Search

After a wonderful morning in Speyer and a coach trip to Worms we cruised to Rudesheim, arriving at 17:00.

Rudesheimer sign on a hill

We had visited Rudesheim in 2010 and so decided to go for a pre-dinner walk around the town to see what had changed. We crossed the road from the dock, passed some youngsters playing post-school sport and walked up a road which took us under the train line and to the main street of the town. It was not too easy to get around as there was a lot of road construction with cars being redirected in strange directions. We didn’t remember too much of the town centre but we did remember being taken up to the top of a hill where there is a magnificent monument, the Niederwald Monument, built to celebrate the Unification of Germany. Just as we decided to return to the boat for dinner it started to rain. Fortunately, we were able to stand under the rail line in a road tunnel until it stopped after about 20mins.

Niederwald Monument

We were due to leave Rudesheim at 08:30 but couldn’t do so as the garbage truck only arrived at that time, so we were delayed for half an hour while the boat’s garbage was off-loaded. We watched from the top deck as every member of the crew, including the Hotel Manager and the Maître d’, joined the human chain to get the bags off the boat as quickly as possible.

Offloading garbage
All the crew involved

While that was taking place, we were able to watch a group of geese having breakfast on the grass beside the dock. If any goose came near any gosling Mother Goose was quickly there to show who was in charge of her gosling.

Geese having breakfast

Once we had departed Rudesheim, our trip to Koblenz was spent admiring the castles, churches and other buildings. As we cruised our Programme Director, Uma, commentated on all the places and things of interest. It was most interesting. This stretch of middle Rhine is a UNESCO World Heritage site with more than 28 picturesque castles. In earlier centuries, these castles enabled feudal lords to control transport along the river by raising tolls, making it very expensive. Today, travel on the Rhine is free as agreed by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and put into effect in 1831 by the Mainz Convention.

Mouse Tower, a former toll @530kms. It was later a signal station until 1974. Legend has it that mice ate an archbishop who was imprisoned here

Every hundred metres, from the where the Rhine is navigable right through until the river enters The Netherlands, there is a sign. In The Netherlands, these signs are only every kilometre without the 100m signs. Using these signs was the best way to show the castles. Below, using these, I shall write about some of them. Rudesheim is at 526kms and Koblenz at 592kms, so we covered 70kms (40 miles) in this section.

Kilometre marker
Schȍnburg castle @549kms, built in 966. It was burnt down by the French in 1689
Schȍnburg Castle @549kms built in 966, burnt down by the French in 1689 and reconstructed into an hotel & restaurant.

Reichenstein Castle @534kms built in 1100.                                                                        Its collection of porcelain, furniture & weapons                                                                span 5 centuries.

Stahleck Castle @543kms, built in 1135. Suffered constant attacks in the 17th century, in ruins for 237 years & now youth hostel.
Pfalzgrafenstein Castle @ 545kms. Known as the “Pfalz” this toll with Gutenfels Castle made a formidable toll stop on the Rhine.
Rheinfels Castle @556kms built in 1245, left in ruins it is now an hotel & a museum.
Katz Castle @ 555kms built in 1371, heavily damaged by Napoleon’s forces in 1806 & rebuilt in the Victorian era.

Besides the castles, other interesting sites include the Rock called Loreley, the Niederwald Monument and the Deutsches Eck.  Loreley is famous for the story behind it about a maiden who was betrayed by her lover and so committed suicide by jumping into the river. She became a siren and lured sailors to their deaths. The Niederwald Monument is set high on a hill above Rudesheim and it is an impressive statue of Germania built as a memorial to the rebirth of the German Empire after the Franco-Prussian war which took place 1870-1871. The Deutsches Eck is the “German Corner” monument at Koblenz. It is an imposing statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I honouring his reunification of Germany in 1871.

Sign for Loreley
Loreley Rock
Deutsches Eck or Kaiser Wilhelm I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a wonderful morning, standing or sitting on the upper deck watching the scenery pass by, we arrived at Koblenz at 13:00 as planned.