International Travels & Services

Introduction

My Europe Travel Diary(016): Sailing on the Rhine

Out of all the rivers that I saw in Europe, the Rhine was the longest and the widest. It runs 1320 km from the northern Alps in Switzerland, through Austria, France and Germany and drains into the North Sea near Rotterdam in the Netherlands. 

It was raining a little when I got on the boat but the weather soon changed, becoming sunny. Perhaps because I had got wet in Cologne, I had caught a slight cold and stayed in the cabin, and only went on deck when I heard people’s excitement when there was a beautiful view. 

The river was so wide that we could really see only the mountains in the distance; the houses and the castles were so far away that they appeared to be tiny. 

Most of the castles are on the slopes of the mountains and are khaki in color and have spires. Of all the countries that I visited, Germany had the most castles, why? I’m not sure, maybe it has something to do with wars. 

The most beautiful view was to be had while the boat was turning. The mountains on either side of the river seemed to overlap and the river appeared to be wider. The green mountains together with the orange houses, yellow castles and the sound of the bells from the distant churches formed such a beautiful view that there was exited shouting from the deck and I couldn’t help but run from the cabin to take some pictures. 

When I sat in the cabin, I asked for a soft drink and some chocolate. I enjoyed the quiet and wrote my travel diary and for the first time chose some postcards for to send to my friends, which I wrote out later while we were on the road. 

When I saw a picture of a boat on a postcard and also when I saw real boats on the river I could not help but think of the Chinese saying: “A boat sailing against the current must forge ahead or it will be driven back.” Whatever we do, whether it’s our daily work, running a website, managing a company or even learning a foreign language, then just like the boat that sails against the current we must make progress every day otherwise we will fall behind. The world, just like the water in the river, always goes forward and we not only have to keep up with the times, but we have to create something new at the same time to keep the advantage that we had. Continuous innovation is vital to a corporation or a website; otherwise it will not be able to survive against the cruel competition. This is the challenge every manager and employee must face in this, the age of the Internet. 

When I thought of this, I wrote the following words on a postcard to a friend and teacher, who is working very hard managing a website: 

I would really like your career like the ship on the Rhine River to be lucky and fill away. 

While I was in the cabin, I met a lovely German boy, about 5 or 6 years old, with a round face and big blue eyes and wearing bright red clothes. It seemed that he liked my camera and he often smiled at me, I liked him so much that I asked his mother if I could take a picture of him. She agreed and so I took my second picture of a European child. I got such a wonderful and warm feeling from taking a picture of such a lovely child. 

Our trip on the Rhine finished at dusk and we drove on to Frankfurt. That day was the first of October 2000. 


--Shirley 

Written on 1st.,Jan.,2001

Edited on 14th.,Oct.,2004 

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