Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007 - GERMANY - Rhein/Rhine River Cruise Rudesheim to Koblenz (Castles) - Train to Köln (Cologne)

    Another long day ahead of us, we are up early to dine on the fine breakfast provided by Hotel Felsenkeller. We promptly checked out of this comfortable hotel and walked down the nearly deserted early-mourning streets of Rüdesheim to the riverfront.  We would board a KD ship for a cruise down the Rhein/Rhine (former spelling = German; later = English) as far as Koblenz. There we would catch a train farther north to the famous German city of Köln (Cologne). Our travel plans were changing a bit as we heard the news that a railway workers strike might hit the German system the next morning.  We wanted to get as close as possible to Belgium should this happen, as it is a relatively short train ride from Köln straight in to Brussels.  

   Maybe we should title this album, "Misty Castles in the Fog." This less-than-clear morning's Rhein River cruise would take us through the famous Rhine Gorge or "Upper Middle Rhine Valley."  We found it also referred to as the "Lorelei Valley."  This area has the greatest concentration of castles along the Rhein (ca. 40 castles & fortresses along only 65 km of this River!). Somehow we did not pick up the interpretive map showing the castles and other sites of interest between Rüdesheim and Koblenz.  We present here our high-grade selections of castle photos in the order we took them from south to north.  Attempts to identify them is tentative and/or reserved until later.  Any input that would aid us with positive identification would be appreciated.   


Reaching the KD riverside dock, we find the MS Asbach waiting. We are glad we are a bit early as huge tour groups soon arrived to board. No rain, but it was cool with the mist hanging low on the hills. Not a great photography day.

The upper deck filled rapidly with at least 2 Japanese tour groups.  Additionally there were German & French groups.  There were lots of busy cameras.  Not the least of which was our own.

Ehrenfels Castle Ruin ?

We meet another tour boat, Roessler Line's Rheingau, as we pass the village of Assmannshausen.

Rheinstein Castle ?

Reichenstein Castle ?

Fürstenberg Castle Ruins in the mist?

Fürstenberg Castle Ruins again - from a different angle ??

The small village of Lorch ? The parish church is St. Martin.?

Stahleck Castle ?

town of Bacharach

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Gutenfels Castle ?

Schönburg Castle ?

  Oberwesel church ?

  Schönburg Castle, Oberwesel  ??

 Oberwesel tower ??

  Another, less crowded, cruise ship, the MS Germania, heading our way. Is that a face & writing in white between vineyards on the distant hill??

The legendary Loreley/Lorelei Rock. Also see:

Katz Castle

At the popular tourist town of St. Goar on the west side of the Rhein, our ship unloads several tour groups. 

Keith was fascinated by this new type of river cruise ship, named the MS Avalon Tapestry. Imagine an upscale resort plunked on a barge, being pushed by a high-tech dedicated pusher tug.  

Rheinfels Fortress above St. Goar.

Across the river on the east bank, we pull up to St. Goar's smaller sister city, St. Goarshausen. Here we lose other groups of tourists. Our big tour ship seems almost empty now. 

Maus Castle

With considerably more available space now, we take a table with a view and enjoy a beer.  It's also a bit warmer below the open observation deck.  

Keith was impressed with the great load these barges could carry. It appears that there are only a few inches of freeboard before this one would sink like a rock (or bag of sand).

On east side of Rhein, the Marksburg Castle     CLICK HERE to zoom in for closeup.

Stolzenfels Palace/Castle just a few km south of Koblenz on west side of River. We are nearing the end of the cruise. We usually prefer the non-traditional, off-the-beaten-path type to traveling, but this river trip has been interesting & enjoyable, as well as relaxing.

Nearing Koblenz we get this view of the Fortress of Ehrenbreitstein that stands guard across from where the Mosel meets the Rhein. We must now get ready to leave the MS Asbach along with the few other remaining passenges.

Arriving at Koblenz, we took a local bus from the dock to the train station (yes, that castle again). We purchased tickets & a snack in time to conveniently board the Cologne-bound train which was rather full.  Consequently, no photos of this stretch.

Now at Cologne (Köln = German spelling) a little travel-weary, we again engaged the services of the tourist center to book a room for us at a reasonably located & priced hotel.  Checked-in, somewhat rested & refreshed, we walked to the river & along the waterfront toward the train bridge. Here we look back towards Groß St. Martin Church.

Cologne's most noted feature and source of pride is the immense Cologne Cathedral.  It is touted as Germany's most visited site with 6.5 million visitors annually. 

This transept view is less tall and therefore a bit more photographable.  

Given the height at the front view, the average tourist must choose between the steeples or the crowds on the ground. Keith found it interesting to watch other tourists trying to photograph this seemingly unphotographable structure. Then he tried & failed to get it all in one picture. Even his mini-video wasn't that great. 

Another interesting long day draws to a close. Time for a good German meal - Keith's choice was an outside table at the Im Martinswinkel pub-café with a nice view of the waterfront. The food was good, the service by our helpful waitress excellent, plus the 2-apiece Kösch beers capped the day well.

Back to Europe 2007 Index Page

Hit Counter