Rainbow over the Rhine: Double Rainbow All the Way

Trip Start May 24, 2010
Trip End Jul 21, 2010

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Where I stayed
Stahleck Castle

Flag of Germany  , Rhineland-Palatinate,
Sunday, July 11, 2010

After a long travel day from Gimmelwald, including more delays from the German railways causing missed connections, we arrived in balmy Bacharach. We were staying at the Jugendherberge Hostel in the 12th century Stahleck Castle and when we spotted the hostel high up on the hilltop ahead of us, we knew we had quite the hike uphill with our backpacks.  The hike was hot but the views on the way up and from the castle were worth the hike.  Along the trail, we hiked by the ruined gothic chapel which has inspired many famous romantic painters in the 19th century and put Bacharach back on the map – it once was the capital of the German Holy Roman Empire.  After dropping off our bags, we headed back to town to explore Bacharach and grab dinner.  We cooled off with a stop at the Eiscafe where we sampled their famous Riesling gelato flavor.  It was okay but luckily we tried three scoops as we liked the limon and mocha much better.  We then meandered along city park next to the Rhine River, watching river cruises and barges go by.  We decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner at the Stuber Restaurant, what our guidebook recommended as Bacharach's finest dining choice.  We sat outside next to the old city wall and had gorgeous views of the Rhine when the trains weren’t rattling by.  At dinner, we quickly began to appreciate how quiet the newer trains are versus the older cargo trains.  We enjoyed the food, sharing the "William Turner Pate Plate".

The next day, we woke up ready for a packed day of sightseeing.  We started off with a Rhine River Cruise from Bacharach to Koblenz.  Along the way, we saw numerous castles from days when former robber barons taxed all river traffic passing by their castles.  Some of the notable castles we passed by were the St. Goar, Pfalz, and Maus.  We also passed by the black, slate cliff fabled as the Loreley.  We arrived in Koblenz, which is named after its confluence of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers.  However, after walking from the boat dock to the train station, we are starting to wonder whether Koblenz really means construction as literally the entire old town (at least 6x6 blocks) was under construction with entire roadways ripped up and construction equipment everywhere.  Once at the train station, we hopped on a train up the Mosel river to the town of Moselkern where we took to footpath to another castle, Burg Eltz.  From Moselkern, it was a pleasant hour hike on dirt trails to the large, preserved castle in the middle of nowhere.  We’re still puzzled why such a large castle was built so far away from a town, village or river.  At first we were awed by the castle popping out between the trees on our hike but quickly noticed the construction crane towering over the main tower.  Although we didn’t get the photos we had hoped for, the peacefully hike was well worth the journey.  We caught the train back to Bacharach where we dined at Bastian’s Weingut zum Gruner Baum.  We enjoyed the meat and cheese plate and regional wines in the outdoor patio on the town square.  It sprinkled a bit but not enough to make us go inside.  On our hike back up to the hostel, we stopped to take pictures of the chapel ruins at sunset when we noticed the rainbow.  It was a “double rainbow all the way” and although our reaction was muted compared to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI&feature=related), it was still pretty awesome making a great end to our Bacharach adventure.
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Mary Anne Wherry on

For several summers i stayed in the Burg Stahleck hostel to take computer classes. We had to lug our computers from school and set them up there. But it was a nice place to spend a week. I've also taken field trips there and walked up to the castle with lots of fourth-graders. I've heard that there is a heat wave in Europe-hard when nothing is air-conditioned. And what is with those German trains? I hope you didn't hold hands in the Koln Cathedral. I got scolded for doing that. How did I miss the chocolate museum?
Have fun in Copenhagen!

kelncre on

I had no idea you've stayed in that castle! How neat! Luckily, we weren't dragging big computers up there! That would be a hike! We've survived the heat wave okay but it was HOT! We're definitely looking forward to some cooler weather in San Fran now :)

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