Barbara and Heather in Europe 2013 travel blog

Wine shop Bacharach

Castle Gutenfels


View from Rheinfels Castle

Reichenstein Castle

Sooneck Castle

Vineyards near Assmannshausen

Ehrenfels Castle

Tschu-tschu train

Rheinstein Castle

Thursday. Our big adventure started on Emirates very new Airbus A380-800 and it made the 14hr flight quite comfortable even though we were not allowed upstairs to business class. My reputation for being a very light traveller has taken a bit of a knock. Some warmer clothes are needed this time and so instead of 10.2kg I’ve started at 15.8kg. Heather even did better at 14.8kg but I reckon it’s because her suitcase is lighter.

Friday. We landed in Dubai at 4.30am, an hour ahead of time, still dark when we arrived at the hotel and so paid extra for an early check in. Nothing much happens in Dubai on a Friday as it is the holy day. The Big (hop on hop off) Bus claims “We’re all over Dubai!” and we can claim the same having sat on the bus most of the day finishing with a 1 hour dhow ride on Dubai Creek (they have a bit of trouble with “creek” and “river” in the desert). You can construe that as you wish. Suffice to say that we do not feel as at home there as we do, say, in Rome…. or in Kathmandu ……or in Bacharach ….. or ….

Saturday. It was up with umbrellas on arrival in Frankfurt and the grey skies and light drizzle kept up all day. At the airport train station we had our Eurail pass validated and the next train to Bacharach was leaving in 3 minutes. So we just slipped onto that one and at Mainz the connecting train was waiting for us and left in10 minutes. We were in Bacharach by 3.30pm, trundled over the cobblestones to our Pension where Lettie gave us a lovely welcome. The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring this delightful little village. Lettie’s recommendation for dinner was the Hotel Karenturm just down the road and we enjoyed very German fare – Sauerbraten for Heather – with a nice local red. After that an early night and about 10 hours sleep to recover from the previous hectic few days.

Sunday. Today was spent sailing up and down the Rhine. From Bacharach we went downstream to St Goar where we caught the Tschu Tschu tourist train up to Rheinfels castle – much better than walking as time was limited. The castle was still very impressive even though it is now only one fifth its original size and had a commanding view over the river and towns below. From there we boarded the 100 year old paddle steamer Goethe back upstream as far as Bingen and had a beer and a pretzel for lunch. The day was dry and brightened somewhat and the scenery was enchanting with the passing parade of typical German villages with a backdrop of vineyards up the steep slopes of the river bank. Then there were the castles of the robber barons at all the strategic points along the river – we saw 11 in our short trip – as well as the Loreley, the ruin of many a poor sailor.

Our timing was not as perfect today as we just missed a train in Bingen and had to wait an hour for the next. All was not lost, though, as across the track on the river was a very good bar/restaurant so had another beer. After a short and mellow train trip back to Bacharach, we settled down to start this trip journal.

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