Saturday (October 25) we took a 9-hour train ride from St. Johann in Austria, through Salzburg, Munich, and up the Rhein to finally end up in the small town of Boppard. We stayed at a small, family-owned hotel/B&B, in a compact room with a great view of the river:
On Sunday morning we boarded the K-D (Koln-Dusseldorf) Line ship “Asbach” right in front of our hotel:
We cruised up-river (against the current) for about four hours, passing barges, other cruises, villages, vineyards, and so many castles that we stopped taking pictures after about 20 of them!
On a whim, we got off the ship in a small town called Assmannshausen, because the announcer on the boat said something about a chair lift, and we thought it sounded fun. We strolled through town and found the base of the lift, paid our Euros, and rode to the top. The morning mist and clouds had burned off, and it was now a sunny afternoon.
After the lift and lunch we re-boarded the Asbach, on its way back, cruising down-river this time. The sun was going down, the wind picked up, and we rode on the upper deck (outdoors) for as long as we could, then moved down to the inside, middle deck.
Monday we changed transportation modes, and used our German rail passes for the train (the rail pass covered the KD ship line yesterday, too). We rode to a little town called Moselkern, on the Moselle River (which flows into the Rhein). We were going to walk to the castle there, but I’ll be honest here – we saw how far and high it was, and bagged it. We did walk around the town a little:
We got on the train going back the other direction, and got off at another small town (do you get the idea that pretty much ALL the towns are small?) called Braubach, which had a more-accessible castle, Marksburg. It looked like a long ways up, though, from the town:
We found our way through the town and up the trail, reaching the castle after about 30 minutes. The only way to get inside the castle was on a guided tour, but we had just missed the 1:00 tour in English, and the next was at 4:00, so we went on a tour in German. We were the only non-German-speakers, but they gave us a book in English so we could follow along. Not exactly ideal, and I’m sure we missed things because sometimes the whole group would laugh and we didn’t see anything funny printed in the book, but oh well!
The walk back down from the castle to town was much faster and easier! We had worked up an appetite, so we found somewhere for a late lunch, then took the train back to Boppard.
Tuesday we left Boppard and journeyed by train to Amsterdam. I’ll just say that we loved the two days in Germany and our time on the Rhein. But Tuesday was filled with travel hassles and problems, from getting kicked off a train by a rude, stubborn inspector who did not know how our German Rail Passes worked (I was vilified by an agent at the train station in the town we landed in, who said we should have been allowed to ride), to taking a 40+ Euro taxi ride to the wrong hotel.
We are almost at the end of our month-long trip, and it’s taking a toll on us. We’re tired of hearing train and bus announcements that we can’t understand, and other little things about being here are wearing on us. I’ll do another post on Amsterdam (we just finished our first day here) but we are realizing we liked the small towns much better than the big cities, so it’s not our favorite place. More later, when I have more energy to write about Amsterdam.