Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How to work off a German breakfast

A hard day’s yakka today, working my way up the Rhine by ferry cruise, hopping off to visit different ports and sightsee along the way.

Carrying 25kg on my back.


I hopped off the ferry in Rüdesheim to visit the Niederwald Denkmal, a monument celebrating the creation in 1871 of the German Reich, high above the Rhine and accessible by a 2-person cable car. It’s then a 30-minute walk through the forest to the chairlift down to Assmannshausen (which sounds like a house Cosmo Kramer lived in – boom-tish!) I rested the tired dogs on the peaceful chairlift down, but by the time I found the ferry wharf I had to crack the whip. I was 300 metres away and the ferry was already there! I had to run, which is hard to do wearing a backpack. It’s a good thing I have a sharp whistle, because at 50 metres they were pulling the gangway.

I made it to Bacharach, one of the prettiest towns on the Rhine, full of half-timbered houses on narrow streets surrounded by a city wall. Burg Stahleck, the castle on the hill overlooking the town, has been a youth hostel since 1920, and I booked a private room there months ago. Unfortunately, there’s no cable car or chairlift; the access is hundreds of stairs and switchback trails up the hill.

The steam from my shoes hissed like a train when I finally released my belaboured feet. The shower was very welcome.

Expecting a relaxing evening overlooking the Rhine, I came downstairs from my room to find the youth hostel completely overrun by overexcited schoolchildren on an overnight excursion, screaming, playing, and running everywhere. Being the happy-go-lucky traveller (tourists are always happy) I rather enjoyed their fun, though when they were playing in the hall outside my room, screaming and falling against my door, I had to look up the word "quiet" in my phrasebook and open my door with "Ruhig, bitte!"  German children are very polite, and they complied.

Misty morning view from my room in the castle. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Aaah, this brings back my memory of planning our trip in 2006. I listed all the places along the river that I wanted to visit/stay (the youth hostel was one of them!), looked at the ferry timetable, thought about the luggage we may be carrying and in the end opted for hiring a car, instead of catching the ferry. It was fun driving down the fast lane in Autobahn before we got to the Rhine region but I think we were too busy driving and looking for sights that I don't feel we saw much of the area. So, I'm sure your pain was worth it!!