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Germany: From the Mosel to Munich - A Detailed Trip Report

Germany: From the Mosel to Munich - A Detailed Trip Report

Mar 16th, 2008, 04:57 AM
  #1  
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Germany: From the Mosel to Munich - A Detailed Trip Report

Background: To celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, my husband, B.J., and I spent 17 days travelling through the southern region of Germany. To prepare for our 408 hour journey, we estimate that we spent thousands of hours on Fodor’s, culling invaluable information from many wonderful folks. To all of you who helped us, we say thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Although most Fodor Folks prefer to rent a car in Germany, we chose to use public transportation for our travels, for several reasons – we live in a rural area and must drive everywhere already, plus we like talking with people we meet on the train, and, we wanted to drink beer and wine from the Mosel to Munich, and Germany’s DUI laws are very strict.

So, here’s my trip report, which you will see is quite lengthy. But please bear with me; I do have 408 hours of journey to cover, sans sleeping. Anyway, what else would you expect from someone who just spent a gazillion hours planning our adventure? I’ve always viewed travelling as having three parts – the planning, the actual travel, and the memories, which I’m now trying to stretch out and hold onto.

Our itinerary

Fly New York JFK to Frankfurt Airport
2 nights Cochem – Hotel Alte Thorshenke
2 nights St. Goar – Hotel am Markt
1 night Ittlingen – Ober’s Landgasthof
2 nights Rothenburg – Gastehaus Edith
2 nights Bamberg – Hotel Weierich
3 nights Munich – Pension Westfalia
1 night Mittenwald – Hotel Alpenrose
1 night Hohenschwangau – Pension Albrecht
1 night Munich – Pension Westfalia
Fly Munich Airport to New York JFK


Day One (9 Oct, Tuesday) - TRAVEL DAY

“Yes, we need to turn around and get our coats!,” Thank heavens we were only 5 minutes on the road to the airport before we discovered we had forgotten them. After all, it was over 80 degrees outside on this beautiful October day, and the last thing we were thinking of was our winter coats. We did feel kind of silly carrying them through the airport at JFK, but I kept reassuring my husband, B.J., that we might need them by the end of our trip (he was ultimately glad he listened to me).

Our dear friend, Roger, was kind enough to drive us from northeast Pennsylvania to JFK airport in New York, a three hour journey. We actually made very good time, avoiding any traffic jams on I-80, the Whitestone Bridge or the Van Wyck.

Our flight on Lufthansa ($464.37 ea) was scheduled to depart at 16:35, but was delayed 1 hour 45 minutes, most of it inching our way towards the runway and vying for position to take off. Note to self: Do NOT fly out of JFK again, if it can be avoided. The flight was full, and we shared the third seat in the row with a German woman who was going to miss her connection due to the delay, but it appeared that the flight attendants were on top of it, making other arrangements for her. We had chicken, mushrooms and rice for dinner, and a breakfast bar, cheese wedge and juice for breakfast. We tried to sleep, and did nod off occasionally, but it would have to be adrenaline which keeps us moving through our first day.
artstuff is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:04 AM
  #2  
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Day Two (10 Oct, Wednesday, Rail Pass) - MAINZ, COCHEM

Landed at Frankfurt Airport at 7:10, only an hour and 15 minutes behind schedule. We tapped the money machine for a couple hundred Euros, to get us started. We don’t use a Money Access Card at home, and had to apply for one for this trip. This was the first time we had tried a MAC while travelling in Europe, so we were relieved how easy the transaction went, however the machine doesn’t issue a receipt.

We headed to the railway office to activate our Eurail Pass (4-day German Twin Pass $378.00), only to discover that they weren’t going to honor it. In an effort to avoid some of the bulk in the passport pouch, we removed the three pages of ticket from the heavier-stock paper folder that it came in. The clerk and her supervisor were agitated with us, but eventually stapled our ticket into a German Rail Pass folder, activated our pass, and we were on our way to Mainz by 8:38.

After stashing our luggage at the Hauptbahnhof in Mainz (which we now know how to pronounce correctly), we walked to the center of town and toured through the very Romanesque Mainzer Dom. It was early in the morning, and only a few people in the church, which made it ever more haunting and beautiful. We lit a candle for our friend, Karen, said a little prayer, and were on our way.

