Our Trip to Germany 2009

 

Day 5, Wednesday, September 6

 

The plan for the day was again jam-packed.  We checked out of the Hotel Jakob about seven-ish. We headed for a Holiday Inn located about 5 miles from the Frankfurt Airport.  Since we were returning to the Hotel for an evening stay, we hoped we could drop off our luggage so we wouldn’t have to worry about it for the day ahead.  Much to our surprise we were able to check-in “really early”, took our bags to our rooms, and set off for a day cruise on the Rhine River in the middle Rhine Valley.  Our original plan for the trip was to follow the “footsteps” of Adam Gieg [Keith] on the family’s trip to America. Höchst, Main River to Mainz,Germany, the Rhine River to Rotterdam, Netherlands, then the  North Sea and English Channel to Cowes,Isle of Wight, on the southern tip of the British Isles.  The plan would have been way too busy for the time alloted so we took “bits and pieces” that were of the most interest.

We were to pick-up our cruise boat at Bingen am Rhein, Germany about 10:15 A. M. and cruise north to St. Goar and back to Bingen, a total distance of about 27 miles.  We had about an hour to get from the Holiday Inn to Bingen and, despite a minor navigation miscue, we made it to the dock with about 15 minutes to spare.  I think we were all really excited about the cruise and couldn’t wait to view the 13 castles that could be seen from the River between Bingen and St. Goar.  At right is the docking and river front area in Bingen.  I had prepared a

castle-by-castle map, history, and pictures so we knew what we were seeing as we passed by. At left is the cruise boat we booked.  The glassed-in area is a first-class restaurant and viewing area. The upper deck has an unobstructed view with comfortable “moveable” seating. The boat’s speaker system briefly pointed out the major points of interest, in English, French, and German.

Bingen

St. Goar

The map to the right shows the castles on the Rhine between Bingen and St. Goar.  The River runs from the South [bottom] to the North [top] hence the “going” trip to St. Goar takes about one-half the time as the “coming” trip to Bingen.  Frankfurt [not on the map] is about 45 miles to the east.  The Main River [pronounced “mine”] joins the Rhine River just south of Bingen. There just isn’t enough room, or likely interest to show a picture of each castle.  The following are the  highlight pictures.

Castle Rheinstein

literally built on a rock

Castle Reichenstein above the village of Trechtings-Hausen

Castle Schönburg

Castle Katz

Lorelei Rock, the legend of a siren that bewitched sailors causing them to wreck in shallow Rhine waters.

From Judy’s Journal; There were castles on both sides of the river.  The river was fairly narrow.  The ship had deck chairs to sit in, and you could get up and take pictures whenever you wanted.  The castles were gorgeous!  It was easy to imagine the days when they were occupied.  We got off the ship at St Goar for about 1 ½ hours.  We found a neat outdoor café for lunch.  While we waited for the food to come, Scott and I scouted the nearby stores for shopping opportunities.“ [and yes, we did shop] ... “The boat ride back was very soothing. Since we had taken pictures on the way, we could just relax and enjoy the scenery on the way back.  The ride took 1 hour going (with the current) and 2 hours back (against the current).  The hills are extremely steep, but they somehow manage to grow crops on them.  We actually saw a tractor going up and down the rows.  Most of it is vineyards.” ... “Many barges on the river.  Many had one car on the back deck.  We assumed it was for the barge driver to use when he reached his destination.  Then we saw one with a plastic playground set for toddlers inside a fence!  The next barge had laundry hanging on a clothesline!  Very funny.  Obviously the barge driver lives on the barge for some period of time.  Some had a dog, wife, and or children.”

Lunch in St. Goar

St. Goar shopping with Fortress Rheinfels in the background [upper middle]

 

Left: A barge on the Rhine, ala car and laundry.

 

 

Right: Ryan’s self-photo “holding” a “smart car” in Bingen.

Another exciting and fun day in Germany; our last full day.  We drove back to the Holiday Inn in Frankfurt and dropped off the boys.  We went to the Airport and returned the rented mini-van and took a shuttle back to the Hotel where the travelers had cheese pizza for supper.  Early the next morning we would begin the second leg of our journey; a train ride at 200+ miles per hour from Frankfurt to Brussels, Belgium, then under the English Channel for a three-day stay in London. Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, St. Peter’s, the Tower of London, and on and on.

 

Judy and I agreed that we had never had such a fulfilling, scenic packed, informative, and worthwhile trip ever !! We

met friendly and helpful people everywhere we went. We made new life-long friends and caught a brief glimpse of how other people in this world make their way and their memories. With one chapter finished we can’t wait for another.

The Frankfurt Airport train station.