Readers, Welcome to my blog (formerly Birds, Blooms, Books, etc). I'm entering a new decade taking on the challenge of moving from Maryland after living there 46 years and learning about my new home here in New England in the Live Free or Die state - New Hampshire. Join me as a write this new chapter of my life.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ehrenfels Castle Hike

On Thursday, March 29th our ship docked at Rudesheim after lunch.  

We had previously signed up to take a hike to Ehrenfels Castle.

This is the summary of the outing in the cruise book:
"Take a scenic hike through the vineyards towards the ruins of Ehrenfels Castle.  Begin by walking through Rudesheim and up into the surrounding vineyards where you will have beautiful views over the town below. The hike continues through the vineyards until you arrive at the site of Ehrenfels Castle.  Built in the 13th century by the Archbishop of Mainz, the castle stood overlooking the Rhine Gorge until it was destroyed in 1689 by the French.  From this picturesque hilltop, enjoy wonderful views over the Rhine where you can see the Mouse Tower and Klopp Castle in the distance.  The hike returns to the ship by following a different path that brings you closer to the river."

There were quite a few people signed up for this hike which was purported to be 6 miles and the highest level of difficulty.  A second guide was procured apparently at the last minute.  We were in her group though Dan had picked up vibes that she was not the better of the two guides.  He was right as we found out later because I didn't agree to switch groups.

We got a much slower start.  The guide didn't wear the microphone which meant that to tell the group anything we had to stop so she could relate whatever history or tidbit or observation she had.  It got to be even slower going.  She spent quite a bit of time in the town.

Another stop to relate information.  Dan is in green.  It was a cold day!

Once we got into the vineyards Dan and I had had enough so we went on ahead.

The vineyards are on terraces that cut across the mountain side.  Here's another view of the castle and vineyards from the ship.

In hiking we got above the town and river.

We lost sight of the group behind us and kept looking up to see the ruins.  Remember how it said in the description, hilltop?  Well this statue was not the castle ruins.

Look how steep the vineyards are.

Well, the ruins ended up to be below us and to get to them we had to go through the vineyards.

It was a very steep descent between vines that were just starting to grow.  Here's looking up.

Once down we still had steep stairs to go down to the ruins.

With our detour, the group beat us to the ruins!  But we had an adventure.  The ruins are under renovation and chained off from access.  Here's an old drawing.

Heading back to town.

And then back on the pathway to the ship.

Next port is Ludwigshafen where I took a bus trip to Speyer and Dan went hiking above Heidelberg.
[Off to visit the granddaughters in New Hampshire.  I'll continue posting about the Rhine Cruise on my return home.]

Friday, April 20, 2018

Cruising the Rhine Gorge

One of my favorite parts of our river cruise on the Rhine was the morning we traveled through the Rhine Gorge.

Here is how The Daily Cruiser, the daily newsletter we found on our bed each night, described this stretch of the river.

"Today's cruise surely will be a highlight of your trip as we will cruise through the Rhine Gorge, famous throughout the world for its castles.  No other river in the world has a greater concentration of castles or castle ruins than the Rhine, especially between Koblenz and Bingen.  You will see steep slopes, many covered by vineyards and dotted with castles and picturesque villages such as Boppard and St. Goarshausen.  While cruising through the Rhine Gorge, we also pass the famous Lorelei Rock, located in the narrowest and deepest stretch of the river.  There are many stories about the Lorelei, so be sure to be on the sun deck when your cruise manage tells the tale and provides activating commentary about the many sights along this famous gorge."

Sit back and enjoy your virtual cruise.

The last castle ruins is one we hiked to in the afternoon after the ship docked in Rudesheim.  More on that hike in another post.