We arrived at the Gutenberg Museum (Euro 5,00 ea) just as they opened for the day, and immediately went downstairs where they have many different types of printing presses on display, including a reproduction of the original Gutenberg Press, which they use for demonstrations. We watched as the docent set the type and pressed a page from the Bible, which he rolled up and gave to me as a souvenir. Now my goal is to try not to let my page from the Gutenberg Bible get crushed before we get home – only sixteen more days to travel with it… should be no problem!

There are several floors upstairs in the Museum, which is filled with all things printed and about printing, including two Gutenberg Bibles. Perhaps the most bizarre item we saw was a lithograph hanging on the wall, depicting all the Christian forms of torture. Yikes! We spoke in depth with another museum docent, who was originally from Turkey but now lives in Germany. He was really delighted to hear that Mainz was our first stop on our Germany tour, so he spent a good deal of time just talking with us, about the museum, Mainz, and Germany in general.

We wound our way through the streets and up the hill to St. Stephen’s Kirche, to see Chagall’s stained glass windows. By this time in the morning, the sun was beginning to peek out from behind the gray clouds that had shrouded the city. We were lucky enough that there was a little break in the clouds when we opened the door to the church and entered, as we were showered in a hue of blue. It was quite stunning. Unfortunately there was a fairly large tour group in the church, which was distracting. After sitting in the pew for awhile and soaking it all in, we made our way back to the Hauptbahnhof, where we grabbed our luggage and were off on the 12:20 to Koblenz, where we transferred to Cochem.

Before I left on our journey I had copied Rick Steves’ itinerary for travelling on the train along the Rhine. It lists and describes all the castles and sights from the Niederwald Monument at Km 528 to Koblenz at Km 590. The views were beautiful – old castles and terraced vineyards with a hint of autumn in the colors.

As we were preparing to disembark the train in Koblenz to transfer, we had a Three Stooges moment with a young girl (10-12) who was travelling by herself. Her bag tipped over, and we all went to pick it up, almost colliding heads. As soon as it was uprighted, it tipped over again. After a moment of hesitation, my husband bent over to retrieve it, only to have his bag tip over, then her bag again! We all stood there in the doorway of the train having a great laugh as our luggage was splayed out in front of us.

We arrived in Cochem around 14:00 and walked from the Hauptbahnhof to the Alte Thorschenke (Euro 82,00/night), which is built right into one of the old city gates. Jet lag had definitely set in by now as we literally walked around in a circle looking for the hotel. The very friendly desk clerk offered us our choice of two rooms. The first room we looked at had a beautifully wood carved and painted sleigh bed that I just wanted to crawl into. But we chose Room #7, which had a wooden canopy bed, with a carved bird inlaid on the underside of the canopy. The view out the window was not the best, but the ambiance of the room was wonderful.

After a nap and a shower we walked through the winding streets of Cochem to Zom Stueffje at Oberbachstrasse 14, where we had dinner. I had Wiener Schnitzel and a glass of Mosel wine, B.J. had trout and a Bitburger lager. Total cost Euro 28,60.

After dinner we strolled around the medieval streets until we ended up back at our hotel by 20:00. After raiding the mini bar in the room, a bottle of Veltins Pils for B.J. and a bottle of Landenbergerlein Pikkolo for me, we both collapsed into our wooden canopy bed with the funky German pillows.

www.mainz.de
http://www.gutenberg-museum.de/?language=e
http://www.cochem-tourist.de/
http://castle-thorschenke.de/index.php?lang=en
http://www.zom-stueffje.de/

artstuff is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:53 AM
  #3  
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Day 3 (11 Oct, Thursday, Point-to-Point) - MOSELKERN, BURG ELTZ, COCHEM

We awoke after a restless night’s sleep (what is it with those big, floppy German pillows?), and went downstairs to a most wonderful breakfast buffet of meats, cheeses, breads, spreads, juices, eggs, yogurt, fresh cut fruit, cereals, etc… We ate heartily, bulking up in preparation for today’s adventure.

