“Far across deep blue waters lives an old German’s daughter….” I always sing this song to myself while visiting Germany. Boby Helms’ all-time best selling country tune, “Fraulein,” paints an affectionate tale of romance broken by distance, with the River Rhine as the dramatic setting. And there I was once more in Germany, en route to visit an old friend in Kaiserslautern.

This time I chose to do the trip via one of Germany’s great train trips, the Rhine Express. Officially known today as the West Rhine Railway, it is the easiest way to gain a good understanding of this country in one trip. I boarded the train in Koln or Cologne, home of “cologne water” and perhaps Germany’s most impressive cathedral.

The train hugs the river for much of its journey, passing through villages, towns and cities. Since it goes through the very heart of each burg one gets an intimate view of German life. Whenever I see a window from a train I always wonder what lies behind the shades? Each window has a tale to tell and, on this train, one sees lots of windows.

A short distance from Koln the train passed through Bonn and the picturesque town of Koningswinter where I remembered one cold, snowy day having climbed the Drackenfels (Dragon Rock) near there for a view of the at-that-time capital of Germany. Wonderful scenary.

The Drachenfels reminded me in turn of Wagner’s great opera, “The Ring of Nibelung,” or more popularly known as, “The Ring.” It was on this “mountain” that Seigfried slew the dragon Fafner to retrieve the magic ring through which one could rule the world. The music from the opera sounded in my mind.

Then there was the famous rock, the “Lorelei,” home of the “Rhine Maidens,” the famous sirens who lure boats to their fatal embrace. One easily imagines Siegfried being lured to this promontory by the “Rhine Maidens” seeking to regain the magic ring from him.

I had a comfortable second class seat but decided to go for a real old fashion first class dining experience. The dining room was right out of a movie. Linen covered small table by the window with one of those little lamps that seem only to appear in train dining cars. Real china and crystal tableware. I slowly ate my meal while I watched the passing show.

I felt a bit of loss as the train neared my station to make my change to the local one going to Kaiserslautern. My “Rhineland Reverie” was coming to an end. My only consulation was that I knew I would be there again.

Nota Bene: My original said Drakensbergs instead of Drachenfels. The Drankensbergs are mountains in South Africa which I have also visited. I have corrected the mistake.