George and Kay's Europe Adventure 2007 travel blog

The Rhein River

Basilka St. Kastor, Koblenz

Marksburg Castle, Braubach

Small Castle in the Rhein River

Church established by St. HIldegard von Bingen

View of the Rhein River at Bingen

Kay and Sister at Gift Shops

Castle on the Rhein

Bad Hönningen - Kristall Thermal Bath

George at Gastehaus Sonnenschein

Hello to all our friends and family - we miss you and will see many of you soon.

This past week we arrived in Düsseldorf by train from Freiburg, picked up a car and proceeded on our adventure along the Rhein River.

Several interesting comments about our tour before specific towns and places visited. First the Rhein River flows north out of Switzerland through Germany and into Holland to the sea. The Rhein is a beautiful body of water and it is easy to become mesmerized by its awesome power. Even now as I picture walks we took, drives along its banks or watching boat traffic I am drawn by the power of its seen and unseen force.

Next many towns in Germany began with the name Bad (pronounced Bod) which indicates the town has a thermal mineral bath - spa. The mineral baths we visited are fantastic, with warm or hot swimming pools, whirl pools, steam rooms, indoor - outdoor saunas, water massages, soap and regular massages and a few others wonderful relaxing experiences to enjoy. The Rhein is dotted with these thermal bath towns which is a fantastic blessing for the locals as well as for us tourists. Towns that build mineral baths are allowed to add Bad to the front of their names to identify their news status.

Lastly, besides the wonderful villages we drove through and stayed at, were the number of castles, fortresses, and guard towers spread out along the hills and mountains. As I drove one of these beautiful old structures was always in site. They were used to keep watch on invaders and probably each other. Some towns we drove through or visited still have old walls with guard towers on the river and castles on the mountain above the town. We were told only one Castle, MARKSBURG south of Koblenz in Braubach, was not destroyed and rebuilt in this whole area of the Rhein. Marskburg Castles built in 1231 sets atop a mountain and is a fantastic structure to behold.

Well now for our tour. We drove to Bad Godesberg, now a suburb of Bonn, where we stayed at the Insel Hotel on an old town square. We arrived in time to see the closing of a small Karvinal celebration. We also enjoyed a great bratwurst, French fries and German beer. Yes!

We then drove to Koblenz and with the help of the assistant at the Tourist Center were directed to The Von Werth Berth hotel. This is a lovely small hotel on a one block side street in Old Town. We visited several historical places such as the Basilika St Kastor, built in 836, viewed the Marksburg Castle and the monument to the Kaiser at the point where the Mosel River flows into the Rhein.

The next day we drove to Bingen mainly to visit the area where St Hildegard lived and visit the museum, churches and gift shops. We were also on a mission to pick up St. Hildegard metals for Susan Lincoln, a friend from Austin. Susan is a wonderfully talented person and leads a women’s singing group called the Hilde Girls. Susan formed this group after a retreat at St Hildegard’s in Bingen several years ago. The nuns who now live at and operate the church and centers have vineyards, sell gifs, herb teas, books, etc; and a wonderful variety of wines, which we sampled, purchased and now enjoy for supper.

The next morning we drove to Worms. Along the way we drove through a part of Wiesbaden and there before us was a KFC, with a quick U-turn we were soon eating wonderful southern fried chicken - a marvelous meal. Arriving at Worms we had the good fortune of being directed to the Hotel Hüttl just off the old town square and in site of the famous St. Peter Cathedral, this mammoth structure seems to be about four towering churches put together. When we went to the hotel the door was closed so I buzzed the attendant who, as it turned out, was eating supper at home in another part of town. He told me when I heard the buzzer sound open the door, go up to the reception desk, locate the key to room 26 and they would see us at breakfast tomorrow. He did not ask for my name, any id or money. A great experience of people trusting you.

On our return to Düsseldorf we stayed to nights in Bad Hönningen at the Gastehaus Sonnenschein. The gastehaus is located about 200 yards from the Kristall Rheinpark-Therme, the thermal bath. We enjoyed a great stroll along the Rhein and four hours in the thermal bath. The general cost of a four hour stay at spas in Europe is 18 Euro each (about $26) a fabulous price. We also paid 18 Euro for a thirty minute massage.

So now we are in Düsseldorf for a week to enjoy another exciting town and adventure. We are now experiencing cold, wet weather so we are indoors more, however still enjoying our stay.

See you all soon- enjoy a great thanksgiving and eat a little turkey and dressing for us.

Love and blessings to all.

From Germany

George & Kay

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