There was a chill in the air (yeah, winter coats), and a heavy fog that lay in the valley as we strolled along the Mosel to the Bahnhof. We could barely see the castle that looms over Cochem through the fog. We used the ticket machine at the station to purchase 2 return train fares to Moselkern (Euro 7,20 ea), as well as our Rheinland-Pfalz Laender Pass (Euro 25,00) for tomorrow. By 10:25 we were on our way to Burg Eltz. Within 20 minutes we had arrived at the train station in Moselkern. Armed with Bavaria Ben’s walking instructions, we made our way through the town until we came to the trailhead by the Hotel Ringelsteiner Muhle. There were several other folks of all ages that we encountered while hiking the trail, which was very easy to navigate.

The trail gently rose above the River Eltz, until after about an hour of hiking, there before you, peaking out behind the trees of the forest, stands the most magnificent medieval castle. I suddenly felt the ghosts of chivalrous knights and marauding thugs all around me. Perhaps the hardest part of the hike was the steps we had to climb up from the valley floor to the castle above.

We didn’t feel like waiting for an English tour, so we joined the next German tour, along with a couple from Illinois (Euro 8,30 ea). When the guide realized that we only spoke English, she took the time to explain a little to us and was happy to answer our questions, as best she could in what English she knew. I think she enjoyed having the opportunity to practice her English with us. Plus, at the beginning of the tour they gave us a printed description of the rooms written in English, so it was possible to follow along. The castle and the furnishings, and the daydreams they invoke, were well worth the hike through the forest to see. In fact, approaching the castle on foot, through the woods, really added to the ambiance of the visit. We also took the time to tour through the Treasury at Burg Eltz, which contains some beautiful and interesting precious objects.

By now, the sun had burnt off all the fog and was blazing bright in the sky. The temperature had risen into the 70’s. We would hike back down the trail carrying our coats with us, and were very happy when we saw the Hotel Ringelsteiner Muhle again. We took a seat at their outdoor café, where I ordered a glass of Mosel wine and B.J. a Paulaner HeffeWiessen on tap. As we enjoyed our libations, we pondered over the wonderful weather, and how nice it was to be on holiday, and how lucky we were to be able to take a trip like this for our 30th wedding anniversary. Well, we pondered 5 minutes too long.

By the time we paid our bill and traversed the streets back through Moselkern, we arrived at the station just in time to see our train was pulling away. Oh well, there’s another one coming in an hour. To kill time we found a cemetery near the station, which was enclosed by a stone wall with several really old dated plaques embedded into the structure. However, inside the wall we could not find any old graves! In fact the oldest grave we saw was from the 1980’s. And all the cemetery plots were beautifully landscaped and manicured. There were two young children and at least a half dozen older folks busily tending to the upkeep. But where were all the old graves??? That question will be answered for us later.

Finally, the 16:04 came and whisked us back to Cochem. On the train we sat across from another young girl (tweenager) who was travelling by herself, wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat.

Since we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, we decided that an early dinner was a priority. Last night we had spotted a restaurant above the hill from Zom Stueffje, so we headed across town to check it out, only to turn away at the door from the overwhelmingly offensive smell from smoking. So we wandered aimlessly for the next 20-30 minutes, checking menus and asking each other, should we?, or shouldn’t we? We finally decided on Hotel/Restaurant Vonderbeck at Moselpromenade 19.

We took a seat outside, with a wonderful view of the Mosel, but quickly moved inside as the sun set and the temperature dropped. (Of course, our winter coats were in the hotel room where they weren’t doing us any good right now.) I ordered the chicken with mushrooms and rice and a glass of wine, B.J. ordered the pork steak with cauliflower and cheese and a draught of weizen-bier. Total bill – Euro 27,30.

We dashed back to the hotel after dinner, where we spent some time getting warm and resting our sore feet. Since it was too early to go to bed (although we were tired and still getting over jet lag), we changed our socks and shoes, bundled up in our winter jackets and went for an evening stroll through the winding streets of Cochem. The castle illuminated high on the hill added to the medieval charm of the town. We ended up at one of those wine tasting bars, where we sampled a few varieties, and settled on a bottle that we took back to the room.

By 21:30 I was in bed, sipping wine, working on my journal, and watching Knight Rider in German on T.V. I love travelling!

Bavaria Ben - http://www.bensbauernhof.com
Burg Eltz - http://www.burg-eltz.de/e_index.html

artstuff is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 06:21 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,414
artstuff,

Thanks so much for this wonderful report so far! You are covering some of the areas I want to visit when I finally get to go again.

