Once again the little train was waiting for us as we stepped off the AMAPrima. We had several options for this morning but we decided to stay in Rudesheim for our tour of Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Museum. This is a stop for almost all river cruises and one most people would have overlooked on their own. The building isn’t very large and you can do the tour in about 45 minutes to an hour.
The museum is housed in an old fifteenth century historic building in Rudesheim around the corner from the main street. This museum was founded by Siegfried Wendel who began collecting and restoring these old mechanical musical instruments. Some of these instruments were one of a kind and you will not see it anywhere in the world.
Other instruments were one of only several hundred. People would donate to Siegfried old instruments for him to restore. For those that he could not restore he saved them so he could use parts from those instruments to restore other instruments that could be salvaged For those instruments, Siegfried was able to take parts and pieces from those that would not be restored and put them in the ones that could be restored. These mechanical musical instruments were used to entertain people in the 19th century. You would see these at World Fairs of this time.
As we were taken around by our period dressed tour guide she explained some of these instruments and was able to have a few played for us. Who doesn’t remember the organ grinder? Obviously there was no live monkey but we did have the organ and we could take turns “grinding”. One of their prized possessions is a machine that is a combination of a piano and six violins. The one that drew me in was somewhat grotesque – it was a machine that had lots of puppets in it and some of those puppets were little monkeys with what appeared to be real teeth in their mouth. I was mesmerized but repulsed at the same time.There were about 350 mechanical instruments from the small music boxes to these large mechanical instruments.
When the tour ended we were given tickets to ride the gondola up to the a famous statue and a beautiful view of the river. If you would like to listen to some of the music these machine played, click here and here. We were riding over the vineyards and if it had been earlier in the fall, we would have seen the grapes and the workers harvesting these grapes for the vineyards. We gathered at the top with our tour guide and began our walk but for us it was too much German history that we were unfamiliar with. We said goodbye to our group and took the gondola back down and since it was almost 11:00, we decided it was time to stroll through the Christmas market.
If you go on a Christmas Market river cruise, you might want to make your purchases here in Rudesheim. Items that I had seen at other markets, were here as well but they were less expensive. Perhaps because it was early in the day as far as the market is concerned, it was not very crowded. It was a very pleasant experience walking around here. I thoroughly enjoyed this market and other than being in Strasbourg, this was my favorite market. There was a restaurant where the entrance was lined with about forty Christmas trees. Christmas trees were all over the place, even leaning against a store on the outside. We found a Christmas trees made out of crates – you could make a tree out of anything!
We were given the option of walking back to the ship or going to the meeting place to catch “the train”. My travel mate took the train, I walked back. The night before in the dark I thought it was going to be a long walk home but in the light of day, it wasn’t. All I had to do was point my feet downhill and walk to the river and then take a left.
We left around 1:00 in the afternoon so we could cruise the Rhine Gorge while it was still daylight – remember sunset happened around 4:30. This is the section of the Rhine where there are many castles and the famed Lorelei Rock.
Legend has it a siren was sitting on the rock, combing her golden hair and sailors would be so distracted by her beauty that they crashed into the rock. Here is a song about Lorelei sung by Ella Fitzgerald.