16 August 1999
Monday morning, Tante Ilse picked us up for a trip to the Siebengebirge on the Rhein.
Onkel Kurt came with them, in order to say goodbye to us. We drove him to the bus stop,
so he could take the bus back home, and the four of us were off.
Tante Ilse found the base station for the Drachenfels Zahnratbahn (gear train),
and parked there under the Autobahn. We rode up to the top and walked up to the ancient
castle ruin, high above the Rhein. From that vantage point, the Rhein wound and unfurled
between the green hills. Other castles and ruins dotted the hillsides, high above the
And up to Drachenfels. Atop the mountain it stood, from ages past. You could almost
hear the rocks whisper the secrets of their centuries above the Rhein. Laura strained
to listen, but to no avail.
On the way down, we listened to a dragon puppet in a little coin-operated box tell of
Siegfried the dragon-slayer. An interesting story, from the dragon's perspective.
Then we took the train back down to Königswinter. After finding out what the boat
schedule was, we found that we had a couple of hours to wander around the old town and
have lunch. So after a relaxing (and spicy) lunch, we strolled through Königswinter
through the shops and along the historic river.
On the boat, we rode upriver past villages, castles and churches. Every now and then a
train would run by along the shore. And freighters were always with us on the river.
Just past Unkel, the boat turned, and we headed back down the Rhein.
Tante Ilse drove us back to Lennep, where Dad fixed for everyone a "genuine" Mexican
meal, with beans, cheese, tortilla chips--and everyone seemed to like it. Tante Ilse
and Tante Gertrud drove home, and we sat for a quiet last evening with Michael and