A day in the Rhine Valley

Trip Start Aug 25, 2006
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Trip End Jan 07, 2007


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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tuesday Oct 10th I toured the Rhine Valley from Wiesbaden and Eltville to just north of Boppard am Rhein with Juergen. For anyone who has ever traveled this valley, you know it can really not be described in words or captured in pictures. The Rhine Valley is lined with beautiful fortresses and castles dating back a 1,000 years. Juergen, who I had meet earlier in the week while in Frankfurt, was my host for the day. Juergen works for Lufthansa Airlines and, similar to Eric, my first host in Frankfurt, has traveled the world extensively. We had tried to plan a short air hop to Krakow, Poland for a couple days; however, there was a large convention in Krakow so there was not a hotel room to be found. [At least not one that would meet Juergen's five star standard! :-) ] So, instead, we decided to spend a day touring the Rhine Valley. He has access to Lufthansa's employee rental car fleet, so we rented a Ford "fiasco" for a mere $16 Euro per day and set out towards Wiesbaden and the Rhine Valley beyond. About halfway there, we realized we should have inquired into one of the few available convertibles as it was shaping up to be a gorgeous day. Oh well, next time.

Pictures that I uploaded to this blog include Ruine Ehrenfels which is a 1208 fort in the middle of vineyards on the east side of the Rhine. Next you will see Rheinstein Castle on the west bank. It is claimed to be one of the most beautiful castles along the Rhine. Next is Burg Reichenstein from the 11th century. I found an interesting travel log and history written by Tim Vogel in 1993 on the web here or since the castle is now used as a hotel, you can also find some history on the Hotel Burg Reichenstein website. The next picture is of Burg Sooneck which was built in the year 1000. Next was Die Pfalz which is a 14 century toll station built in the Rhine River. Brief, interesting summaries of the Castles along the Rhine River can be found here.

We continued our drive up the east side of the Rhine as far as Loreley, then came back to the village of Kaub to take a car ferry across to the west bank of the river as we wanted to see the famed Loreley from a distance. After stopping for a few pictures of the Loreley, we continued our drive up to our planned destination of Boppard where we took the Sesselbahn
(chairlift) up to the top of the mountain for a spectacular view of the Rhine valley and a loop back in the Rhine River. There was an interesting restaurant at the top, with this incredible vantage point of the river, where we were able to sit outside and have a late lunch at PanoramaRestaurant GedeonsEck. Continuing my tradition of trying all the local fare, I had Eintopf mit Wurst which is a traditional stew made with whatever happens to be available. Juergen tells me that many of the older generation will not eat eintopf since for so many years during the war, it was all they had to eat. The entire time we had our lunch there was a parisailor (is this the right name?) who took off repeatedly from the cliff only meters from our table and circled the valley, landing back where he started. The afternoon was beautiful, sunny and warm. The conversation engaging and the views incredible. We had tableside entertainment in the parisailor, lunch was good, although sure to interfere with the planned dinner in the Castle Schwarzenstein. Since the afternoon was wearing on, we finally tore ourselves away and took the chairlift back down to Boppard. We took one of the many ferries crossing this time from Boppard over to Kamp-Bornhofen and began our drive back south down the east side. Our planned destination was the Castle Schwarzenstein which sits above Schloss Johannisberg where we planned to have dinner in this spectacular restaurant recommended by one of Juergen's friends. After wandering through multiple Rhine villages including Eltville, Erbach, Oestrich, Winkel and Johannisberg, we finally made our way up to Ruine Schwarzenstein. As promised, the place was spectacular. The last picture in the slideshow is taken from the terrace dinning room, overlooking the grape arbors and Rhine Valley. Unfortunately, we were both still quite full from the late lunch (damn that Eintopf!), so found it hard to justify what would surely be a 200+ Euro dinner. Fortunately, the waitstaff recommended an almost equally nice venue at another restored/converted castle right on the river down in Eltville. We made our way back into Eltville (I think for the 4th or 5th time today!) and had a very nice dinner at Burg Crass getting away for only 75 Euros.
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