Medieval Germany - Christy

Bacharach Travel Blog

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Family Picture (Burg Eltz) - Moselkern, Germany

Friday morning (June 19th) we arrived via high speed train in Koblenz, Germany.  After checking the train information we would need later for our evening connection to the hotel in Bacharach we put our bags in a locker and caught a small local train to the tiny town of Moselkern.  This train was empty except for 10 or so school age kids.  It seemed as if these 12 to 15 year olds ride the train into town (Koblenz) for school each day (20 to 40 minutes).  The train ride itself was beautiful.  We traveled along the Mosel river in a valley of lush green trees.

From Moselkern we headed off on a “1 ½ hour” hike to the 800 year old castle known as Burg Eltz.

2.8 KM in the Wrong Direction - Moselkern, Germany
  The hike at a leisurely pace is “supposed” to take about 90 minutes.  The first part of the walk was through the quiet little town comprised mainly of cute little cottages.  As we walked through the town on a street only big enough for one way traffic, there was an abundance of flowers of all kinds.  Our little street wound its way through town towards a hidden away hotel named Ringelsteiner Muhle. 

As was suggested in our Rick Steve’s Travel Guide for Germany, we left the residential part of town and headed off into the edge of the forest that flowed parallel to a little creek.  It was supposed to be a level and easy walk!  However, our hike began to go uphill at a rather steep rate.  At several points along the way there were hot pink and day-glow green markers pointing in different directions, but no signs to speak of.

Family Picture on Wrong Train - Moselkern, Germany
  I jokingly mentioned a line from the most recent season of Amazing Race where Tami said to her brother Victor that she wasn’t sure they were on the right trail.  All the while I was bringing up the rear as to not let anyone else fall behind ;-).  We continued on for about 45 minutes and reached a peak that had a sign reading, “Burg Eltz 2.8 km”, the other direction!  The joke was on us! :)  Funny but sweaty!  We turned back and were able to find the correct trail near the hotel.  The correct path to the castle was covered by a giant canopy of trees large and small and weaved its way through the forest along a pretty little creek.  The whole hike resembled fairytale scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Link to "Quiet Hike to Burg Eltz"
http://www.

youtube.com/watch?v=aIqdDaz8XMI

Link to Video "Creek Along Path to Burg Eltz"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeruMtY0IrE

At the castle we took a guided tour that lasted an hour.  The castle itself had 3 families living in it at one time and was divided into three different residences.  The homes we went through were built with several levels and had fireplaces in ½ of the rooms (fireplaces in medieval times signified comfort).  We visited the armory, (bows, arrows, axes, shields) and a bedroom that housed a small chapel.  When the tiny chapel wasn’t in use double doors closed off the chapel so you couldn’t see it and the room became a bedroom.  In medieval times it was belived that no one could live above God, so bedrooms were not to be built above chapels.

Walk like a German! - Moselkern, Germany
  Another item derived from medieval times is the “Coat of Arms”.  Because combat armor and helmets of the “knights in shining armor” severely restricted one’s view, there needed to be a way to identify who was on what side.  Thus a detailed picture symbolic ones allegiance was painted upon the knight’s shield.  Continuing the tour, there was a hunting room that displayed mounted animal heads and a kitchen that hung meats and cheeses from the ceiling to keep the rats and mice away.  Consistent with the castle and palaces we had seen previously, the rooms had tapestries hanging from the walls to provide insulation from temperature and sound.  One unique aspect of this particular castle was the working bathrooms.  These bathrooms had a natural flush that came from rainwater spouts (again a sign of comfort).  We finished the tour and the return hike only took us an hour.
Roadside Flower - Moselkern, Germany

We returned to Koblenz to retrieve our bags and continued on to the little medieval town of Bacharach.  Bacharach has a castle located directly above it and our hotel (Hotel Kranenturm) was situated in one of the defensive walls down close to the river along the railroad tracks. The kids were in a cute little room with twin beds that was situated along the tracks.  Ali’s perspective was that the late night trains “shook the whole place.”  The room Trent and I had was across the hall and we didn’t hear a thing. J  We had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant and then it was off to bed.   It was nice to sleep in a good bed as our beds in Amsterdam and Paris were not spectacular.

Rhine River - St. Goar, Germany

Early the next morning loaded with our packs we headed to the river and boarded a ferry (free with our EuroRail train pass) that took us down the river towards Koblenz.  Down river along the Rhine means the water flows in a South/North direction (opposite of the Mississippi).  Our travels down river took us through the beautiful Loreley valley that was dotted with castles on both sides.  During medieval times these castles would collect tolls from ships transporting goods up and down the river.  As we toured the river, the ferry provides commentary on the different castles.  Burg Katz a beautiful castle located just downstream from Loreley (the Loreley valley is steeped in Japanese folklore) was purchased by an eccentric Japanese investor for $4 million a few years back.  His goal was to renovate the hotel and create an erotic wonderland for his wealthy Japanese counterparts.   He was denied the right to turn the castle into a brothel by the locals and as a consequence the castle stands abandoned to this day.

Off to Munich, Germany

 

 

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Family Picture (Burg Eltz) - Mosel…
Family Picture (Burg Eltz) - Mose…
2.8 KM in the Wrong Direction - Mo…
2.8 KM in the Wrong Direction - M…
Family Picture on Wrong Train - Mo…
Family Picture on Wrong Train - M…
Moselkern Train Station - Moselker…
Moselkern Train Station - Moselke…
Walk like a German! - Moselkern, G…
Walk like a German! - Moselkern, …
Roadside Flower - Moselkern, Germa…
Roadside Flower - Moselkern, Germ…
Rhine River - St. Goar, Germany
Rhine River - St. Goar, Germany
Moselkern Creek - Moselkern, Germa…
Moselkern Creek - Moselkern, Germ…
Burg Eltz - Moselkern, Germany
Burg Eltz - Moselkern, Germany
Defenses (Burg Eltz) - Moselkern, …
Defenses (Burg Eltz) - Moselkern,…
Germany Flag Flying in Countryside…
Germany Flag Flying in Countrysid…
Burg Eltz - Moselkern, Germany
Burg Eltz - Moselkern, Germany
Moselkern Creek - Moselkern, Germa…
Moselkern Creek - Moselkern, Germ…
Waiting on Others - Moselkern, Ger…
Waiting on Others - Moselkern, Ge…
German Flag in Countryside - Mosel…
German Flag in Countryside - Mose…
1st View of Burg Eltz - Moselkern,…
1st View of Burg Eltz - Moselkern…
Moselkern Train Station - Moselker…
Moselkern Train Station - Moselke…
Moselkern Train Station - Moselker…
Moselkern Train Station - Moselke…
Hotel Kranenturm - Bacharach, Germ…
Hotel Kranenturm - Bacharach, Ger…
Roadside Flowers - Moselkern, Germ…
Roadside Flowers - Moselkern, Ger…
Roadside Flowers - Moselkern, Germ…
Roadside Flowers - Moselkern, Ger…
Castle Above Hotel Kranenturm - Ba…
Castle Above Hotel Kranenturm - B…
Waiting for the Ferry - Bacharach,…
Waiting for the Ferry - Bacharach…
Waiting for the Ferry - Bacharach,…
Waiting for the Ferry - Bacharach…
Castles above the Rhine - Boppard,…
Castles above the Rhine - Boppard…
Castles above the Rhine - Boppard,…
Castles above the Rhine - Boppard…
Boppard Train Station, Boppard, Ge…
Boppard Train Station, Boppard, G…
Bacharach
photo by: steve52845