Rhine Castles and Ruedesheim


Fortunately the fog of the day before had cleared…

Our riverboat SS Antoinette stayed in Koblenz through the night so that we would be sailing down the scenic Middle Rhine the next morning. In these mountainous and untamed regions during the late Middle ages, the Rhine was the main trade route between the Netherlands and what is now Switzerland. Faster and safer than land routes, the Rhine was the lifeblood of commerce. And the rulers of the tiny duchys along the river charged tariffs for passage along their shores. And they built castles to display their strength and wealth. You could call them pirates or robber barons, but in that time it was simply business as usual. The castles were built during the eleventh and twelfth centuries. They have been bombed and fallen into ruin. The German Castle Association has long tried to restore and maintain them. Many are hotels or youth hostels or restaurants.

I was up on the deck around 730am that morning to see small towns and the yellowing vineyards on the steep slope of the river.

A little later dozens of stone castles with classic crenelated towers and walls started appearing atop the cliffs, many above pretty river towns and small cities. Our Cruise Director Chad narrated the passage, explaining the history and condition of each major castle. That particulars were interesting, but the vistas were most memorable. It was also at this point that Donna and I decided that this was a great time of year to travel the Rhine.

My castle pictures…

Donna’s castle pictures…

Near midday we reached the scenic town of Ruedesheim which was very touristy, but almost empty.

Rain was threatening so we immediately took the seilbahn (gondola) up the slope to a German monument and incredible views of the town and the river.

There were sections along the Rhine which were once dangerous including the section that gives us the story of the Lorelei. One interesting features a Bar-Church combination where you have to enter the church by going through the bar.

I took about 600 pictures that day. (FYI…many of the best pictures here are Donna’s.)



About cruiseportatlas

Since 1994 John has worked in the Travel Industry after several years in Higher Education and Hospitality. He was a training executive for Certified Vacations before leading Oceania Cruises training efforts beginning in 2005. In 2010, he was appointed to head Training for Prestige Cruise Holdings, owner of both Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. In 2011, John started CruisePortAtlas.com. Since 2012, John has been selling cruises for iCruise.com. John was always interested in travel, but was inspired to make it his profession by his wife, Donna. John is an Army brat who spent 3 years in Germany when he was a small brat and the rest of his brat years in the states of Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia and Pennsylvania. He studied History at the College of William and Mary. John reads voraciously, cooks and eats prodigiously, travels happily, enjoys music, art and architecture from any place or time and has finally stopped smoking.

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