The Rhine promenade is already busy when we board the MS RheinPoesie on this Wednesday morning at Burgplatz in Düsseldorf. In a threehour journey, the sophisticated event yacht will take us leisurely up the Rhine from Düsseldorf to Monheim am Rhein. We secure a place on the sun deck and enjoy the view before building our strength with refreshments from the extensive lunch buffet.
We disembark in Monheim am Rhein in the best of moods and well-sated. There, we receive a warm welcome from the MonGuides. Our small group remains standing at the Rhine and we learn that a little further down the river, an interactive eel fishing museum has just opened in the restored Aalschokker “Fiat Voluntas”. We take note of this as a tip for our next visit and move on to the Marienkapelle directly on the Rhine promenade.
The Marienkapelle, built in 1514, is one of the oldest places of pilgrimage in the archbishopric of Cologne and attracts 10,000 visitors annually. The small chapel owes its fame to the special
current conditions of the Rhine here. Wondrous powers have always been attributed to Rhine kilometre 714. What goes into the Rhine here comes back again and again – they say. The picture of the Virgin Mary from the chapel is said to have been washed up again at exactly this point after it disappeared. This riddle has an almost magical attraction for tourists, our MonGuide explains.
At our first stop we also get to know the Gänseliesel. The figure from the Monheim coat of arms is waiting for us in front of the chapel with an information board. Her goose has left blue footprints throughout the whole town and leads visitors to historical places. With the MonGuide at our side, we also benefit from insider knowledge. In this way, we learn about the liaison of the Gänseliesel and the Spielmann, a legendary mountain figure. In 1955, the Heritage Association had the town’s two identification figures marry. Since then, they have appeared every year as a traditional couple in the Monheim Rose Monday procession with a historical pageant.
Past the traditional restaurant “Zum Vater Rhein” and the listed Deusser-Haus, we move to the old town church and the Kradepohl fountain. A glance at the guild pole makes it clear: the people of Monheim love carnival. As opposed to what is usual elsewhere, the pole does not represent the town trades, but rather the traditional carnival associations. Our city guide has some especially good anecdotes about the “Monheimer Altstadtfunken” association.
At the Schelmenturm, one of the landmarks of Monheim am Rhein, we learn that the single red-yellow window shutter is also a carnival-related peculiarity. The former master carpenter had promised the former president of the “Altstadtfunken” association his own shutters and painted one side yellow instead of white. The tradition continues to this day. The aforementioned legendary figure of the Spielmann also features in the history of the Schelmenturm. In 1615, the Spielmann is said to have crossed the very low waters of Rhine while playing violin in order to reach the Monheim fair. He was accused of being in league with the devil and was immediately locked away in the Schelmenturm, which served as a prison at that time. Nowadays, the 79 steps of the former fortification tower no longer lead to damnation. Instead, they constitute the first step to happiness for some, as couples have been able to gives their marriage vows here since 2000.
In Monheim am Rhein, tradition and modernity go hand-in-hand. Houses from the time of the founders have been lovingly restored and traditional inns such as the “Pfannenhof” are joined by modern cafés such as the “Café Liebe". Of course, it goes without saying that carnival also has to feature in the historical city centre.
In the Karnevalskabinett, the digital children’s prince and princess greet us with a loud “Monnem Helau!” As a brave man poses with the prince and princess for a “Stippeföttche” photo, the anticipation for the next carnival season already begins to rise. Anyone who feels they can’t wait that long can get a clown’s nose to go from the machine at the museum exit.
After walking for an hour and a half, everyone is looking forward to a relaxing end to the day. We reach Tina Gethmann’s beer manufactory in the best of moods. The restaurateur recently took over the restaurant at the Alter Markt and leads us into her newly furnished brewery. We take a seat on the comfortable wooden furniture and learn how Kölsch and Alt beer transform to “Költ”. Then it’s time to say goodbye. The members of our editorial team treat themselves to a large ice cream from the trendy new ice cream parlour, before walking past the busy water playground in the Rheinbogen Landscape Park back to the jetty. In the distance, we can see the MS RheinPoesie awaiting us in the sparkling sunlight.
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