The heart of Germany, the romantic Mittelrhein

Good-bye Rotenfels and Nahe

This is our tenth day in Germany. We say good-bye to the Rotenfels reflecting in the Nahe river. This rock is 202m high and at its foot is the vineyard “Bastei”.

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Our plan today: Rüdesheim, Bacharach and a cruise on the Rhine to greet Loreley.

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Disappointing Rüdesheim – little to see and just too crowded

After a short stop in Bad Kreuznach, we cross the Rhine from Bingen to Rüdesheim using the ferry. There are no bridges here. We park and look for the old town. We find the narrow Drosselgasse lined by half-timbered houses with souvenir shops and restaurants. This small street is crowded with tourists: Russians, Chinese, Japanese, American and also Swiss.

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Too many tourists all focused on the one small romantic street of Rüdesheim. We quickly leave this busy place, disappointed that there is so little to see here.

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Ansselheim – quieter, prettier, and Kesseler gives us a hearty welcome

We head north along the Rhine to Ansselheim. We find a pretty, small town with narrow streets, and we stop at Kesseler’s cellar to acquire a bottle of Pinot Noir (which is the specialty here). I select the a bottle from 2011- the same that the German president Gauck had served to the Queen of England, as the winegrower tells me with a smile.

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Kesseler owns an unpretentious old-style cellar behind a courtyard – not a tasting area designed by a star architect,  as we had found in some places in the Pfalz. Kesseler and his people have worked here for generations and have produced good Pinot Noir that even makes politics. His wines are sometimes compared to Burgundy wines, he says, but they are just their own class and do not need to be compared.

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To Bacharach – this IS a pretty town

We drive farther north to Lorch, take the ferry (no bridges here) and settle in Bacharach, named after Bacchus by the Romans, another wine growing town with beautiful half-timbered houses and with the famous vineyard Bacharach Hahn (Tony Jost owns this vineyard all alone as a monopole).

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We settle in the hotel Altkölnischer Hof – a great place just across the St. Peter church.

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Boat ride on the Rhine – the Loreley sings

We catch the boat  coming from Rüdesheim, ride down to Goarhausen and back to Bacharach, about two hours in all. The Mittelrhein is extremely romantic with the castles…

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… and the steep vineyards.

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We safely pass by the Loreleyrock.

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On the boat they play the music that was composed for Heine’s poem”Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten, daß ich so traurig bin, ein Märchen aus uralten Zeiten, das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.” (“I cannot explain the sadness, that’s fallen on my breast, an old,old fable haunts me and will not let me rest”). It is sooo sadly romantic.

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Bacharach is a gem

After the boat ride, I walk along the town wall of Bacharach. This is the view of St. Peter church, the Werner’s church (the ruins) and the Stahleck Castle above the town.

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Half-timbered houses – all well maintained.

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We have dinner in the Posthof, just under the Werner church.

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We eat a delicious meal with roasted pork. I combine it with a Riesling from Bacharach Hahn, produced by Toni Jost.

Early in the morning I go for a second walk to the Stahleck Castle.

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The sun rises, when I arrive in the Castle…

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… and the day is taking off, when I climb back down to Bacharach.

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Yes, we agree: “Halte im Gedächtnis wach, wunderbar ist Bacharach.” (Keep it in your mind, Bacharach is wonderful).

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We buy a bottle of Riesling from the Hahn vineyard at Toni Jost’s and then we leave Bacharach. Our next destination are the Eifel and the Mosel valley.

 

 

 

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