Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Down the Rhine - 7 August 2009

RudesheimRudesheimRudesheim was described in one guide book as “a nostalgia trip for geriatric tourists” and really only has one “cute” street to its name; and a very cute, narrow, street it is; but it really is not worth making a detour to see compared to many of the other lovely towns we have seen on this trip.

RudesheimNevertheless we paid our tourist homage and left behind some tourist Euros for our morning coffee; then left to head down the north bank of the Rhine.

Our first stop was at Marksburg Castle, one of the three authentic medieval castles in the area; most of the others dotted along this Marksburgsection of the Rhine have suffered romantic “modern” 18-19th C updates. Marksburg is presented and furnished as it would have been 500 years ago, and you are allowed to take photographs inside, which is most unusual; and it was as we were taking one of the photographs that the time and date of 12:34:56 7/8/9 passed quietly by.

MarksburgThe Castle tours are only in German but we had a guide book with the salient features described for us so we were not too disadvantaged, apart from the fact that the German tour guide was cracking a lot more jokes than our English guide book, judging by the reactions of her audience.

Leaving the Rhine at Koblenz we changed river valleys to the Mosel and headed off upstream to the next castle that was tucked away, seemingly, in the middle of nowhere, but apparently on an ancient trade route. It is well worth making the detour to find The Rhine: Castles and CruisesBurg Eltz as it is in a choice position situated on a rocky promontory in a wooded valley with a river running around three sides.

The castle has been in the same family for 800 years or 33 generations and way back, when the family split into three branches they decided to build the castle with three family Burg Eltzdwellings in a roughly triangular fashion on the top of the rock and live in a communal fashion. The castle was very progressive with “en-suite” bathrooms in ¼ of the 80 rooms, many of them flushed with rain water. They had glass in the windows when glass was still very expensive and so on; they lived very comfortably for the times and remained unconquered for most of their history.

The climb back from Burg Eltz to the car park was rather Cochemwearying on such a warm afternoon so after dropping back down to the banks of the Mosel we stopped at Cochem for a wander around and some much needed refreshment. Cochem is an overly touristy town so we crossed the Mosel and pulled into a campsite on the bank of the Mosel at Bruttig-Fankel.

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