Bacharach & The Rhine River Valley

On Saturday, we travelled from Amsterdam & Haarlem to the open-air museum in Arnhem, which is set up like an old Dutch town from centuries ago, with various types of windmills, storefronts, farmhouses, and barns.  It was great to get a taste of how life was for this area so long ago.  One of the great things about this tour is the balance of large cities and attractions with small and quaint historical corners of Europe.

We then made our way to Bacharach on the Rhine River in Germany, which is castle country, with a rich wine history, as well.  It was delightful to stroll the cobblestone streets and admire the homes and buildings; the oldest preserved home, Altes Haus, was built in 1368 and is undergoing historical renovation — what a site to see.  Sunday morning we had a fascinating town tour with the local guide, who is also essentially the town mayor of sorts, and whose family has lived in the area for many generations.  We walked around the town, and up into the wine vineyards in the hills above the town, which had amazing views of the town church, castles on the hills, and the Rhine river below.  It was just stunning to stand in this place that until now was just a photograph.  Bacharach has a very intersting history, and while I can’t possibly cover it here, I encourage people to look it up online or in print, whichever you fancy.

In the afternoon we ventured up to St. Goar, a little north on the Rhine, and took a tour of the magnficent Rheinfels Castle, on the hills above the river, which is the largest of the castles in the area, housing about 4000 people in its prime, and it was under siege many times, but never conquered.  We had a tour with a very entertaining guide, who did a great job of showing us the highlights during our short visit.  Like all the other historical sites on this trip thus far, and for those to come, there really aren’t adequate words for what it’s like to stand in these places, on the same ground, to touch the stone walls, walk the passage-ways through history.  We wrapped up the afternoon with a Rhine River cruise, seeing the castles, towns, and historical sites on the river on our way back to Bacharach for a dinner together, complete with spatzle.

I adored this area and took about 3048305937 photos and will post some when I get reliable internet for long enough to handle photo uploads.

9/23 update: finally have enough of a wireless connection and some free time, so here are some photos for this post.

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