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Rhine and Mosel Valley Photos and mini trip report

Rhine and Mosel Valley Photos and mini trip report

Sep 3rd, 2009, 01:07 PM
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Rhine and Mosel Valley Photos and mini trip report

This past July we spent about a week in the middle Rhine and Mosel Valleys. It was kind of an "add-on" to our major trip, which was two weeks in Greece. It all started when I found a good price on flights from JFK to Dusseldorf, where I could then continue on to Santorini and Athens. Since I wanted a cushion around the flights I decided to add a couple days at each end in Germany. And then research showed me how much there was to see in the area so we stole a few days from Greece and added a few more and ended up with a week. It was great.

So we did two nights in Dusseldorf, and did day trips to Koln and Aachen. Then after Greece we spent six nights in Boppard and did day trips all up and down the middle Rhine Valley and to Trier and Cochen on the Mosel.

My photos are at: http://www.pbase.com/annforcier/germ..._mosel_valleys

In Dusseldorf we stayed at the Ibis Hotel- 59€, (breakfast available for 10€ per person) Location – there’s a door inside the train station, so couldn’t be more convenient to go to and from the airport or take trains (which you’ll want to do as there isn’t much for the tourist in Dusseldorf). As with all Ibis’s it’s clean, spacious enough and has everything you need – AC, TV, hairdryer. Internet on a desktop in the lobby is free, they charge for wi-fi in the rooms. Only drawback is that it’s at least a half hour walk to the river-front/old town. But there’s plenty of fast food in the train station.

In Bopparad we stayed at the Hotel Weinhauspatt 55€ Steinstrasse 30 www.hotelweinhauspatt.de/[email protected], What a find. This is a wonderful little hotel in the center of Boppard, run by great guy from England. It’s in an historic building on a picturesque little square with half timbered houses and fountain, less than a ten minute walk from the train station and riverfront. The room we had (#15) was very spacious with sofa, four poster bed, plenty of space, nice furniture. Fabulous breakfast was included. Free wi-fi. The hotel is run by John Durcan who also runs a small pub downstairs. We felt Boppard was the perfect place to stay for day trips up and down the Rhine and Mosel and this hotel made our stay even more enjoyable.

I'll post some of our observations and what we did as soon as I get more time.
isabel is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 01:14 PM
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>>Only drawback is that it’s at least a half hour walk to the river-front/old town. <<

But it is only 2 minutes by underground train and just 5 minutes by streetcar.
traveller1959 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 01:21 PM
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Wonderful pics! Thanks for posting!
Bitter is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 05:23 PM
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I agree that the photos are great. I look forward to your further observations.

Regards, Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 06:33 PM
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Isabel, thanks for the great pics. I was in the area last summer and your photos brought the trip all back. Really loved your framing through flower beds, arches, windows...
latedaytraveler is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2009, 09:14 PM
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Great photos of a great area.

We are leaving for Germany on Sunday and are spending our first 2 days in Rudesheim. We've been to the Mosel and Rhine several times now and find it's the perfect place to begin or end a trip to Germany if you're flying into or out of Frankfurt.
bettyk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Beautiful photo's! Thanks for posting them. Have a great (and safe) trip Bettyk.

pja1 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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Thanks for the nice comments on the photos. Here are some of the highlights and impressions of our trip:

Middle Rhine Valley – Lots of pretty little towns with half timbered houses and tall church steeples with ringing bells and more castles than you can visit in a week, spread out along two pretty river valleys. The pace is slow, the towns all roll up their sidewalks at 6 pm, and the majority of tourists are retired Europeans, with a few families. A great area for hiking and biking.

There are bike paths all along the rivers. Every place we went it was: river, bike/pedestrian path, car road, railroad tracks. So pick your form of transportation and you just follow the rivers from town to castle to town to castle.
We did it by train, and while enjoyable enough, I think the area lends itself more to having a car. The trains go everywhere and are fairly frequent, but I did feel by the end of the week that I’d spent more time than I would have liked waiting around in train stations. Some trains don’t stop at each town so if going to some of the smaller towns you have to wait for a local train, and that can be a couple of hours. Weekends they are less frequent. And while all the towns, and most of the castles are accessible on foot from the train stations, an average 15-30 minute uphill hike to each castle limits how many you can visit.