Especially interested to know all about train trans, as my trip will probably be solo. I would prefer to rent a car, but think it will be too expensive. Did the train pass you bought not include some of the local trains?

How about the smoking issue? I cannot tolerate smoke and wonder how easy it will be to find non-smoking lodging and dining.

Looking forward to the rest! Love the links!
Dayle is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 06:39 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,876
great trip report. I like the comparison of hours spent on the trip to hours spent planning. I planned to go
to Germany this summer but will wait at least a year, perhaps two - I can only imagine the hours I will have spent planning by then. But it is half the fun!

What is a Money Access Card?
bigtyke is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 07:40 AM
  #6  
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Day Four (12 Oct, Friday, Laender Pass) - TRIER, ST. GOAR

Had another restless nights sleep, mostly due to the pillows and the very warm feather duvet. When we started looking on the internet at pictures of hotel rooms, we kept noticing that many photos had, what we referred to as, “karate-chop pillows” on the bed – the pillows were propped up with a V-shape chopped into them. For some odd reason these pillows excited us. We couldn’t wait to stay in a hotel with karate-chop pillows, which the Alte Thorshenke had, although not as pretty as in the pictures. Now we were cursing these pillows! They’re large, very large, and understuffed with feathers. You can fold them in half to try to get some depth, but as soon as your head hits the pillow, the feathers displace to each side and it flattens out. If you try to fold it in quarters, it’s more like sleeping on a ball. Anyway, enough of the pillow rant…

We had another delicious breakfast and did a final walk about town before we checked out and walked to the Bahnhof to catch the 10:24 to Trier. We arrived at 11:30 and had to stash our luggage into 3 smaller lockers since all the large ones were occupied. Our first stop is the Porta Nigra, which is a short walk from the train station. We purchased the Combination Roman tickets (Euro 5,60 ea) which covers the Porta Nigra, the Kaiserthermen and the Amphitheater.

The Porta Nigra (c.3rd cent) was massive and dark. I liked the fact that you could wander through it without a guide shuffling you along, however I was dismayed by the amount of graffiti that many rude and ignorant people left on this ancient structure.

As we walked along Simeonstrasse, we found the House of the Three Magi (c.1230), with its odd entrance door on the second floor, accessible only by ladder or wooden staircase that could be pulled up out of the way. We ducked down the Judengasse, then back to Simeonstrasse until we reached the Hauptmarkt, which was alive with the hustle and bustle of people and commerce, just as it has been for thousands of years!

After wandering around the town square, taking pictures of everything in sight, the Petrusbrunnen, Market Cross, Lowen Pharmacy, The Steipe, the Red House, etc.., we ducked into St. Gangolf Kirche (c.10th-12th cent), where we lit a candle for Karen. This was the first of four churches we visited in Trier, including the Trier Cathedral, or Dom St. Peter (11th-14th cent), and the Liebfrauenkirche (c.1235-60), which we found most impressive.

However, our favorite was the Basilica, also known as the Aula Palatina (c.310). Built as a throne room for Constantine, this Roman structure was just amazing, for it’s formidable size (90’ wide x 220’ long x 108’ high), it’s state-of-the-art heating system (for it’s time), and the history of this building. Oh, those Romans were so clever.

My husband’s favorite Roman site in Trier was the Kaisertherman, or Imperial Baths (c.4th cent). He’s a plumber/HVAC technician by trade, so he was fascinated with the Roman technology. I must admit, it was kind of cool to roam around these vast ruins, allowing the imagination to run wild. I’m glad we travel with a mini-mag flashlight – it came in handy peering into dark holes and passages.

We ended our tour of Trier by hoofing it over to the Amphitheater, which is a good 10 minute hike from the Baths. While the Amphitheater was quite large, we were unimpressed with what was left of the ruins.

We returned to the Hauptmarkt, where we bought a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of beer for lunch while we waited for the train. We were on our way to St. Goar by 16:12, transferring again in Koblenz.

