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This is Germany - Rhine Valley and Loreley

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    This is Germany - Rhine Valley and Loreley

    During our stay at Schoenburg Castle - see the Hotel-Rooms-Chapter - we did a days walk along the most famous part of the Rheinsteig, a 320 km long trail along the Rhine Valley from Wiesbaden to Bonn. Our walk followed the trail from Kaub to St.Goarshausen, 23 km with wonderful views and the visit of the famous Loreley rock, where the blond haired Loreley disorientated the captains down on the river while singing and combing her long hair. The legend says, that many ships sunk in the river or were destroyed on the rocks...

    Well, like real CVers, we startet our walk on a ship, the ferry Kaub, which brought us to the other side of the Rhine. Way behind you see the castle.

    In the middle of the river is the castle Pfalzgrafenstein, where you had to pay customs in the middle age. People without money or goods came to jail, and you can see her bones still today in there...

    In Kaub you have to climb up through the wine yards.

    People, which need a rest, can have a drink here with a beautiful view. But be careful, just wine, no water. We had another 22 km to walk, so we closed the doors again.

    View from the opposite side to our hotel, Schönburg Castle. Can you spot our room on top of the tower?

    The trail opens very often new and impressing views on the Rhine Valley.

    Outstanding rocks high over the river are giving again that feeling like playing with a model railway...

    This is the dangerous passage along the loreley rock. The river is up to 30 meter deep here and currents and maelstroms make navigating quite difficult.

    Traffic lights are necessary here. You see that there is not much room for the ships. Sometimes pushing ships with 2x2 barges are passing this place. This coal freighter is heading to Stuttgart, our hometown.

    Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

    View back to the rock where we were standing some minutes before.

    There is nothing special to see on the top of the Loreley rock. Just ugly souvenir shops with even uglier souvernirs, a cafe, all looking just the same as everywhere in the world. We climbed down along the Castle Katz to St.Goarshausen.

    Here we waited for the ship, which carries us back to Kaub.

    Lots of traffic on the river...

    Soon our captain was pushing inbetween the queue.

    Having the Loreley rock to our left, we had to wait at the traffic lights. Did the captain see the signs?

    And here is the reason for our stop. A double barge was coming down.

    ...and a train was passing...

    ...not much space...

    Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


      While i was jumping around and quite a bit in a hurry because of so much motives passing by, my less infected wife had a rest and a cup of coffee.

      Soon our hometown for the weekend, Oberwesel appeared. And of course, "our" castle.

      In Oberwesel is the control centre for the traffic lights at the Loreley.

      A nice coloured train was overtaking:

      Approaching Kaub and the ferry that will bring us back to our car.

      Seems that the captain is proud of his engine.

      A Moto Guzzi California, in minimum ten years older than our one, but in perfect shape... and with perfect sound.

      Last edited by Ralf__; April 12th, 2010, 18:31.
      Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


        On the next day we spotted a courious thingy on the river.

        Approaching slowly nearer... a solar boat???

        (you could clearly hear the outboard motor)

        A nice place to live, isn't it? Seems that nobody was working on the tower since years... maybe a nice renovating project for someone?

        And finally, a typical wineyard, where you can have a taste and fill your trunk for the way home.

        But not us, we stopped instead at an asparagus stand at our way home and opened the season with 2 kg fresh asparagus in the evening. We prefer our Riesling from Neckar more than the Rhine Valley Riesling. We have more sun and therefore the vintagers don't need to add so much sugar to the wine than those at the Rhine Valley.
        Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


          We left by car to St.Goar to cross the Rhine again. While waiting for the ferry a quite heavy loaded freighter was passing by.

          Then our ferry approached.

          First on, first off.

          Bye Bye Schönburg Castle.

          Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


            Loved the hotel thread posts, and now we get to accompany you throughout the rest of your trip!
            This is rather different for me in that unlike your wonderful travel reports from Germany that I’ve previously enjoyed so much, this bit of the Rhine is an area where I’ve actually been! More than once! But there’s a but, a very big but . . . it was a very long time ago!