There is a pass you can get, the Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket that is 27 € and good for up to 5 people for one day on the regional trains. Even with only two of us it was the cheapest option each day.

Highlights – wasn’t sure we wanted to do a river cruise but glad we did. Several companies run them, the biggest is KD (Koln-Dusseldorf) and from Boppard to Rhudesheim and back was 21€ per person. Four hours up river and two and a half coming back with either one or three hours in Rhudesheim (you need at least two hours to “see” the town). Definitely the way to see the Rhine valley. The river is a very busy “highway” with tons of huge barges (some carry 96 truck bodies!) plus lots of day cruisers and a good number of “River cruise ships” which apparently do week or more trips (but of course way smaller than ocean cruise ships) –so lots of activity to watch. Plus it’s the best view of all those castles.
isabel is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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Thanks, Paul. Will try to keep good notes for my trip report.

Isabel, we've always had a car when visiting this area. For those who feel comfortable driving, it is a great way to see alot in a short time.

Sounds like you really enjoyed your time there even without a car!
bettyk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2009, 04:03 PM
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Beautiful pictures! You have such an eye for fun as well as great photography. We went to much the same places last summer and I relived it through your lovely pictures. Thanks!
lilcaltraveller is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 04:12 AM
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Trier – we did a day trip to Trier, down the Mosel almost to the Luxemburg border. It’s Germany’s oldest city and has several Roman ruins and an intact massive Roman Gate. It has a fabulous, lively, town square that is one of the most picturesque I’ve seen, plus a world heritage cathedral. We were there about 3-4 hours which was enough time to take a few hundred photos, visit the cathedral, have lunch and just enjoy being there.

Cochem – it was still pretty early on our way back from Trier so we stopped (although we had planned a separate day and a visit to the castle but ended up not going back). Much smaller than Trier, and right on the river (spread out on both sides) and extremely picturesque with an adorable castle hovering over the town. Town square is tiny but couldn’t be any cuter. It was pretty touristy but you could see why. But even being touristy a lot of the shops and cafes were closing up at 6pm. We spent a couple of hours wandering around and felt we had seen most of the town (but didn’t have time for the castle).

Castles – We did Marksburg (the most intact on the Rhine, you have to take a guided tour). The castle is set above the town of Braubach which is extremely tiny (maybe three or four restaurants and a coffee shop) but has a couple of streets that could be a movie set. We also did Rheinfels (St Goar) which is the largest ruin on the Rhine. A small part of it is a hotel but the rest you can pay to explore. No guided tour but they give you written info as to what used to be what. I had downloaded an even better “tour” than the one that came with the ticket. Above the town of Bacharach is Burg Stahleck, now a youth hostel but the courtyard has a little café that is open to everyone.

We had wanted to do Burg Eltz which is supposed to be the best castle in the region, among the best anywhere depending on what you read. But the train schedules and hour and a half hike each way made us decide instead to do a couple of other castles – Rheinstein and Reichenstein – both walkable from the Trechtingshausen train station (near Bingen). Both were redone in the 1800s during the Rhine Romanticism period but Rheinstein gives a relatively authentic idea of what a medieval castle was like. Reichenstein felt more English gothic revival (Hogwarts-ish) and is set up more as a museum. Both allow you to roam around and climb towers and such. Reichenstein is right above the town, but Rheinstein is about a half hour walk but very enjoyable. After you leave the train station you cross the tracks to the river side and follow the bike/walking path along the river till the signs direct you under the tracks and then up the hill.

All the castles we did except Burg Stahleck charge admission, only Marksburg required you to take a tour. They are all about 15-30 minutes uphill hikes from the towns they tower over. None of the hikes is particularly strenuous, some are part steps, part path. (I counted the steps up to Stahleck, it was 391 plus some sloping path parts – they were all about this high). They were all very well marked.

