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Steph’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 26 Apr 2008

Location: Bacharach, Germany

MapOn 26 April we woke up another lovely sunny and warm day in Bacharach, perfect for cruising up the river in a boat up the Rhine, which is exactly what we did. We got on a boat and made a slow trip from Bacharach up to Braubach, which a really scenic stretch within the valley. Sitting on the deck of the boat we sailed passed so many castles and villages and also the Lorelei rock. The legend goes that Lorelei was the daughter of Father Rhine and used to sit on the top of the cliff at the narrowest part of the Rhine and sing at the sailors sailing past and would lure them into the underground reefs where their boats would be wrecked. Anyway the story is a bit long winded but that´s the general idea.

We got off the boat the Braubach and were definitely glad we had our walking shoes on as we had a serious climb through the woods ahead of us to get up to Marksburg castle. We could have taken the shuttle train up the hill, but we have to work off all the pastries and sausages some how! We were actually glad we took the more scenic hike in the end.

Marksburg is the only castle on the Rhine to still be intact and in its orignal form - most of the other castles were destroyed by the French at some stage or other. You can only get inside the castle by taking a guided tour and it is in German, which makes it a little hard - especially for Matt. Luckily we had printed out an English version on the tour from someone´s blog site so we were covered! Inside the castle was really interesting - I think my favourite part was the castle apothecary gardens where all the different herbs grew including hemlock. Again the views to the river below were amazing - I know I´m starting to sounds like a broken record but we have seriously seen some good views!

We took a train to St Goarshausen and got a ferry across river to the town of St Goar, which is a very famous town on the Rhine and very touristy as well! Above St Goar (up yet another steep hill, which we had to walk up - Matt was super excited about walking up hills by this stage) is Burg Rheinfels. Burg Rhienfels was destroyed by the French army during some campaign (I don´t have my notes with me sorry) so it really just a ruin now. It was the biggest castle on the Rhine, and we took a tour through the ruins and along the walls.

We were sad that our time in the Rhine Valley had come to end. We will be sure to come back here again and very soon! I think we could easily spend a week here exploring the villages and not just two nights!