Originally published 16 March 2012
Rhinefels Castle, St. Goar, Germany
Okay...we're off in our little Ford SUV, which will scoot right along with the Porsches and BMW's at well over a hundred. I like driving here...you can actually get someplace quick! Don't be confused though, the autobahn isn't no speed limit everywhere. Actually, most places have speed limits. They are caused by work zones, going through urban areas, etc. Speed limits vary between 80 and 120 kph for limited areas. Then...you see this sign. It is round like the other speed limit signs here, but it's gray. And it has 3 slashes through it. This is the autobahn equivalent of your radio spotter calling green at the races. Wind it up and go.....be very aware of overtaking traffic and stay out of the left lane unless you absolutely need to use it.
We stopped at Aldi to buy groceries. They are a German firm and their stores are exactly like they are in the US. And stuff is CHEAP there. Good stuff too. We bought bread, cheese, a large toothpaste style tube that I thought was a soft style cheese, cookies, crackers, fresh fruit, a couple of two liter soft drinks and a half dozen two liter bottles of water, candy, nutella, little sausages.....we're eating lunch out of our bag and eating well! And all of this was 18 euros.....about 23 dollars. We should get lunch most of the days we're in Germany for 18 euros!
Marksburg Castle, Germany
For the most part, the Germans have been very nice to us. We have only run into a couple of people who were abrupt or rude, oddly enough both were women. People in hotels and restaurants and those we meet on the streets have just been nothing but nice. We have decided that since we are in Europe, when someone says something that we think may be an insult or rude, but we do not know the language, I will look at them, smile, and say "yo mama has a wooden leg with a kickstand on it". This was an insult that a comic used on TV once....and it's SO american that they won't even come close to understanding. Even if they do know English, culturally, it's just too difficult to translate. Hopefully, the ones we think may be nasty will think us crazy and avoid us.
We arrived at the first castle and parked. We decided to get into our groceries and make our picnic lunch. I wanted to make sure about that tube of cheese so I asked a German guy who parked next to us if he knew English and he did. I asked him exactly what was in my bargain tube of "cheese". He told me it was mustard! So I was just a little off. We had cheese sandwiches with this really great spicy mustard, little sausages, fresh fruit, and these great German cookies covered in really high quality chocolate.
We started our tour of Marksburg Castle. It was the only fully intact original middle ages castle on the Rhine. Perched way above the town, it was never over run or even had any major damage. This was of course until a certain group of invaders wandered through in 1944 and 1945. The castle was shelled by the US Army and received the only major damage ever. Hey......that'll teach 'em! A side note here....nobody says much about world war two here....even though it was heavily contested in this area. I guess when you're on the wrong end of an ass kicking you don't like to remember it.
The castle tour was in German with a written guide in English. We were told we were not allowed in the castle without a tour guide. Our tour guide was an old german lady who was in a hurry to get home. We felt rushed and I was disappointed in how the whole thing was handled.........enough so that I really wasn't interested in touring any other castles. I didn't mention this to Laurie however...and she wanted to go to Reinsfeld castle, on down the river. So I didn't say anything. And I am glad I didn't. Laurie was right on this one.
Our rental car on the ferry across the Rhine
We headed down river and took a small mom and pop ferry across the Rhine at Boppard. We arrived at Reinsfeld castle, parked and headed in. Already I could tell it would be different. The castle is mostly ruins. It was built in the 1300's and added onto from there. The tour is self guided and you can wander and explore the ruins at will. It was awesome! We really enjoyed this tour. Tons of pictures, and they had a hotel at the castle as well! We took a look at it, figured it would be rather expensive, but if it was less than 120 euros, we were gonna say the hell with the budget and stay there anyway! Turns out they were sold out. We found out later it was 105 euros a night so we would have stayed if they had room.
The view across the Rhine, from Rheinfels Castle
We wound up down in the village of St. Goar. We are staying at a small hotel/restaurant/bar called Zur Loreley. It is totally charming, and we even have a balcony! It's just great! We ate at a restaurant down the street and dinner was really good and the waitresses were great. That's two good dining experiences in Germany in a row! I will say....so far....they don't do shitty food here!
We're getting ready for our trip down the Rhine tomorrow and Stuttgart in the afternoon for the Porsche Museum if all goes well.
I'm Bill. My wife Laurie and I love to travel and share our stories. We especially love it when we have been able to motivate our readers to start traveling on their own, and making their own stories.