Originally pulished 4 June 2013
Our travel gang, braving the flood waters
Woke up way too early....like 6 a.m. While not an abnormal time, it was earlier than planned. It will take a few days to get used to the time change, but this time was much less traumatic than our last trip. The verdict on altering my wake up time in the states to be closer to Europe is in. Granted, there were several other factors but I think it really helped. I'll take this time and write some on the blog and save it to draft. I'll finish out at the end of the day and take pictures.
We pick David and Sheree up in a few hours at the airport. We are staying at a hotel about 1/4 mile from the airport. It is run by a chain called Meininger. The concept on how they run it is very European, and very effective. They have standard rooms, just as we are in, and they also have bunks in a dorm situation, like a hostel. We booked far in advance so we have a room for the same rate as a hostel bed if you book with short notice.
We have found on both trips that Rick Steve's advice to book late and "haggle" with the proprietor to be totally wrong. Both trips we booked online far in advance (when we pre booked) and saved anywhere from 30 to 55 percent on our rooms. A guy checked in same time as we did last night, paying 120 euros for his room. We paid 56 for the same room. If you book a hostel bed in advance, it's like 23 euros.
Another interesting concept is that they have a "guest kitchen". It's a full kitchen, with a fridge, stove, oven, real plates and utensils. You can bring food in and prepare your own meals or you can buy dry food such as pasta and soup mixes from the hotel. They also have food at the bar including pizza, burgers, cold sandwiches, salads, and really good yogurt with fresh fruit. The Europeans are much more social than Americans. They hang out in the lobbies and bars of the hotels and socialize in the evenings. All in all...I like the European concepts of staying in hotels. They're much more.......social.......than the American hotels, where everyone goes to their rooms and stays
Exploring Rheinfels Castle, St. Goar
So........it's the end of our day now and things have.......evolved (to say the least). We picked David and Sheree up at the airport. Things went well, and we headed out in the rental car. This time, they gave us a proper car to start out with.....an Audi A4!
St. Goar....a bit of a surprise
We head out of Frankfurt and stop in some little town at Aldi and buy groceries for lunches.We head on towards St. Goar to visit the castle we saw last year. We had seen the castle before but David and Sheree hadn't, and we couldn't check in until 4 anyway. So we get to the castle, which is on a cliff looking over the Rhine valley. We go into the castle and look down on the towns of St. Goar, and St. Goarhausen....both of which we find are UNDER WATER. No. I'm NOT joking.
The Rhine is far out its banks
We had received an email from our hotel last night telling us they were open and everything was fine, We watched the news here in Europe and things didn't look good. At this point.....we're not so sure. The whole damn place is under 12 feet of water.
The fire department helps locals get to their apartments
We take the car through some VERY narrow streets trying to find our hotel. We finally figure out where it is....and it actually IS open! So we enter the hotel via a garage and an alleyway through the back....as it seems the front door, which is around 8 feet above the street which is about 6 feet above the river..............has water lapping at it!!!!
View from the front door of our hotel
There are two hotels open in town. One must be accessed by a scaffolded walkway over water around 7 feet deep and the other is ours. There is only ONE restaurant open....and everybody in town who is not trapped by flood waters, is there. The fire department is taking residents to their second story apartments by boat. All the streets are blocked and all the stores we might have shopped in are closed and full of water.
We check into our hotel and wander the town (at least the part not under water). We have dinner at the one restaurant open and it was great. We take pictures and explore. This was not quite what we expected............so we're calling it our "abenteuerurlaub"....or in english.....adventure vacation!
Converted cigarette machine that now sells small art pieces
Tomorrow, a day trip to Bonn, and staying in Boppard. ALSO on the Rhine. Hopefully that willgo well. It's an adventure...that's for sure. Now..............a little from Laurie! Let's hear it for my lovely wife!
Crashed and burned early last night. Thankfully only had about an hour of wakefulness in the middle of the night. So jet lag wasn't as bad as last year, at least I didn't fall asleep standing up. Frankfurt was an interesting city. Felt very cosmopolitan rather than Germanic. Many languages, many types of cuisine, very modern architecture. Reminding me of Montreal in the way it feels. Suppose it has changed a lot since my sister and her then husband were stationed there during the Vietnam war.
Our hotel room
Now it feels like Germany. People who speak little English have forced me out of my shyness about trying to speak German which is good. It always surprises me when I have a successful interchange in another language. St. Goar is under water which is such a shame. So much lost revenue for this small town at the height of tourist season. I hope they can recover quickly. There goes Mother Nature again, reminding us of how little we can really do against the forces of nature. Everyone seems pretty laid back about it though - not much they can do I guess. Its great being with my cousin David and his wife Sheree. We traveled to Israel together a few years ago and had a wonderful time so this should be just as much fun. Its always a treat to spend time with them since we live on opposite sides of the country.
So on to Bonn and Boppard tomorrow. I feel very lucky we came this week because the weather is supposed to be perfect for the next few days after 2 weeks of nearly constant rain here (hence the flooding).
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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.
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