However, we were delayed leaving Koblenz for St. Goar, waiting for an ICE train that was running late due to the rail strike. Yeah, bahn.de decided to go on strike three days before we left on our all-rail tour of Germany. Thanks a lot, guys! Since there wasn’t anything we could do about it, we decided to accept the strike, and what adversities it might cause us, and make the best of it. As it turned out, the strike actually afforded us with some very memorable moments during our travels through Germany..

We finally arrived in St. Goar at 18:30 and easily found the Hotel am Markt (Euro 62,00/night), which is located down the hill from the train station, next to the church, across the street from the Rhine. We checked into room #30, which had a limited view of the Rhine, but a wonderful view of the church.

We took a quick stroll through town, which was pretty much shut down by the time we arrived. We eventually ended back at our hotel, where we had dinner. I had schweineschnitzel with pomme frittes and a glass of wine from the Loreley Kellerei, B.J. had hanchenschnitzel with a Karlsberg Pils. Total bill – Euro 26,50.

After dinner we strolled along the waterfront to the ferry, and watched as the ferry did its run back and forth across the Rhine, carrying passengers and vehicles. We spoke briefly with a woman who had the cutest wirehaired dachshund with a dopple-brindled coat (we’re missing our little guy, IGY Pup, who’s also a wirehaired dachshund). It was a nice way to end another wonderful day in Germany, with another beautiful day of weather to boot.

Trier - http://redaktion.trier.de/praefectus/trier?tourist_en
St. Goar - www.st-goar.de
Hotel am Markt - http://www.hotel-am-markt-sankt-goar...lish_home.html

artstuff is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 07:52 AM
  #7  
 
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Posts: 9,017
>mostly due to the pillows and the very warm feather duvet
Hey, that's offensive ;-)

There's nothing better than a soft, fluffy V-shaped pillow, shake it and sink into it before you go to sleep. stepped comforters are a MUST, too.
logos999 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 07:54 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,546
Thank you so much, Artstuff, for this beautiful report! We visited the same region two years ago, in May, and enjoyed each moment.

Now your detailed description bring me back those nice memories.

Awaiting the rest of the report!
valtor is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 09:28 AM
  #9  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 24,148
Love this report, artstuff. Can't wait for the rest of it.

I didn't really mind the german pillows, but I guess I'm the kind of person who can fall asleep anywhere.

BTW, the prices you posted reminded me again how affordable Germany is, and really quite a bit cheaper than other western european countries.
yk is online now  
Mar 16th, 2008, 03:05 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,566
This looks great, I am book marking to read after work. Thanks artstuff, we are planning to go to lots of these places next year.
Maudie is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:04 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 680
Love your report...

German pillows - after cursing them many times, we learned to roll them up to get some firmness. Sometimes, we'd get an extra one from the gasthaus staff. And, in the worst case, tuck our small travel pillow underneath.

We learned to sleep with the window open if the duvets were too warm. We also came to love them so much we sleep under one at home!

Looking forward to the rest of your report.

wanderfrau is offline  
Mar 16th, 2008, 05:06 PM
  #12  
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Thanks, everyone, for your encouraging responses. I'm glad to hear that my report is helping to invoke memories of Germany for some, and hopefully, will assist others in their planning and making new memories.

Dayle - Being former cigarette smokers, we're very sensative to the smell of smoke also. However, we didn't have any problem at all with the lodging we chose, in fact, all but one or two of the hotels didn't even allow smoking in their rooms.

As far as dining, other than the restaurant in Cochem, and a brewery in Bamberg that we tried twice to get into, we really didn't have a problem with the smoke in the restaurants. We saw a lot of people smoking at the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, but the building was so large we didn't really notice the smell (except from a lady who shared our table for an hour one evening, cough, cough).

bigtyke - A Money Access Card is a debit card. I guess MAC is just a term that the banks in our area use to describe a debit card.

Robyn >-

artstuff is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 03:28 AM
  #13  
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Day Five (13 Oct, Saturday, Point-to-Point) - ST. GOARHAUSEN, RHEINFELS CASTLE, OBERWESEL, BACHARACH, ST. GOAR

We had a decent night’s sleep - the pillows were a little bit easier to sleep with, so I was much happier when I awoke. After our standard German breakfast of meats, cheeses, rolls, breads, spreads, eggs, yogurt, cereal, juices & tea/coffee we were off to catch the ferry to St. Goarhausen, but arrived at the dock two minutes too late. We killed time until the next ferry by wandering through Stephans Wine & Christmas Shoppe, across the street from the ferry launch, which we noticed offered a Rick Steves’ discount.

