The buckets and spades season is over, suitcases are unpacked, souvenirs put away and postcards read. Was it really only a few weeks ago that I was changing currency, checking my passport and wondering where I might find Mass on the Rhine?

I was on a river cruise and we were due to wake up in Rüdesheim on the Sunday. All along the Rhine from Amsterdam, we had said “ooh” and “aah” at the sight of picturesque churches. As we wandered in successive towns and cities so too did we wander along the aisles of churches, learning their histories through our voice guides. It would, I thought, be an easy matter to find a Sunday Mass but as it turned out, Stanley must have had an easier time tracking down Livingstone.

On an ocean cruise the captain will take a church service. Sometimes there are priests among the passengers and whenever we have been in port on a Sunday I have been able to wander along to reception and get details of the nearest church – until recently. Now it seems that information about places of worship has been discarded along with Gideon Bibles and grace before meals.

On a recent cruise to the Caribbean, I found a church in Tortola completely by accident and found there several of my fellow passengers. But Rüdesheim?

Surely that would be easy …

The reaction at reception on the boat was one of surprise. Church? I wanted to go to church? It cannot have been so very surprising given the age group which dominated the passenger list, but it caught the otherwise well-prepared staff on the hop. Nevertheless, the chap on the desk was resourceful and, as we all do these days, went online to pursue his quest.

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