We were up early this morning and had breakfast then got our things and left the ship for a bus which took us through heavy traffic to Konigswinter. It was raining heavily and we did not get a good view of the surroundings. When we arrived in Konigswinter we transferred to a cog railway which took us up to Drachenburg Castle.
We were here some years ago on a Jerry Van Dyke Cruise. Their trip took us all the way to the top where the ruins of Drachenfels Castle are situated. From there you get a good view of the Rhine and its surroundings. Do not think the view is quite as good from Drachenburg, but with today's wet weather it was hard to tell. We had seen Drachenburg Castle from the outside at that time, but had not been inside. It was well worth the visit. We had a good tour of the castle, seeing the main entertaining rooms on the slightly elevated ground floor. The lower floor, which we did not see being the servant's quarters. We saw the private apartments in the upper floor and the music room. It had a couple of unique features. There appears to be an organ loft, but there are only pipes. It is only for show. Apparently they sometimes put on concerts with taped music and at the end the "organist" comes out to take a bow and suddenly the "organ" starts playing again! The other thing is something I have never seen before. It is a bell grand piano. Such pianos are usually asymmetric with the longer strings on one side and tapering to the shorter strings on the other, with the case more or less following the curve of the strings. This piano is shaped like a bell and the strings are placed diagonally over each other allowing the case to be symmetric. When I saw it I asked the guide how the strings were placed to accommodate the shape of the case and she very kindly removed the decorations, opened it up and let us see the arrangement of the strings. It is quite unusual and I had never heard of this before. I do not know how many exist, but I cannot imagine they are very common.
We left the Castle, which never was a castle, but built in the late 1800s as the home of a businessman, but he never lived in it. It fell to his nephews since he had no children and they set it up s a tourist attraction, but World War II caused a degree of damage and the aftermath saw vandalism and looting. A wealthy person purchased it and set about restoring it, but it has changed hands a few tomes and now is being gradually restored and is open to the public.
We took the cog railway back to Konigswinter and or bus which was planned to go to the Cologne Cathedral and most people got off there. We have seen the cathedral before and it was pouring rain so we and a few others elected to stay on and be delivered to the ship.
It was almost lunch time, so we got ready and had lunch, sitting with a couple we have sometimes talked to, but not as much as today. They are from California.
We returned to our cabin and Christine read while I sorted photos and updated the journal.
We then sorted out the purchases we have made and decided how to pack them. I hope there is a little room for my clothes!
We went to the Captain's reception and the disembarkation talk followed by dinner which we again enjoyed with Cilla and Grace. Grace does not want to get off the ship on Wednesday - she has enjoyed this experience so much.
We came back to the room and Christine actively procrastinated her packing. Hopefully she will get it done tomorrow.
Tomorrow we will get a canal boat tour in Amsterdam and some free time. We will need to pack in the afternoon and be ready to disembark on Wednesday morning.