine. He had a couple of great little lines about this area, the Mittelrhein. He said they get "sun three times": from the sun, from the river (reflecting), and from the slate (which stores the heat). He said that "wine is like medicine, but you have to drink it before you get sick." :)  He also talked about when you drink young white wines, and when you drink sweeter and drier wines. He said the good ones are called "ring" wines...when someone rings the doorbell you go and look to see who it is before you decide which bottle of wine to pull out. He said there are three kinds of wines: everyday wines, wines for special events, and for special people, good friends. He said that the drier wines are for eating with, and the sweeter wines are for relaxing in the afternoon. It was fun listening to him talk.
empty wine glasses :)

the little pavillion where we did the tasting

 below: successfully finished the hike!! back down at River level! :)


  1. WOW!!! Mormor - I am so proud of you! It looks beautiful...and I am sure it was worth the sweat (& tears?) it took to reach it - have fun!! love you all, Julie

    1. okay...Uncle Reed says the wine was worth it; forget about the sweat!!!

  2. Katrine! Du bist einen aussergewöhnlichen Führer und Gastgeber!!!!!!!!

  3. My palms got sweaty just looking at those pictures of you guys playing mountain goat on the side of that cliff.

  4. yeah, some parts were pretty steep! I was really impressed with mormor's attitude...she was ready to try anything, and keep plugging along, although it got pretty steep sometimes!