We took the ferry to St. Goarhausen (Euro 2,60 ea, return), which will have to suffice as our Rhine River cruise. Although nothing was open in the town, we enjoyed wandering the streets, trying to accomplish our goal, which was to find a carved tree depicting the history of St. Goarhausen and the Rhine Valley. We eventually found it, in a little park across the street from the Rhine (take a left off the ferry). We rode the ferry back to St. Goar, stopped in at Stephens Wine Shoppe and bought a bottle of Riesling wine for later, then back to the hotel to stash our wares.

By 11:30 we were riding the Burg Express (Euro 3,00 ea, return) to Rheinfels Castle (c.1245) (Euro 4,00 ea.), which sits above St. Goar. While planning our trip, I wasn’t real excited about visiting Rheinfels, in fact, it wasn’t even on our itinerary. The pictures that I saw looked kind of boring – how interesting could the ruins of a castle be? But finally being in St. Goar, along the Rhine, and seeing the Castle perched on its position above the river, I became intrigued, so off we were to explore. And did we ever… we spent the next two hours visiting the museum and poking our noses into all the nooks and crannies of this wonderful castle ruin. Again, we were glad we travel with a flashlight.

The visit to the water closet in the castle was most interesting for its unique plumbing, and near embarrassing for an older couple who didn’t know the difference between dame and herren. They each started walking into the wrong rooms, when I knew I had to stop them, particularly the woman who was walking into the room where my husband was peeing. I shouted out “Nein”, and then proceeded to point to the breasts on the woman figurine which was mounted on the door to the woman’s room, while muttering “boobies, boobies.” Okay, I didn’t know what else to say, but they got the picture. Before I knew it all three of us were standing there laughing and repeating “boobies” while pointing at the breasts. I guess some words can be universal.

We were way overdue for lunch so we took the Burg Express back down the hill to St. Goar, to try a Doner Kabop. I had read a thread on Fodor’s about Doner Kabops while doing research for this trip, so we decided to give the Arkadas Grill a try. It was very much like a Gyro which we can get at fairs and festivals in Pennsylvania (US), only without the mess. Served with pomme frittes and a salad, a glass of wine and a glass of beer, the total came to Euro 17,00.

No trip to St. Goar would be complete without a picture of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. We were lucky enough to arrive at the clock on the hour, so we got to see the Cuckoo bird in action. We snapped off our obligatory shots of the clock, then headed for the train station, to catch the 15:20. We bought return tickets to Bacharach (Euro 5,80 ea), but would get off the train first at Oberwesel.

Within five minutes we were in Oberwesel, where we spent two hours exploring the town and walking the city fortification wall, checking out some of the 16 towers that still remain of the original 21. We visited the very gothic, and very red on the outside, Liebfrauenkirche (c.1308), and admired the beautiful gold alter screen (c.1331). We stopped on the market square and paid homage to the enormous wine glass perched as a monument to the region’s wine making industry. Overall, we found Oberwesel to be incredibly quaint, and less touristy than St. Goar - more of a real working town – only draped in medieval charm.

We jumped back on the train at 17:26, arriving in Bacharach four minutes later. As soon as we walked from the train station and down the main street towards the center, we fell in love with this beautiful little town. What we saw before us was the quintessential German wine town, complete with half-timbered houses with brightly colored flowers streaming from the window boxes, grape vines incorporated into the landscaping, and outdoor cafes with people sitting around drinking the local favorites.

We walked down Oberstrasse, the main roadway running through the Markt Square, past the Rathaus. Looking down some of the side streets we could see several of the five remaining (of 16 original) towers, which have now been converted to hotels and residences. We admired the half-timbered construction of the Altes Haus (c.1368), and were amazed that the building which houses the Weinstube Fritz Bastian was still standing, despite the incredible lean.

The town was very busy when we first arrived - there was a local wine festival taking place, complete with fireworks over the Rhine later in the evening (too late for us), and a Rhine River Boat Cruise was in dock, although they must have left shortly after we arrived because the town suddenly became much quieter. We found a seat at the Café am Markt and ordered a wine for me, and yes, a glass of beer for B.J.

