Day two in Bacharach seemed like it was going go be cooler: there were clouds in the sky and a slight breeze. So we set out to see Rheinfels Castle, which is a big huge ruin of a castle.

This time, we used our eurail passes to take a ferry to the town of St. Goer, which sits below the castle. Along the way we were literally never out of view of one or two castles up on the hills. Some have been turned into hotels, some are simply open to tourists, and others don’t have much information available about them.

Once we were in St Goer we walked up another large hill/mountain to the castle. As we walked I became really grateful that we were staying in Bacharach and only day-tripping to Rheinefels; the town, while pleasant in its own way, is much bigger and a lot more touristy. Bacharach, on the other hand, still has a degree of small, village charm.

Anyway, it was about the time that we were climbing the steep road to the castle that the clouds mostly burned away and it got hot again. Maybe it was because of that, but the castle ended up not having many people at it. On Laura’s previous visits she said there were a fair number of tourists at Reinefels. This time, however, the crowds were pretty sparse.

The castle charges €4 for admission, but once inside we were allowed to go basically anywhere we wanted. We went up towers, explored the old walls, and desecended into some dark mining tunnels. Laura also went into some crawling-space-only tunnels that I opted out of because they were tight even for her.

The heat definitely dampened the romantic sublimity of the castle, but the small numbers of other touristst meant we hardly ever bumped into other people. (Deep in the narrow mining tunnels Laura did encounter a man and his young son, and they exchanged directions to various exits in the pitch black.) Near the end of our visit we even had the castle’s biggest hall all to ourselves. The acoustics were amazing so we conducted an experiment: I clapped once and Laura timed how long it took for the echo to stop. (Generally, it took about 5 or 6 seconds. I don’t know what that tells us about the room or its acoustics, but it sounded amazing.)

After Rheinfels Castle we went swimming and rock skipping in the Rhine river. It was refreshing and we were the only tourists on the pebbly beach.


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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