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Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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A Freedom Plaza factual fairy tale

Since word has gone out that Freedom Plaza is considering another European River Cruise, this seems the perfect time to share The Tale of Two Rivers. We’ll call the protagonists Gretel and Gretchen, and this is the way it happened.

The Grand Circle Rivership Rhapsody, with a Freedom Plaza group aboard, was cruising the Rhine River and docked at Koblenz, Germany. The ship was to remain there all day and passengers were exploring the historic river town.

Gretel and Gretchen, however, had another mission. They were determined to buy some of the local wine. After all, they were in one of the world’s greatest wine-growing regions and they wanted to treat their Freedom Plaza friends to a special wine-tasting party. They asked the ship’s steward for directions to the nearest wine store and were pointed uptown to the Kaufhaus, a German Walmart.

With bags for their purchases in hand, Gretel and Gretchen began their trek. Upon reaching their destination they spent hours perusing rack after rack of wine, selecting four bottles each, which they knew they could carry.

Out on the street again they realized that the large square where they were standing actually had five streets leading from it. Now, which had they come in on? They agreed on a likely one and started walking…and walking…and walking. Nothing looked familiar. So they cut diagonally over a block and walked…and walked…and walked and finally admitted they were lost.

Being lost in a city filled with amiable people is not like being lost in a forest with goblins and a wicked witch, but still disconcerting, especially when carrying bottles of wine that seemed to have doubled in weight. They stopped a gentlemen, asking “Which way is the river?”

He pointed it out to them, and they walked and walked some more. At last, they could see water! They had reached the river….the Mosel River. They hadn’t specified which river when asking directions and, of course, Koblenz is the point where the Mosel flows into the Rhine. They remembered seeing just such a marker right before their boat docked.

Well, if the Mosel flowed into the Rhine, at least they knew in which direction to walk. Just go with the flow and try to ignore aching arms. Eventually the two-rivers marker came into view, and they turned a final corner to see The Rivership Rhapsody. Not even Cleopatra’s golden barge could have looked as beautiful!

Needless to say, they had a festive wine party and never got lost again, for Gretel and Gretchen – at their friends’ insistence – always carried bags of bread crumbs after that to drop along their way whenever they left the ship.

You are welcome to join the Freedom Plaza group on their August 2014 European river cruise. Call Peggy, aka Gretel, at (813) 642-1213 for information. Your bag of bread crumbs is waiting.

Peggy Burgess is a Freedom Plaza associate and columnist for The Sun.

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