Germany: boat trip on the Rhine along the road romantic castles

"Life is like in heaven, gives us Rhine-father"
Ludwig Hёlti

Today the journey by boat on the Middle Rhine or a trip on the train along its shores - a great opportunity to enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Germany. In addition to numerous castles, the face of the region determine the lovely old towns with fortified walls with towers and gates, as well as different styles of old churches and denominations. At every step here will meet the charming village of winemakers from the sunlit vineyards, located between steep cliffs. Millions of visitors come each year in the romantic countryside of the Middle Rhine, where between the cities of Rüdesheim and Koblenz is the largest number of castles in the world.
So we could not resist a small boat trip to these sites during a visit to Germany in August 2013 .

So, sailed ... Even in the days of the ancient Romans rocky valley of the Rhenish Slate Mountains has become an important traffic artery in the water and on land. Among the Romans the region's residents have learned to build fortifications and grow grapes on the sunny slopes of the mountains. Each of the 32 German emperors and kings went after his election in Frankfurt on a journey along the Middle Rhine, the purpose of which was the coronation ceremony in Aachen. On the river banks of the population welcomed the Rhine Valley:

The impetus for the development of tourism in the Rhine Valley was Goethe's journey to these places in 1774, who later sang in his romantic poetry the beauty of local nature. And in the early 19th century, Rhine Valley turned into attractive target for tourists from all over the world. Suddenly awakened interest in the ruins brought to the beginning of the restoration of castles. Today, the majority of locks are available for inspection, many of them located restoration workshops and museums. You can make a complete journey from one end point to another - from Mainz to Cologne, or vice versa, is to whom it is more convenient to start from. And you can catch a boat at any pier between these cities and get where like best. Our water travel that day captured a very small portion of the Rhine from the small town of St. Goarshausen until quite tiny town Kaub. Dispatched we sail here on this snow-white handsome man from the pier of the town of St. Goarshausen. And on the other side could see another town - just Sankt Goar. Both have been named in honor of St. Goar, who in the 6th century, a hermit living on the site of the present cathedral church Sv.Goara, built a chapel:

While waiting for a landing on the ship, we decided to look around a little bit.
The town of St. Goarshausen is very small, with a population of just over 1,300 people. All of its buildings are located right along the banks of the Rhine.
It is a light building - Evangelical Church, founded in 1863. In 2013 it celebrated the anniversary - the 150th anniversary:

On the waterfront immediately attracts the attention of the sculpture, made like in Indian style. But when approached to consider it more closely, we saw that in fact her cut a large number of different parts, relating specifically to this region of Germany - the emblem of St. Goarshausen, the layout of the castle, wine barrels, figures of people, and the base of the sculpture encircles the stave. There is also an inscription «Unesco»:

On the opposite side one can see the ruins of the castle Reynfelz. Its construction began in 1245, and already 10 years later the castle received its first baptism of fire. In the 15th century the castle as a result of numerous reconstructions and completions turned into a fortress with a luxurious palace in the Renaissance style.
Today, the castle of the former greatness Reynfelz were only more or less preserved ruins:

Visit the castle can be from April to October, on request, accompanied by a guide. The excursion lasts 1.5 hours. Inspect possible underground mine tunnels and multi-storey gallery of the fortress wall. Parking next to the castle. The rise of Sankt Goar - 15 minutes. And very far, because of the mountains, you can see the white tower of the castle Shterrenberg, built in the 11th century as the imperial castle. Located near the village (commune), Kamp-Bornhofen. Due to its location on top of a steep cliff, he was protected on three sides by enemy attacks. Protection of the fourth side provides two thick walls, a deep moat and gates. However, already in 1568, the castle came into complete disrepair and was used as a quarry. A few years ago Shterrenberg gained its original color: white with contrasting red hewn stone. The castle is available for inspection on a daily basis, there are a parking lot. You can reach it on foot within 30 minutes from the Bornhofen Monastery:

We loaded onto the ship, and finally start our boat trip on the Rhine.
But before I show you two more very famous local castle.
Meet Castle Mouse over Vellmihom, or simply lock Mouse:

