September 6th, 2002 – by: kebrunn
Hands down the coolest hostel I've ever stayed in.
We were finally given the opportunity to recouperate after two weeks of intense touring. From Paris' Gare de L'Est-- an architectural gem and the starting point for the Orient Express, we took a night train to Frankfurt
, Germany. When it comes to night trains there are two types of people-- those who get the best sleep of their lives and those who don't sleep a wink. I was happy to discover that I am the former. From Frankfurt we took a second train to Rudesheim where we caught the KD ferry up the Rhine. Our tour director, Gordon, loves water travel of all kinds so instead of getting off at Bacharach
(which was only an hour at most up river) we continued past to the Lorelei Rock and St.
Goar then trained it back to Bacharach. This portion of the Rhine is one of the most picturesque places I've ever been-- one can easily understand the genesis of the German Romantic period when surrounded by vineyards, castles, and fairytale villages. At Bacharach we discovered that we were staying in Burg-Stahleck, a 12th century castle reborn as a youth hostel high above the Rhine. The climb is tough- about 15 minutes of non-stop stairs. Most members of our group did it in their packs, I copped out and sent my pack up with others in a taxi. The path sends you up past Warner-Kappelle, the shell of a gothic chapel that was apparently popular on the traditional European Grand Tour. The hostel is amazing-- us girls stayed in 10 person dorm rooms in the round keep with views of the river (from the bathroom) and the vineyards on the slopes above. There is a fantastic courtyard where we sat looking out on barges and cruises coming up and down the river and the town below. A great place to relax. Meals were available in the cafeteria, which converts into a bar after dinner-- if the stainless steel buffet looks a little dinged up, it is from Prof 8000%'s impromptu drumming concert one night. After a few days respite, we were off toward Hamburg
to catch the boat for Scandinavia...