After dinner at Heidelberg we drove to Wiesloch and had a very comfortable stay overnight at the Best Western Palatine. Next morning, leaving about 9am our bus headed out to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley passing the ferry at Ingelheim, and continuing on to the wine growing region of Rudesheim and the Drosselgasse on the Rhine.
We enjoyed a pleasant walk through the Nature Reserve (didn’t spot any deer) on our way to view the Neiderwerald Memorial, an impressive 38 metre high figure of Germania, commemorating the re-establishment of the German Empire in 1871. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a fine day there is a great view of the Rhine river and surrounds below the memorial.
A huge sign at the Nature Reserve shows the Rheingauer Riesling-Route for wine-tasting and wine festivals in the region. This route stretches over 70 km from Lorchhausen to Florsheim and looks very inviting. The area has history dating back to the Romans and a landscape dotted with medieval castles, monasteries, churches and wine growing estates famous for their German Riesling.
Drosselgasse and Rudesheim
Along the Rhine river as you enter Rudesheim stands the remaining tower of Boosenburg Castle from the 12th century. The attractive adjoining residence is Neo-Gothic in style dating from the middle of the 19th century.
Rudesheim is a very pretty city with a warm friendly atmosphere in the wine growing region of the Rhine Valley. The main street, built in 15th century is known as the Drosselgasse, today it was almost elbow to elbow. The narrow cobbled pedestrian street is 144 metres long, lined with ancient buildings and shops with beautifully carved timber panelling, clay reliefs, stained glass windows and decorative wrought iron work.
In the middle ages the Drosselgasse was once frequented by boat owners who moved freight along the Rhine from town to town. Along Drosselgasse many attractive cellars and taverns for wine tasting beckon you in, enticing gift shops with beautiful handcrafted items, and a guaranteed warm welcome to visitors. Rudesheim is one of the most enchanting and friendliest of cities we visited on our tour. There is a tourist train that covers the city area for visitors, if you don’t feel like walking.
Romantic German Castles
After lunch we headed to the river to embark on a cruise to view the romantic German castles and castle ruins along the Rhine river. There are some 40 odd German castles along the Rhine, I think we viewed about 27 of them. It was quite fascinating to see so many medieval castles along the riverbank in such a short span of area.
We cruised slowly past the town of Bacharach, a very pretty village with a history dating back before Roman times. I think it would have been nice to stop off here. Its name is probably derived from the Roman God of wine Bacchus. Above the town lies the German Castle of Stahleck, now a youth hostel. Bacharach has three interesting landmarks easily seen from the Rhine. The Market tower in the foreground once part of the old town wall, to the right Peterskirche (church) and slightly behind the church to the left, the ruins of Werner chapel. Wernerkapelle is a memorial and has a tragic history.
Pfalzgrafafenstein Toll Castle
We learnt the history of the Pfalzgrafafenstein as we gently glided past. It is rather an odd-looking German castle, due probably to its place on a rocky island just off the shore near Kaub. King Ludwig of Bavaria built the Toll castle in 1327 to control the waterway on the right side of the river following a dispute with the then Pope. Ludwig refused to bow to the Popes demands, sometime later between 1338 and 1342 a 12 meter high defensive wall was built around the tower. In 1970/71 the baroque colour scheme of red and white was restored. The toll castle stands very picturesque and in a unique position on the Rhine.
Modern Cargo boats
Not that familiar with cargo boats, I found the length and sleek design of these cargo boats traveling up and down the Rhine pretty impressive. Noticed this one-off shore as we cruised along the Rhine.
The tourist cruise boat very trim and sleek gave a very comfortable ride. The deck area a bit crowded by the time our tour group added to the numbers already on board. The service for food and drink was excellent and everyone was happy; all in all an enjoyable river cruise on the Rhine.
Disembarking at the town of St. Goarshausen, caught a glimpse of the famous rocky cliff of “Lorelei”. Lorelei is the name of a beautiful Rhine maiden who, according to legend lured navigators of the Rhine to their doom with enchanting singing. The Lorelei is a steep slate rock soaring some 132 metres above the water line on the right bank of the River Rhine in the Rhine Gorge. It marks the narrowest part of the river between Switzerland and the North Sea. Many boats have come to grief here because of a very strong current and rocks below the waterline.
The vineyards in this area owned by the Counts of Katzenelnbogen since 1395. Amazing how much fertile ground lies behind the rocky foreshores of the Rhine. The terraced hillsides of grape vines, reminds me of the rice terraces in China.
There is also a “Lorelei” statue of a beautiful maiden that stands about 16 feet high, it sits on a narrow arm of land jutting out into the Rhine River between St. Goar and St. Goarshausen, we caught a glimpse of the statue as we drove out of St Goarshausen.
With some reluctance our tour group disembarked at St. Goarshausen, just loved this trip up the Rhine. The old German castles on the rocky cliffs conjure up visions of romantic maidens, jousting knights and battles of another era. The town of St Goarshausen is very picturesque with a medieval tower on the river bank and Katz Castle on the rocky slope high above the town.
Back on our tour bus we spotted a speeding train as it came out of the tunnel on the opposite riverbank. Further on we passed the Broomserburg Castle, a solid square Keep Castle built on the site of an earlier Roman tower. It has vaulted ceilings and walls of more than two metres thick, very effective against enemy attacks. The block castle sits near the edge of the Rhine at the northern end of the town of Rudesheim. The castle has a fascinating history; built in about the year 1000 and becoming home to many knight’s dynasties. It now houses the Rheingau’s wine museum. Return to Frankfurt
It seemed to take no time at all before we reached the autobahn to Frankfurt leaving the views of green wineries in the distance for the rich yellow fields of rapeseed by the roadside. Arriving back in Frankfurt we had time for a quick look inside St. Bartholomew’s Cathedral and the excavations of the ruins of ancient Roman baths nearby.
In Romer Square four attractive young women provided some really good entertainment, we found something light to eat for tea while we listened to their lively music. The coach took us back to our hotel. Thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Rudesheim and Drosselgasse, and seeing the historic German castles along the Rhine. Bavaria is so green and clean, so much history and magnificent palaces, forests and castles; a wonderful trip.
Tomorrow – the train to Amsterdam – a new adventure – so looking forward to seeing the fields of tulips and whatever else Amsterdam has to offer.
- Heidelberg City – the old town
- Heidelberg castle ruins Heidelberg
- Konstanz on Lake Constance-romantic road Germany
- Beautiful Lindau the island on lake constance
- sightseeing Munich Bavarian capital romantic road germany
- Romantic Road – Nymphenburg Palace – Munich
- Ettal Abbey and Pilgrimage Church
- Garmisch-partenkirchen ski resort – Oberammergau village
- Extravaganza – Schloss Linderhof | King Ludwig
- Hohenschwangau Neuschwanstein Schwangau
- Beautiful Schloss Neuschwanstein
- Abbey of St Mang’s Fussen Bavarian Alps
- Beautiful rococo Wieskirche beautiful Bavarian alps
- Augsburg Fuggerei village settlement
- Dinkelsbuhl medieval fortifications-medieval city wall
- Rothenburg – a beautiful medieval town
- Romantic Road attractions Germany
- Romantic Road Frankfurt Germany
- Bavaria Germany Wurzburg – along the Romantic Road