"This sure is a bumpy ride," said Maggie.
"All these old stone roads are awful. You would think that they would take a little more pride in their roads," suggested Molly.
The old international bus soon came to a slow stop, and the pressure controlled doors flung open. They had arrived at the Marksburg Castle. This would be the only stop today, and it was only a short ninety minute tour so Ashby, along with many other guest on the boat, opted to sit this one out and relax on the boat.
Cheerfully, a man approached the group,"Welcome, to the Marksburg Castle!"
And with a swift motion, pulled a enormous key from behind his back.
"Shall we begin?"
They entered the castle through two large oaks doors. Anything that you have ever imagined a castle to be, this was it. Molly and Maggie were in awe at what they entered. A large open floor plan, stone floors, tunnels, big open kitchens with ovens the size of dinning room tables. Pots and pans hanging from the ceiling, long, wooden counter tops, and a of course, a wine cellar! Next, they entered a very peculiar bedroom. The bed was short, and not very wide, the guide said it was fit for two people, but the girls found that hard to believe.
"In the middle ages, people believed that if you didn't stay propped up while sleeping then you wouldn't be able to breathe," said the guide informatively.
"That would explain all the pillows," whispered Maggie.
Just off of the bedroom was a private chapel, and from there they moved to the spinning room where the maids would spin fresh wool into thread, and then make the clothing for the family. After a short walk down a dark hallway towards the back of the castle, they entered a room full of different types of armor. The guide explained every set to the tourist, and when and how they were used. Molly, however, had her eyes locked on the adjacent room, where she could see many strange things on the walls. Soon, she noticed the crowd beginning to move that way.
"And this is the torture chamber," exclaimed the guide. "The things in here now, however, are the medieval ways of embarrassment."
There was a pigs face, to be worn by those people who talked about others behind their backs; a cage like thing for people who committed adultery; a headdress that fit over the ears of people who told lies; and a stock, that went around the heads of women who talked too much. The last interesting contraption was a metal cage that was in the shape of underwear. This was worn by the women to prevent them from being raped while the soldiers were out fighting in battle. The odd mechanism was also placed on prostitutes that did not pay their taxes, Maggie and Molly found that quiet comical!
Before loading the bus, they stopped by one of Molly's favorite spots in the castle, the blacksmith's shed. There they made horse shoes and tools to be used around the property.
Once back on the boat, after their fifteen minute bus ride, Molly and Maggie sat down for lunch in the dinning room.
"It is such a pretty day outside!" said Molly.
"It sure is, not too hot, not too cold, it's pretty much perfect," said Maggie.
"How about...we put our shorts on and go up on the sun deck while we sail down the river?" Molly suggested.
"OK, that doesn't sound like a bad idea," said Maggie.
They finished up their lunch and hurried to their rooms to change. As they made their way onto the deck, Maggie found two empty lounging chairs. It took all of about thirty minutes before Molly and Maggie realized they were freezing their butts off! In Molly's picture taking spirit, she toughed it out and captured pictures of the many castles nestled into the sides of the mountains and river banks. They passed castles such as the Burg Katz and Burg Rheinfels, which is the largest castle that overlooks the Rhine. It was partially destroyed during the french revolution, but some of the remaining buildings serve as a restaurant, hotel and youth hostile ( a safe place for students to stay while they travel).
Further down the river, the boat steamed past the largest vineyard in Germany. It was such a beautiful sight. The vineyard was situated on the sides of the mountains that towered along the Rhine River. Marcus, the cruise director, came over the loud speaker.
"To the left of the boat is the largest vineyard in Germany. There are over one million sticks of grapes planted in the vineyard. When harvesting, the workers start from the bottom and work their way to the top."
Molly soon began to get even colder, she flipped over and put her back to the wind, and ironically, fell asleep. After waking from her short nap, it was time for dinner. As the sun slowly set, the beautiful scenery began to fade, soon it would be time to start another day.
--------------------------------------------------------The next morning Molly attended a German lesson, which she found pointless due to the fact that it was just a crew member reading over a list of words. After the lesson she sat with a couple from Dallas,TX, Mr. Blewett and Mrs. Jane Gardner . Molly absolutely loved them! Mr.Blew found interest in Molly life back home in Georgia. Her animals, Opie in particular, and all of her pictures that she takes. He was fascinated by her boyfriends small scale pig farm and his success over the years. The two sat for over half an hour and talked about anything and everything.
Finally though, after a fourteen hour trip, the boat docked at Miltenburg, Germany. Maggie and Molly were in group four. They met up with their group, and began walking. They were a mere ten feet from the boat when Molly realized that she left her SD card in her computer. She turned around to find that the boat was sailing off to Freudenburg, the dock up river where they would reboard the boat that evening.
Dismayed, Molly and Maggie caught back up to the group for the walking tour. Shortly into the tour Molly turned to Maggie and said,
"What?" questioned Maggie.
"What do you say we split and take an early free time?" suggested Molly.
"That's fine with me," stated Maggie,"all that I've learned so far is that this is one old town."
"Before we go though we need to find that church that we're supposed to meet back at after free time," said Maggie.
It wasn't very long before the two sneaky travelers located the church, and purposely fell behind the tour group. After walking down several alleyways they stumbled upon the most precious house with a quaint little garden, it was absolutely beautiful. They walked up further and found a set of stairways that soon led to an overlook of the whole city. It was a picture perfect sight, but oh yeah, no SD card! While looking down at the road, Maggie noticed something,
"Um, Molly, I think that's our tour group!" as she pointed down the street below them.
"Oh crap! Let's go, it probably wouldn't be a good thing if she spotted us away from the group," said Molly, "then she would know that we didn't tip her for the tour!"
Full of laughter, the two friends hurried down the stairs and onto the main street. First stop, find Molly a new jacket. During all the hustle and bustle between flights, and pulling Ashby away from the beer fest, Molly had lost her fleece Columbia jacket. After searching in a few shops, Molly finally spotted a jacket that she liked. It was a waterproof jacket with a cotton lining on the inside, and it was a very pretty lavender color which, ultimately, sealed the deal!
After another hour of shop hopping, Molly and Maggie found a coffee shop and decided to get a snack. Maggie got a couple of pastries, and Molly got Tiramisu. Molly proclaimed that it was the best Tiramisu that she had ever eaten, but then she thought about it, and realized, her mothers was slightly better. After a while longer of walking around the city, the two sugar bugs found an ice cream parlor and couldn't resist getting a bite.
Shortly, the two outlaws made their way back to the bus for the ride down the mountain, and back to the boat. One bus ride down the mountain, plus one full stomach of sugary treats, well lets just say they didn't mix, and our Molly, inevitability got sick!
Back on board the boat, Molly met back up with Mr. Blew and Mrs. Jane to watch the glassblowing exhibit, while Maggie borrowed her computer. After the demonstration, Mr. Blew bought Molly an Amaretto Sour, and just before dinner a Cosmopolitan, which was surprisingly strong, and left Molly with a lingering buzz throughout the evening meal.
Molly and Maggie soon went off to bed, and anticipated the events of the next day, knowing it was sure to be another exciting day on the Grand European Tour.