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July 22, 2015 / Jim Fenton

Europe Day 15: The Rhine

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cruising down the Rhine

Cruising down the Rhine

We have been looking forward to a day without the car, so we walked the mile or so into Bacharach from our hotel. There we boarded a river tour boat for a cruise to Boppard, about 1 1/2 hours north, passing through one of the most scenic stretches of the Rhine. The weather couldn’t have been better. We passed several of the long-haul river cruise ships, with their staterooms and huge picture windows, as we went. Most of the people got off our boat about halfway at St. Goar; it appeared that many of these were part of groups from tour buses.

When we got to Boppard, we made our way quickly to the train station to head back south. We bought our tickets, helped a Scottish couple who were having trouble buying theirs — and got on the wrong train, one heading north. Ugh. So we got off at the first train station, Spay, a pleasant village where there isn’t anything to do but watch the river flow by. We bought a return ticket to Boppard, waited most of an hour for the next train, and continued to St. Goar. Not the best use of an hour and a few euros in train fare, but not a disaster either.

St. Goar is another touristy village, dominated by the Burg (castle) Rheinfels. We walked up to the castle from the town, paid admission, and took a convoluted tour of the various fortifications and facilities of this medieval castle. Lots of stairs! Celeste particularly enjoyed exploring all the hidden rooms. Bring your flashlight if you go there, or use the flashlight on your phone as we did.

Bacharach and up the Rhine

View from city wall of Bacharach and up the Rhine

We made our way back to Bacharach on the train (the right one, this time) and explored the town. We decided on a brewpub that was very pleasant except that the German atmosphere was shattered by a nearby table of loud Texans. Not surprising in a tourist town.

After dinner we walked one of the old City walls and a trail that took us up to the local castle that is now used as a youth hostel. We climbed up a lookout over the Rhine and city before returning to the hotel after a very full day.

This article is part of a series about our recent vacation in Europe. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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