Visit date: October 28, 2015, weather: rainy and sometimes cloudy
I wish it had been sunny…
From Heidelberg to the Rhine Valley
The next destination after leaving Heidelberg was the Rhine River. I have seen the Rhine River many times in the past, but I have never taken time to visit along the valley. We are staying in Cologne this night, so we are planning to drive from Mainz to Koblenz in the south of the river.
Specifically, I drove along the road 9 from Mainz to Koblenz, which runs along the west bank of the Rhine. The map is so small that it looks like it overlaps with Route 42, which runs along the east bank of the Rhine, but in fact they run parallel to each other.
It took about an hour from Heidelberg to Mainz via the Autobahn, although it was a bit late due to some construction. And from Mainz, it is a drive along the Rhine River by ordinary road. The weather is not good…. It didn’t seem to recover after all. It was very disappointing because there was some information that the weather would recover in the afternoon. However, it was very beautiful to see the Rhine valley with autumn leaves.
Lunch at Bacharach
Park in the parking lot by the river and then head into town.
You enter the city through a gate like this.
The atmosphere of the city is wonderfully German.
Among them, we decided to have lunch at this hotel restaurant near the central square of the city.
Here, we had a typical dish of this area. No, I don’t know if it was typical or not, but I think they said it was a local dish. It was very delicious.
By the way, this hotel-restaurant is the most prestigious and historic one in the city. The food was good and the price is relatively cheap (but not cheap) because it is a provincial city. You can drink a lot of local wine if you stay there. This is something I’d like to consider next time.
After the meal, we took a short walk around the city. Out of season, and because it was raining, there were almost no tourists. Because of that, most shops were not open and very deserted. Is this just because it is off season?
We didn’t go up to the top because of the rain, but I’m sure the line of view from this castle is beautiful.
It was a bit of a conversion, but it was a beautiful city and delicious food. Bacharach, it was a very good town.
Castles in the Rhine Valley with beautiful autumn leaves
The drive continued for a while after leaving Bacharach. The weather didn’t seem to recover at all, but it was nice to drive in the beautiful autumn leaves in the vineyard even if it was raining.
Now, this area has many old castles, monasteries and historical sites (towers, forts) on the east and west banks. It is also famous for « Lorelei » which is a rock wall (we only saw it from the car because it was cold and rainy). It is also famous for « Lorelei ».
First of all, this is Palatinate Castle. It is located in the middle of the Rhine River. It was a place to take customs duty.
Near the Palatinate Castle, Gutenfels Castle on the east bank overlooks the Rhine River.
Then we went north again for a while. This castle, which is located around past Lorelei, seems to be called Cat Castle. Because the shape looks like a cat?
Boppardt », a superb spot where you can see the whole Rhine -> We gave up because of rain
We drove north in the rain, stopping here and there to take photos, until we arrived at a town called Boppard, just before Koblenz. This town has one of the three most beautiful spots in Germany, which is listed in the « Globe-Trotter ». The town of Boppard is just where the Rhine River makes a big hairpin bend, and it is famous for the spot where you can get a great view of this big bend.
However, you can’t go here by car, you have to go up from the foot of the mountain by a lift like this one.
In such cold and rainy weather, it’s impossible to lift without any roof… I decided to give up this time. However, it was working even in such a situation and there were a few tourists who took it. It was amazing.
By the time we got through the line, it was clearing up.
Further north from Boppard, the Rhine road 9 gradually leaves the riverside. Then we will arrive at Koblenz. Just before we left the river, the weather finally cleared up. I wish it would have cleared up a bit sooner, but it was nice to see a beautiful scene before we left the Rhine for the last time.
You can see the Marxburg Castle clearly. This castle is famous as the only one that remains from the Middle Ages among the castles along this Rhine River.
As usual, we didn’t go inside, but just looked at it from a distance (laughs).
Rhine Valley, how to cross to the other side
By the way, we ran the course on the west side of the Rhine, but actually there are many monasteries and castles on the east side. Lorelei and Neko Castle are also on the east side of the river. However, it is difficult to say which side of the river is better to drive, because you can take pictures of these historic sites from the distance from the opposite bank.
However, there is a way to cross to the other side without having to go back to Koblenz or Mainz. It is by boat. There are a few private car parks between Koblenz and Mainz that you can use to get to the other side.
I didn’t use it this time because of the time, but I think it was going out at the pace of about one every 30 minutes as far as I saw. However, it takes about 5 minutes to get to the other side of the river after you get on the ferry, so the rest is waiting time, and you might be able to cross to the other side in about 10 minutes if your timing is good.