The GOETHE is part of the Middle Rhine

The “Goethe” is back. After being forced by the pandemic to take a break for a year, the magni­ficent boat of Köln-Düssel­dorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt is sailing in the Middle Rhine Valley once again. On board the faithfully restored paddle steamer from 1913, the KD Nostalgia Route takes you through the whole Upper Middle Rhine UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cruise starts every day at 9 am from Koblenz and goes to Rüdesheim and back. On the way you pass romantic Rhine towns including St. Goarshausen, St. Goar, Bacharach, Assmannshausen and Bingen. Let’s take a closer look. We’ll start in Boppard.

Safety first

As if pulled by invisible cables, the historic boat approaches the small town of Boppard. The “Goethe” winds around one of the Rhine Valley’s meanders and glides gently towards the KD jetty. This is not far from the train station, directly on the Rhine promenade. When you board the boat, you first get a little something “on the house”: there’s a dispenser with hand sanitiser in the entrance area so every guest can disinfect their hands. Markings on the floor guide visitors easily to their seats in the saloons or on the open decks. The hygiene and protection concept drawn up in the 2020 season has proved successful and is being constantly enhanced, ensuring that visitors feel safe on board. “We strictly follow the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute and the local health authorities and adapt our measures quickly to the current conditions and situations. The official requirements can vary from city to city and from state to state,” says Nicole Becker, Head of Marketing and PR at KD.

“The guests are totally happy that we are on the road again. And so do we!"

Tips for a visit to Boppard

An extra tip for your next visit to the old Roman town of Boppard: the town in the Middle Rhine holiday region comes up trumps with many places of interest. These include the Roman fort, the Carmelite church, the Electoral Castle, which is also home to the museum of the town of Boppard with its famous Thonet exhibition, and the church of St. Severus. The creative years that composer Engelbert Humperdinck spent in Boppard are commemorated, among other things, by a sculpture in the town centre. This shows a group of almost life-size figures depicting the artist and a girl and boy in the style of his fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel.

The Middle Rhine via ferrata offers a change of pace and rewards climbers with a stunning view of the Rhine Valley. Passengers on the “Goethe” certainly enjoy this. The Rhine carves its way to Rüdesheim through the Rhenish Slate Mountains, taking guests through a unique cultural and natural landscape. During the river boat cruise, the KD TourGuide delivers interesting facts about the sights to the left and right of the river directly to smartphones via Wi-Fi.

Bite-sized schnitzel

“Here’s to a pleasant journey”: Four lively, elderly ladies have made themselves at home in the Sessenheim saloon. “We’re so happy we can finally do something together again,” says Elisabeth Zimmermann. The idea for the river cruise came from her sister Maria. Her friends Monika Busch and Karin Reifenrath were keen to come along right away. The women boarded the boat in Bad Salzig. Now they toast each other with water. “Don’t worry,” they announce, “we’ll change drinks later.” Later is around 1 pm.

Shortly after the boat has passed Oberwesel, the lunch menu is perused. They’re in the mood for schnitzel with chips and salad. Appetites seem to vary within the foursome. Karin wants a small portion. “Do you have your child’s ID card with you?” the service employee asks with mock sternness. “No, but I have my senior citizen’s card,” counters the lady with the small appetite. When the food is served after a short while, the waiter acts surprised. “The kitchen slipped me a small schnitzel. I guess I’ll have to complain.” – “No problem. Give it to Karin.” The mood is splendid. And not only because of the tasty schnitzels and the bottle of white wine that has replaced the water, as promised.

Waiting for international passengers

“Our passengers are delighted that we’re sailing again. And we are too, of course,” says restaurant manager Sergio Cadeddu. The 56-year-old has been working on the “Goethe” since 2002. His KD history goes back even further – 1983 was his first season on board. “I still miss the international passengers and am already looking forward to welcoming guests from France, America and Asia.” “Goethe” captain Andreas Warz is also glad to be back on the river. After 28 years in the service of Köln-Düsseldorfer, last year was the first time the 55-year-old spent an entire summer on dry land. “I really enjoy sailing. What am I supposed to do on land or in port for so long?”.

Day-care tots are “Goethe” fans

He wasn’t the only one who has felt a bit lost lately. The captain knows from quite a lot of feedback how much people have missed the boat with the distinctive paddle wheels driven by hydraulic motors. “Especially the characteristic tooting of the steam whistle. One resident puts the potatoes on when the ‘Goethe’ whistles, a bit further on, another puts her daughter to bed,” Andreas Warz reports. Among the most enthusiastic fans are the girls and boys in a Kamp-Bornhofen day-care centre. The tots stand at the fence and chant “Goethe – flöte” (whistle) when the 83-metre-long boat passes by. “One thing is clear: the ‘Goethe’ is part of the Middle Rhine. It’s a kind of floating landmark,” says captain Warz happily.

Spectacular times on the Rhine!
The new KD event ship

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