Nicknamed the "mouse", he received because of the proximity of the castle Katz (cat). Originally it called Castle Turnburg or Toyerburg. At one time he served as the residence of the Archbishop of Trier.
In 1806, Napoleon gave the order to blow up the castle, like many other castles of the Rhine. In the years 1900-1906, this magnificent monument of architecture was fortunately restored according to old plans.
Visit the castle is possible by prior arrangement. Entrance from the city Vellmih, 25 minutes on foot. And on the other side of the town of St. Goarshausen Katz Castle is located:

Here it is close:

It was built in the 14th century. Just like its neighbor in 1806 was blown up by Napoleon, and at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, rebuilt:

All swam. Weather is the most for a river walk - the sun shines brightly, but not hot, in the blue sky aircraft "draw" crosses:

Now we consider St. Goarshausen with water. It is a local Catholic church of St. John the Baptist:

We sail on, and now the whole town at a glance:

Very nice look of its low houses on a background of green mountains:

The white town of St. Goarshausen toe the line stretched along the Rhine, and above it stands proudly Castle Katz:

It is said that after the restoration of the castle in the early 20th century, later the owners changed his appearance by a variety of completions and thus violated its flavor. I do not know how the castle looked before, but in this form it I really like. Much more unpleasant fact that it is closed today for inspection:

And we continue to sail and enjoy the wonderful views around:

Traffic at this time on the Rhine is very active. Most of all, of course, pleasure boats:

There are also trucks:

And here is the river police:

To look back and see again the castle Katz:


Located high on a mountain, it is still not long out of sight:

Although there is now the ship will roll to the left. Rhine - quite a meandering river, and therefore such turns ahead of us will be a lot more:

And here is the sign "555 km":

This means that we are approaching the famous rock Lorelyay. In the Russian language is more familiar name Lorelei:

At the foot of the cliff is a bronze sculpture of a mermaid Loreley. Unfortunately, the shot hit yet and the local mermaid with her companion)))

And then it's time to tell us what is so famous Lorelyay this rock.
It looks like nothing special - the usual slate rock, however, is quite impressive size:

But there is one feature. Directly beneath the rock is very narrow and at the same time one of the deepest places on the Rhine.
Up until the 19th century the passage of ships and rafts past the rock turned out for the pitfalls and dangerous whirlpool in the test. Shortly before three bells called to prayer team. A rock was more famous for its multiple echoes which can be heard here. It was believed that this is the voice of spirits:

Not surprisingly, a rock was many legends. The most famous of them talks about the sorceress Lorelyay, famous for its ethereal beauty and enchanting singing. Spellbound sailors without taking his eyes from the top of the cliff on which sat beauty, forgetting about the dangerous reefs and fast-flowing river. Their boats will inevitably crashing on the rocks, and they drowned in the Rhine:

Young Crown Count of the Palatinate, who had heard about the beauty, decided to swim in the moonlight with a few loyal servants to the rock. Fascinated by the beauty of the Virgin, for a moment they forgot about the management of the boat.
Impassioned Count impatient jumped into the water to swim to shore as quickly as possible. But he was destined to drown in a river rapid:

His father ordered the catch and kill the witch. But when the soldiers cordoned off the rock, so as not to give the girl to escape, she called to the aid of his father - the River Rhine. Gigantic waves topped foam crests rose above the river and carried the maiden off. Since then, no one has ever seen more Lorelyay sorceress. Only occasionally in the moonlight over the Rhine is heard singing a magical ...

Many Romantic poets appealed to this legend. The whole world glorified rock Lorelyay poem by Heinrich Heine, and later set to music by composer Zilherom. From the parking lot at the foot of the coastal Lorelyay you can climb up the ladder:

Because of the rotation swim meet other ships:

Around wherever cast look, the kingdom of lush vegetation:

And everywhere look out tower of a castle:

Along the mountain pass road, repeating the sweeping curves of the Rhine:

And periodically sail by bright houses lovely small towns:

Interestingly, that is located in this building?

Transportation of cargo containers on the Rhine:

At first thought it was the usual red buoy, but looked closely, and it is not so simple, I do not even know what it really is:

Here they are treacherous pitfalls of the Rhine,

which are very popular with the local birds like cormorants:

Look at the views from the ship - a handsome curly Rhine and the mountains:

And I noticed that along the coast all along the way set the backlight. I can imagine how nice to be here in the evening!

And so far it has seemed perfect Oberwesel - the city of towers and wine:

But this I will tell you next time.
See you there!