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Rhine River in Winter

Hello there,

My husband and I are travelling from Frankfurt to Cologne via the Rhine River in mid December 2014 and I was looking for some advice on the points below if possible.

* I have heard that the Left side (Left Rhine Line) is more scenic but only goes from Mainz to Cologne. We are happy to catch the train from Frankfurt to Mainz then change. Which site is the best to buy the tickets from? We would like to buy them in advance.

* I realise that at that time of year not everything will be open. But can anyone suggest a couple of towns that have a good amount of things open for us to stop off on the way? We would like to visit a Christmas market and a castle if possible and just sample the local food and wine.

* With the train ticket mentioned before, can we just hop off and on as we like?

* We will have our backpacks with us. Is there anywhere to store them when you get off the train?

* Any other tips/advice that people have would be appreciated.

Thank you!

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