Rediscovering Germany & Switzerland

Quaint towns, beer & wine tastings offer this solo woman traveler plenty of fun on the Rhine & Mosel river cruise.

Vicki Campbell, a 5-time traveler from Juneau, Alaska, eschews big cities for small towns and outdoor adventure.

Vicki Campbell’s approach to travel is always with the spirit of adventure. Case in point: being 3,200 feet in the air in Boppard on her Romance of the Rhine & Mosel River Cruise. “I hadn’t been on a chair lift since the ‘90s,” said the former resident of ski hotspot Jackson Hole, Wyoming. “Apparently, I’ve acquired this enormous fear of heights since then. But I used to downhill ski and thought it would be easy. The whole way up I kept checking out the trails to hike back. Almost nobody spoke English at the top so I started down one of the roads, not knowing if I’d make it back to the boat in time, which would have been fine. But I went down the right trail, and the fall colors were just beautiful—it turned out to be one of the most memorable days of the trip.”

Vicki’s view from a chair lift in Boppard, Germany.

The foliage on her Mosel river cruise, and the “adorable” towns in Switzerland and Germany, which she hadn’t visited in more than 20 years, are what drew Vicki to the cruise, along with the unique outdoor opportunities like the chair lift, and the stork park in Alsace.

Travelers react to the aviary sites at the Stork Park.

Vicki has made YouTube videos with her vacation photos set to music for many of her trips, including this one (to access it, click here). She said big cities don’t interest her much, instead preferring “scenery and wildlife. I like walking through charming streets, I walk until my feet are killing me and then sit in a town square, like in Europe, and sit and have a drink and people watch—I’m completely content people-watching and resting my feet.”

Vicki had her pick of spirits on this trip, as the fall brought about particularly tasty gluhwein in Riquewihr, and several Belgian beers, including lambics and kwak, an amber ale. “I’m open to new experiences and taking advantage of whatever might be a new or local specialty. There were so many different beers, each with its own particular glass, in BrugesKwak was one beer that has its own holder, as you can’t set it down on a table without tipping it over. At the end of the beer, it’s difficult to drink the last of it without spilling it all over yourself, particularly depending on how much you’ve had to drink. It was a challenge but I took it slowly, and was pretty successful.” Her advice for other travelers on this trip? “Drink more Belgian beer.”

A lambic brew in Bruges has a rosy hue.

Other local specialties she enjoyed were mussels in Brussels, Black Forest cake in Baden-Baden, and regional delights in Basel at a seasonal outdoor market. “[The market] was acres through the forest and the leaves were turning and it was just beautiful. I wanted to try some local food, something specific to this German part of France, and they had German potatoes, cheeses, and pickles that were just delicious.”

Vicki said charming Baden-Baden was one of the highlights of her trip.

Whether wandering markets or trails high atop a village, or scuba diving around the world, Vicki, a solo traveler, enjoys exploring on her own, especially her three days filled with filled with free time on her optional Bruges trip extension. One of Vicki’s Romance of the Rhine & Mosel highlights was also the mineral baths in Baden-Baden, which she navigated to on foot after docking with the help of her Program Director Steven Martinot, “The most outstanding guide I’ve ever had.”

“I always try to get to the hot springs or baths in any place that has them,” including Japan and Czech Republic, she said. Although she had just a few hours in Baden-Baden, she was able to visit 11 pools in one of the bathhouses. “Any time they are in an old building, especially in Europe, that’s fabulous. This was a goal of mine and I was so happy to be able to do it, and explore some of the town, which was absolutely charming.”

Vicki doesn’t even pass up an opportunity to enjoy the water in the Jacuzzis on Grand Circle River Ships. One of her other favorite parts of the vessels is the Sun Deck, where she likes to “take a meal upstairs and watch the passing scenery.” While her travel philosophy many times is just “book a plane ticket and go,” she said Grand Circle River Cruises offer her a great alternative to put up her weary feet, and the variety of dates and itineraries ensures that one will fit her schedule and “wish list.” This past fall she even reserved Romance of the Rhine & Mosel and Eastern Europe to the Black Sea back-to-back, because she was already flying to Europe. Each of the trips figure prominently in her YouTube video montages.

To watch fellow travelers like you in Grand Circle Cruise Line videos describing—in their own words—what made their experiences on Romance of the Rhine & Mosel so memorable, click here.