            So much so that it all rather blurs together, but there was a Rhine cruise with my parents, the only holiday I went with them after I had left home, and there was a trip with friends from my time in Cambridge. The latter involved a tent. The only reason I’m mentioning all this is that I am puzzled about the photographs I may or may not have taken on these trips. There is an extremely remote possibility I might even be able to dig out some black and white prints of a couple of places you visited, which, given the span of time, might better belong in a then and now thread.

            Anyway, somewhat back on topic, I am definitely remembering the Phalzgrafenstein castle. I would love to be able to say I remember YOUR castle, but there were a lot of castles. . . but I do of course remember the Loreley. Enough remembering generally of all your trip to really appreciate the reverse views of the river from the surrounding viewpoints, a similar pleasure to that pakarang and hurtigutemartin have given me on their drives around parts of Norway seeable from the sea voyage.

            Food and drink - You are so right about the Neckar Riesling. Fresh asparagus already, now that’s really something.
            But now I have to go back to the beginning and spend time looking at the barges. Oh and look there’s a ferry for you know who . . .(there wouldn’t be any difficulty getting a 100% view of the bridge of that one in a single photo!).

            Absolute delight Ralf, thank you so much already, and that’s just a first look.


              Absolutely fantastic Ralf... this is the kind of reports I love seeing and reading. They have the ability to open my eyes to so many places in the world which I normally never would have read about or seen.

              The landscape of the region is absolutely fascinating and I would love to have spent a few days there wondering around, drinking wine and climbing mountains.

              The narrowest passage is quite difficult to navigate I can surely understand, especially with the length of those longest barges. Lots of skill at work from the Captain and his crew, no doubt.

              I didn't quite understand the river's traffic lights though...
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                Oh, Ralf, you have put tears in my eyes!! These are the first photos I've seen of St. Goar in 25 years...I knew this area like the back of my hand--just down river from Mainz, my home for 3 years....

                Originally posted by Ralf__ View Post
                ... vintagers don't need to add so much sugar to the wine than those at the Rhine Valley.
                Now Ralf...don't you go messing with my beloved German wine...

                High quality German wines-- Prädikatswein--(or before 2007, what was called Qualitätswein mit Prädikat--that's what I've always known it as) does not allow for chaptalization, or the addition of sugar.......süßreserve, yes, and in extremely tightly controlled limits, but sugar, no.....

                One of the happiest times of my life.... warm summer day, in Nierstein, sitting at an outdoor cafe next to the Rhein, drinking a delicious bottle of Spätlese....ok, first a Kabinett, THEN a Spätelese, then an Auslese...then an Trockenbeerenauslese...and I think then a half bottle of Eiswein.

                We had the most charming young waitress. When we ordered the auslese, the owner of the restaurant came out to see just what kind of American "army people" knew to order the good stuff. He sat with us and shared a glass and was most charming.

                The reason I remember it so well is 1) that was the first time I picked a trout out of a tank, then had it for lunch!!! Simply almondined and paired with that kabinett....glorious.

                and 2) Our waitress was so good and kind to us, at the end of the 5 or so hours we had been enjoying the day, we tipped her 50 marks..which for us was about 15 USD... but she looked at us like we were crazy, then she broke out into the sweetest smile....

                It was a good day. I think of it every time I open up a bottle of German wine. Which I think I shall do...right NOW.

                Thanks for reminding me of that day, Ralf!!!


                  The traffic lights show for the upgoing ship, where and which kind of ship is coming down. Here is a link with a chart. It is English German mixed, i think you will understand, if not, please ask:


                  Elisabeth, it is a big sport in Germany kidding people from other regions. The people in the Rhine Valley love their wine and sweet wine culture, and most of the vintagers are able to produce very good wine. But in history - and in case of companies of Deinhard, Pieroth and so on until today - they are also responsible for incredibly bad wines ("Liebfrauenmilch"), where they mix all together and make it sweet with "Süßreserve". If we meet some day in Germany, i will take you to a wineyard maybe in the Freiburg area and we will taste sweet wines completely without "Süßreserve". That is why we are kidding the Rhinelanders...
                  Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


                    One thing I DEFINITELY found out whilst living in keep the really GOOD wine THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!


