Rüdesheim am Rhein
Rüdesheimer Kaffees in the rain
I woke earlier than usual (3:00 am instead of 4:30 am) and took a look outside to see pouring rain, and the sight of the city of Frankfurt coming into view, so I sat up for a while to watch the skyscrapers slide past – a sight you don’t see too often in this part of Germany.
This also signified the end of our time on the River Main, as shortly after making our way through a series of flood control locks in the city, we reached a final lock that dropped us down onto the mighty Rhine River.
With a few more hours to go before we would arrive in Rüdesheim, and a later than usual breakfast scheduled, I took the opportunity to head back to bed for a bit more sleep.
By dawn the rain had turned to a slow, persistent drizzle, and with no scheduled tours to worry about, we were able to take our time over breakfast and head in to town (with our umbrella) at around 10:00 am. Our main aim for this morning was to wander around a few of the streets (there aren’t many in the old town) and get ourselves a cup of Rüdesheimer Kaffee – an alcoholic coffee drink, invented in 1957 by German television chef Hans Karl Adam.
Our cruise director had promised us that there would be a “choo-choo-train” to take us into town if we didn’t feel like walking, but judging by the cold, miserable expressions on the faces of the passengers as it passed us, I’m kind of glad we stuck with Shank’s ponies.
After a while the drizzle started coming down a bit heavier, so rather conveniently we found outside an inn that advertised Rüdesheimer Kaffees. The making of the coffees is an art, and involves the use of ornate cups made especially for the purpose. First of all, three cubes of sugar are placed into a warmed cup, and warmed Asbach Brandy, a locally distilled product, is poured over and set alight.
The sugar is then stirred into the flaming brandy until it slightly caramelises, then hot, strong coffee is poured over the top.
Added to this is a very generous dollop of whipped cream with vanilla essence. This is then topped with shavings of dark chocolate and served.
We’d been so lucky at the start of the trip to score a nice, warm, sunny day for our trip to the baths in Budapest, but here in Rüdesheim, with the cool, damp air and persistent drizzle, you couldn’t ask for better weather for drinking Rüdesheimer Kaffees.
Suitably toasted, we headed back downhill towards the boat, stopping to buy a glass “boot” as a gift for one of the fellows in our group who was having a birthday today, as well as a box of Rüdesheimer Kaffee cups for ourselves so that we can recreate the experience back at home.