After two hours of exploring Bacharach, we got to the train station in plenty of time to catch the 19:26 back to St. Goar. At the scheduled time, a train arrived and we got on, along with another couple. I heard them talking with the conductor in German (which we don’t understand) and they seemed hesitant about being on the train. So I asked the conductor if the train stopped at St. Goar. But by the time I realize his “Nein” was not a good thing, the train had already departed from the platform.

Well, I latched right onto the other couple who got on the train with us, hoping they could explain what the heck was going on. Thank heavens, the woman spoke very decent English, so we followed them to a train compartment, where we learned we had been bitten by the rail strike! And it’s a Saturday… this wasn’t supposed to happen on the weekend. Everyone kept assuring us that the workers only schedule strikes during the work week, to inconvenience the commuters!

The woman explained to us that because of the rail strike they had eliminated the south to north runs for the day. The north to south ran on schedule, so we had no problem getting to Bacharach. It turned out to be sheer luck for us that the train that we were on stopped in Bacharach . It was an EC that was running from Villach to Dortmund, and happened to stop in Bacharach at the station to kill time. As it turned out, we would be able to take the train north to Koblenz, then transfer to another train back south to St. Goar. Oh well, I guess it could have been worse. We could have been sitting at the Bacharach station for quite some time before we figured out we were… umm, screwed.

As it turns out, this lovely couple who assisted us, who live outside of Cologne, and have been married for 38 years, spent the day walking from Oberwesel to Bacharach, about 20 km, drinking wine from different wineries along the way, retracing a route they had done many years earlier, when their children were young. (All right, now I’m really falling in love with Germany and I want to live here, too.)

We arrived in Koblenz around 20:00, and the lovely couple made sure we could catch a connection to St. Goar before they departed company. We had 51 minutes to hang out until the next train south to St. Goar, so what to do? I know, let’s go have a beer and wine at the Hauptbahnhof Café and do some people watching.

We saw some strange people pass through the terminal, and lots of cute doggies, but perhaps the most entertaining person of all was a very tall, very happy, and probably very drunk guy serenading all the travelers with “Roll Out the Barrel”. Cost for the beer & wine – Euro 5,00. Cost for the additional train tickets back to our hotel – Euro 6,00 ea. Cost for spending a Saturday evening in the Koblenz train station – priceless.

We finally caught our train, and arrived back in St. Goar around 21:30, exhausted after another perfect day in Germany, even with the train strike.

Rheinfels Castle - http://www.st-goar.de/17-1-rheinfels-castle.html
Oberwesel – www.oberwesel.de
Bacharach - http://bacharach.de/english/code/xtras/frameset.html

artstuff is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 04:52 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,264
Artstuff:

I give you great credit for a neat, easy to follow, excellent information, fun sidelight report!

I miss my trips to Germany, but like to relive them with great Fodor Trip reports like yours!.

Kudos for using Rick Steves notes and Bavarian Ben website! I have used both in my past journeys! I even have posted on Bavarian Ben a "Travel story" (Short Trip to Rothenburg)

I await your final notes so I can "copy and paste" for future reference.
bmw732002 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 07:03 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,876
one of my friends told his wife (since divorced!) that since herren started with 'her', that was the ladies room.
bigtyke is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 07:31 AM
  #16  
ldh
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 64
artstuff,
Thanks so much for all the info. I'm bookmarking for a future trip, and may very well just follow your trail--it sounds great!
ldh is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 07:35 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,267
Artstuff, nice report, my great grandfather was the Mayor of St. Goar, we used to own a house there, but I never met him. Only heard stories from my Grandmother who grew us there and in Mainz.

Last time we visited, we caught the wine festival in Oberwesel, it was a lot of fun....

Enjoying your report!

owlwoman is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 08:16 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 19
I'm excited to read more of your report, as I'll be in Munich at the end of June and will be staying at the Pension Westfalia.
caitroselin is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 02:45 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 448
Great trip report, can't wait for more.
dgassa is offline  
Mar 17th, 2008, 03:02 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 531
Artstuff,
Excellent trip report. We'll be in several of the same spots during our upcoming trip in early May. Thanks for taking the time and care to craft a wonderfully readable and informative report.
H

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