                      Right. Here in the Swabian area the most popular wine is a red wine called "Trollinger". Nearly three quarters of the produced wine here is Trollinger, but you will hardly find this wine anywhere else to buy.... The Swabians need it all for themselves.
                      This is even more astonishing if you keep in mind, that anywhere else in Germany 80% of the wine is white wine and only 20% red. Just in the Stuttgart area it is completely different...
                      Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


                        Ralf, I must say that you have once again given me a 'virtual' trip to enjoy! I am so glad that you always have your camera with you when you go on these fantastic trips.

                        It is good to see so much commercial traffic still using your inland waterways - barges all the way! I wonder how easy they are to control and how they respond to the various currents in the river? Must be a lot of skill and knowledge involved in navigating one of those really long barges on such winding rivers - especially those double barges!

                        The photos of the trains reminded me of many model railways that i have seen modeled on German railways, i have often wondered if trains really were painted so brightly in Germany, your photos show me that they are, infact i had to look twice to make sure that the train in your photo was not a model!

                        And i liked the old custom house in the middle of the river, what an unusual place to work. Did ships and boats have to stop there and pay their monies before they could pass by? A bit like a toll booth on a river.

                        Anyway, thanks for yet another interesting and enjoyable voyage Ralf, you certainly do go on some great trips!
                        Your charts, your radar, your eyes and ears - if all 4 agree, you may proceed with caution.


                          Thank you all for the interested comments.

                          From Wikipedia: Burg Pfalzgrafenstein is a toll castle on the Falkenau island, otherwise known as Pfalz Island in the Rhine river near Kaub, Germany. Known as "the Pfalz", this former stronghold is famous for its picturesque and unique setting.

                          Its keep, a pentagonal tower with its point upstream, was erected 1326 to 1327 by King Ludwig the Bavarian. Around the tower, a defensive hexagonal wall was built between 1338 to 1340. In 1477 Pfalzgrafenstein was passed as deposit to the Count of Katzenelnbogen[1]. Later additions were made in 1607 and 1755, consisting of corner turrets, the gun bastion pointing upstream, and the characteristic baroque tower cap.

                          The castle functioned as a toll-collecting station that was not to be ignored, as it worked in concert with Burg Gutenfels and the fortified town of Kaub on the right side of the river. A chain across the river forced ships to submit, and uncooperative traders could be kept in the dungeon until a ransom was delivered. The dungeon was a wooden float in the well.

                          Unlike the vast majority of Rhine castles, "the Pfalz" was never conquered or destroyed, withstanding not only wars, but also the natural onslaughts of ice and floods by the river. Its spartan quarters held about twenty men.

                          The island of the castle was used for the Rhine crossing by 60,000 Prussian troops under Blücher in the winter of 1814 in his pursuit of Napoleon.

                          The castle was acquired by Prussia in 1866, and toll collections ceased in 1867. It continued to be used as a signal station for the river boat traffic for about another century. In 1946, the castle became property of the State of Rheinland–Pfalz.

                          The State eventually turned "the Pfalz" into a museum and restored the color scheme of the baroque period. The museum reflects the conditions of the 14th century, and the visitor will not find modern amenities such as electricity or a lavatory. It is accessible to the public via a ferry service from nearby Kaub as long as river conditions permit.

                          The area is part of the Rhine Gorge, a World Heritage site.
                          Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


                            Time to wake up this thread again. We spent a visit there recently with a group of our hiking club.
                            I will give you a short report of this trip tomorrow, but i have to upload the pictures first.
                            But take your time and go back in this thread first. It is a while ago.
                            Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11


                              If you remember, what i have written about the ships traffic around the Loreley rock, you know how fascinated i was about the traffic regulations on this part of the river.

                              All is managed in this house. There they switch the special traffic lights, which can be seen on the left side of the building.

                              Bigger picture of the traffic light.

                              The different symbols show, which type of ship is coming down. If it is too large for a double passing, tzhe upgoing ship has to wait. The station is under property of the national government. Normally it is not possible to have a view inside, But as i managed a whole group, to tried to arrange a visit. And after several phone calls and e-mails, it worked out. So we approached to the station.

                              Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11