Today we planned to cross the Rhine on a ferry, cycle down the far bank of the river, then catch another ferry back across and cycle back to Braubach where we’re staying… a bike ride of 45 miles (72 kilometres). We wanted to visit a couple of pretty towns, including one with medieval wall, get a chairlift to a viewpoint and explore one of the largest fortresses in Europe.
We cycled from Braubach to Filsen and, just as we arrived could see the ferry approaching… perfect timing! The Rhine is so big that there are few bridges across and the ferries seem to be part of daily life here. We watched the ferry ‘ferry glide’ across with it’s nose to the current, which is something we do in kayaks on rivers. I’d never wondered why it was called ferry gliding, or considered that ferries do it too!
In Boppard, we cycled along the promenade past pretty waterfront buildings to the chairlift. Deciding against coming down the mountain bike track, we locked our bikes up and took the chairlift up to a viewpoint known as Vierseenblick. It was lovely sitting drinking hot chocolate and eating apple strudel , enjoying the view over a huge horseshoe bend in the river, watching the huge ships and ferries.
We returned to Boppard on the chairlift, which was quite cold in places where the breeze caught it, despite the sunshine. Then we cycled along the river to St Goar. We saw two castles on the other bank, firstly Burg Maus then Burg Katz.
Burg Rheinfels, one of the largest fortresses in Europe, stands overlooking the Rhine on a steep hill in St Goar. Bike motors were needed to get up to it! Unfortunately there were no tours on today so we couldn’t see the caves, tunnels and trenches, but we enjoyed wandering around and exploring what we could.
The fortress was built in 1245 to protect the toll rights of St Goar. In later years, Castle Katz was built on the other side of the Rhine and together Castles Rheinfels and Katz created a formidable valley blockade.
By the time we left the Burg Rheinfels, it was after 2 o’clock and we were getting hungry. We decided to cycle to the next town, Oberwesel, to get something to eat. On the way, we could see the giant rock outcrop, Loreley, on the far side of the river.
Unfortunately, it was after 3 o’clock by the time we got to Oberwesel and we couldn’t find any where to eat. We were both feeling hangry, but agreed to a quick look round the town while we were there.
Oberwesel has a well-preserved medieval town wall, which is 2 miles long. We cycled uphill so we could see the top of it as well as the bottom, still hoping to find a cafe open as we explored. It was worth the effort but we still failed to find any food, perhaps because its still early in the season, and Oberwesel doesn’t have a waterfront promenade like the other towns we’d been through.
We had to cycle back up to St Goar to get the ferry back over the Rhine. Thankfully we knew there were places we could get food here too. We stopped at a restaurant where we rehydrated with beer and had lovely pork meals. While we ate, we watched the ships turning at a bend in the river… skill was needed to make tight turns in such long and heavy craft! Next, suitably replete and less hangry, we got the ferry over the Rhine to Loreley, from where we had a long cycle back to our campsite in Braubach.
By the end we were both flagging… me before John, of course! It was a long but brilliant day, out in the sunshine, exploring beautiful places and seeing stunning views.
I do love watching boats and ferries and ships – the almost dance like moves they make, slowly and often majestically really speak to me. And then you get the zippy yachts and canoes and kayaks. All such fun. An explore along a river like that sounds just up my street! Wonderful! Love those medieval castles too! The secrets those walls hold…
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