Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bacharach on the Rhine River

The Rhine River

After a few days of vacation on the Mosel River, why not head to the Rhine River?  The two scenic valleys are no more than a 30 minute drive from one another.  Even if you don't spend an overnight on the Rhine, take a drive, a train, or a KD day cruise from any town to any town between Koblenz and Mainz to see an endless parade of castle after medieval castle.  It's really exciting to be the first to spot one and shout out, "There's another one!"

We stayed a couple of days this summer in an absolutely gorgeous little town called Bacharach on the west side of the Rhine.  Most of my German relatives in Bavaria have never heard of Bacharach, yet it is often pictured in ads for Rhine cruises.

On the right side of the photo above you see the ruins of St. Werner's Chapel from 1289, and on the left you see the picturesque St. Peter's Church.  We got these terrific views of the town on an evening hike up to the Stahleck Castle above the vineyards.  The castle is now a youth hostel, Jugendherberge Burg Stahleck, and I would highly recommend the exciting experience of staying in such a historic structure.  (We did not, unfortunately, because it was booked months in advance of our arrival, so make your reservations as soon as possible.)  The hostel has rooms not only for backpackers but for families too, and it is clean and well-staffed.

Stahleck Castle on the Rhine, now a youth hostel.

The village of Bacharach is perfectly charming.  I just melt over the cuteness of half-timbered, fairytale houses with geranium-filled flower boxes, and Bacharach had me oohing and aahing all over the place. There are lots of narrow winding streets to meander, too.

Bacharach's ancient city wall still remains largely intact in some areas, as well as ten of its towers throughout the town.  We made a fun game out of finding each one.  In fact, we slept in one - at Hotel Kranenturm, another accommodation I highly recommend.

Bacharach's Market Tower

Hotel Kranenturm, with Castle Stahleck on the hill.

One of the highlights of our three week summer trip was riding bikes for miles along the Rhine.  The skies threatened rain the entire day, but thankfully never caught up to us.  We rented our bicycles from a friendly, animated, America-loving shopkeeper at Hotel Hillen on Langstrasse for 10€ per bike per hour.  Ask him where he's visited in America and he'll probably throw in an hour for free (after he's done talking your ear off.)

The river walk on the shores of Bacharach is park-like and lovely, with rows of historic buildings, just like in Cochem.

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