I left the bustle of Frankfurt by way of a double decker diesel train. Thankfully day 2 of my train adventure did not involve elbowing anyone in the head. It did, however, involve my missing a key transfer point. Thanks to the collective efforts of amused fellow passengers, it was a quick recovery. Given I’m off the beaten path, I’ll consider an easy trek. Considering my minor fumbles, I am finding it easy to navigate the Deutsche Bahn. Thank goodness.
My train ran along the Rhine river, whose deep grey-green waters are bordered with immense castles and orderly vineyards atop the Rhenish Massif. The Rhine Valley has much to offer–for one, my destination, Bachrach (in yellow on above map), a historical city of medieval beauty. i took in the breathtaking sights in town, ate a 4-course vegan meal (!), and rested in a proper hotel room, free from pretentious ramblings of the backpack crowd. Tonight I wander within fortress walls, an extra inside a storybook landscape.
As I disembarked the train, I followed the cobblestone with my rolling luggage in hand. It was making such a horribly loud noise. I was thankful to find a private room at Hotel Zur Post. It was certainly more than a hostel but worth every €. The hotel is located right in the middle of the glorious views, views that I am about to inundate you with.
Bacharach has been around for more than 1,000 years. That’s 1,000 years. It is mind-boggling to think that the paths and steps I am taking in 2013 hold Celtic beginnings–that the timber-framed houses held life since the 1300’s.
The town is filled with staircases up, either to the expanse of vineyards or to peaked high towers that watch over all.
I followed the vineyard fields to climb Postenturm, the only preserved post along the now destroyed castle wall that guarded Stahleck Castle. Stahleck Castle is now a hostel. I am hoping to check out the property tomorrow when I have a bit more energy as it is atop Bacharach’s high hills.
Views from the top.
View from the way down the slate steps.
It’s hard to believe that a place like this would have a vegan option around. Well, my new favorite German city has something even better! A four-course vegan meal from Stuebers Restaurant inside the Rhein Hotel. The meal was exactly what I needed. Sitting outside a tall castle tower, the river and occasional DB on my right and a regional dry white wine in my hand, I feast like royalty. So what if I couldn’t read the German menu! It’s all-vegan. Here are my courses:
A fantastic salad that knocked my socks off: Fennel, cabbage, butter lettuce, crisp and warm hijiki tofu, frisee, dill, snips of green onion and orange pepper , pepitas, and stringed carrot… and my gosh, probably other stuff I couldn’t even identify. It was so good.
A delicious carrot and coconut soup, dusted with paprika and presented beautifully.
The entree was so fitting for the forested area–earthy beets, tangy cranberries and wild mushrooms tossed with pasta and topped with a variety of greens.
Dessert time! A delicious trifecta of sorbet deliciousness: black cherry, gooseberry and rose. I was so delighted to have such a fresh, flavorful and beautiful meal. Thank you Stuebers!
After dinner, I climbed the Wernerkapelle. Kind of sick:
Its namesake is the former “saint” Werner von Oberwesel, known for his anti-Semitic associations. According to the Christian blood libel, which was typical of the times, the 16-year-old was murdered on Maundy Thursday 1287 by members of the local Jewish community, who then used his blood for Passover observances. On the grounds of this alleged ritual murder, there arose an anti-Semitic mob who waged a pogrom, wiping out Jewish communities not only on the Middle Rhine, but also on the Moselle and in the Lower Rhine region. In folk Christianity arose the cult of Werner, which was only stricken from the Bishopric of Trier calendar in 1963. Source: wiki.
View from the grounds of Wernerkapelle.
Wernerkapelle. There is an engraving on the site from Pope John XXIII:
“We recognize today that many centuries of blindness have shrouded our eyes, so that we no longer saw the goodliness of Thy Chosen People and no longer recognized our firstborn brother’s traits. We discover now that a mark of Cain stands on our forehead. In the course of the centuries our brother Abel has lain in blood that we spilt, and he has wept tears that we brought forth, because we forgot Thy love. Forgive us the curse that we unrightfully affixed to the Jews’ name. Forgive us for nailing Thee in their flesh for a second time to the Cross. For we knew not what we did…” Source: wiki.
It’s time to rest my weary head. Tomorrow I set out on a river boat to continue my journey heading north. Though Germany’s rail system is punctual and convenient, I wanted to take advantage of the benefit of the KD, a fleet of river boats who cross-honoring my rail pass. And the prospect of languidly strolling along the Rhine and catching sight of medieval castles peeking from the trees is very appealing.