Rhine Villages – We stayed in Boppard and visited Bacharch, Oberwesel, St Goar and Rudsheim. Rudhseim was the most touristy – the place for shopping, restaurants with live German music, etc. Boppard was the largest, mostly a non-touristy town but pretty enough and large enough that there are plenty of restaurants, etc. Good waterfront promenade. Bacharach was the most visually impressive with a miniature town square that actually has been used as a movie set, a ruined Gothic chapel, a big church, and several town gates, not to mention Burg Stahleck towering over it. Oberwesel is the most “working class”, some pretty buildings and restaurants but not terribly touristy and compared to the others not as picturesque. St Goar gets the most press – at least it seems it’s the one I had read the most about, but it didn’t impress me any more (or even as much as) the others. More touristy and less picturesque. Of course it does have that impressive Rheinfels Ruins dominating the town.

Things in Germany we could have skipped: Dusseldorf, Koln, Aachen and Koblenz. Now they all had some redeeming characteristics, but compared to most of the places I’ve been in Europe, they really didn’t do it for me. Koln is of course famous for its cathedral which is very tall and very Gothic. But I’d heard it is one of the most impressive in Europe and I don’t agree, I can list at least ten others I like better. The rest of Koln is very post-war, having been mostly flattened. There are a few nice buildings along the riverfront, but even that is too big and busy to be really pleasant. Dusseldorf is even worse – not a tourist destination. We only went there because we got a great deal on flights into Dusseldorf airport. The waterfront/old town is pleasant enough to spend an afternoon and evening if you are passing through like we were, I would not go out of my way to go there. Aachen was the nicest (and smallest) of the three cities we saw in that area. That cathedral is pretty nice, and there are a few nice squares. It was “ok”. Koblenz doesn’t really have anything to recommend it other than its location where the Rhine and Mosel met. We felt we wanted to see it, and of course guide books make every place sound good, but I kind of felt like I wasted a morning stopping there.
isabel is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Fabulous photos, and I appreciate your observations as well. Makes me want to return!
gabriele is offline  
Sep 6th, 2009, 08:44 AM
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Excellent photos - among the best I have seen. You have a very good eye.

What camera did you use?
bigtyke is offline  
Sep 7th, 2009, 08:06 AM
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Isabel, your pictures are great. Enjoyed your framing and details. #280 (I think) looked as if the boat were coming right at you! Thanks for sharing!

Bigtyke, if you click on the thumbnails and then click on individual pictures, underneath you will find the camera make and model. Click on "full exif" if you want the technical details (shutter speed, aperture, etc.). Isabel, I appreciate you including the technical details as not all pbase users do. While I know that conditions will not be ever exactly the same, it gives me a good idea of how a camera behaves in various lights. Thanks again!
irishface is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 09:54 AM
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You should be getting a commission check from Abe's Of Maine!!!

I too was entranced by your photos almost as soon as you posted the link. When I found what camera you used (Panasonic DMC-FZ18) I started a Google search for reviews of that camera. It was rather highly rated and sounded like what I was looking for - a reasonably priced camera with tons of features yet still easy to use. Another Google seach eventually took me to Abe's of Maine where I found the absolute lowest price at a mere $199.95. This beat E-Bay sellers with used Panasonics. Always the vacillator I paused to consider whether I really really needed a new camera, then went and looked at your pics again. By the time I refreshed the Abe's website, maybe 45 minutes later, all the cameras were gone! No doubt countless other Fodorites I had the same reaction.
Zeus is offline  
Sep 9th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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Hi. Yes the camera I used primarily is the Panasonic FZ18. I also use a Canon SD870 as my little back up. The Panasonic is the second I've had, this one replaced an FZ8 which was almost identical. They are great little cameras, especially when you consider the price. (although I didn't get mine for $199! - it was more like $275 and I thought that was cheap). I also have a digital SLR, and there are definitely some advantages to those, but the Panasonic is the best of the non-SLR digitals I've owned, and I've had several including Nikon, Olympus, and Minolta. And those other "pro-sumer" cameras were several times as expensive as the Panasonic.
isabel is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 12:33 AM
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aussie_10 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 10:24 PM
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Isabel, your photos are stunning. Thank you. I'm going to Frankfurt over Christmas and will have one day to spend on the Rhine, was trying to decide what village(s) to visit, but I don't think it matters greatly - after looking at your pictures, I don't think I will be disappointed whatever town I stop at.
nz101 is offline  
May 30th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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Hi Isabel, thanks for the great pictures. We are traveling to the Mosel valley in mid June. Can you tell me where you stayed while in Dusseldorf?
LauritaRose is offline  
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