Friday, December 28, 2012

Trains, Rain & Castles

Today is our last day based in Worms and the only place left on our list of ‘must see’ places was Koblenz and the little towns on the Rhine.  We headed out on a Lander ticket on the 8:55train to Mainz where we connected with the train going up the left bank.  We’d done a bit of investigating last night (thanks to the brochures Dagmar collected for us) and decided that Tony’s knee wouldn’t hold up to  Marksburg Castle and that it would be better to stop on the way up at a castle called Burg Reichenstein which is just downstream from Bingen (which is on the opposite bank to Rudesheim where we visited with Dagmar & Matthias just before Xmas).  Trouble is … no-one told the train driver and we sped through Trechtingshasusen at full steam.  A quick re-adjustment of plans and we got out at Oberwesel. 

What a pretty little town, dating from the 1100’s.  It is overlooked by Burg Schonburg and has a medieval wall along a good part of the Rhine frontage which you can climb up on and walk along.  The Haags Turm (Haags Tower)  built in the 1400’s, a Medieval Town Hall complete with Ratskeller (basement restaurant) and the very beautiful Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) are some of the many highlights.  Lots of beautiful little shops in the old part of town too. 

Back on the train to Koblenz, then a bus from the main railway station into the town proper.  We grabbed lunch at a cute little café called Muttis (Mothers) and then wandered down to Deutsches Eck (German Corner) where the Mosel River meets the Rhine.  Both were running very full after all the rain in the region in the last few weeks. There is a gigantic statue of Kaiser Wilhelm (the great) on horseback and another church, St Kastors Basillica near the point where the rivers meet.  We wandered back along the Mosel towards the Alstadt passing the ubiquitous river cruise boats and some lovely old buildings including the Alte Burg (12th century) and lots more churches. Another beautiful Liebfrauenkirche (1180AD) right in the middle of the old town had stunningly beautiful stained glass windows and a sign stuck near the door which translated as “Santa Free Zone”.. priceless! 

Since Lauren has joined us my photos have taken a decidedly ridiculous turn.  She and Tony now pose for ‘father & daughter’ photos each trying to make a more stupid face than the last one.  It took 4 attempts at Deutsches Eck before I could stop laughing and actually press the shutter button!

Having missed out on Burg Reichenstein on the way to Koblenz, we decided to stop on the way back at St Goar … noted as a pretty little town, that Lauren had visited in September and loved.  By the time we got there (trains are wonderful in Germany, they go on time, are warm, clean and have an on-board loo – but connections are not always kind to the time poor traveller) it was almost dark and it had started to rain.  Sadly we were all pretty under-whelmed.  It was easy enough to see how lovely it would be in good weather, and particularly in spring & summer, but on a cold wet mid-winters late afternoon, it was more miserable than beautiful.

We finally got back to Worms about 7.30pm.  Lauren had to go to an internet café to print out her ticket to Munich and Tony & I went to the little supermarket to get nibbles for the train tomorrow.  We stopped on the way home for a doner … Germany’s #1 fast food.  2.50euro and a meal in itself.
Cards & wine plus packing to leave finished off another memorable day.  Lauren will stay here tonight because we have to be out the door at 7.30am for our train.

Next stop Munich.

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