Monday, 21 April 2014

A-Z Blogging Challenge - River Rhine

I first saw the Rhine when I was 15 when I was with a school group, travelling to a town in Westphalia on an exchange visit. As our train left Cologne Station, it crossed a wide bridge over the river, which runs over 800 miles from the Swiss Alps through Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea near Rotterdam.
Since then I have seen the Rhine countless times, including at Arnhem, where British paratroopers struggled, but failed, to capture the bridge...
Arnhem - 'A Bridge Too Far'
...and at Remagen where American forces captured the important railway bridge which was destroyed by the German forces 10 days later, but not before the Allies had been able to establish a bridgehead on the east side of the river (the arrows on the photo show the bridge towers on the east)
The part of the Rhine with which I’m most familiar is the Rhine gorge, between Koblenz and Rudesheim, where the river flows between wooded hillsides, often with vineyard terraces, and in some places between steep cliffs.
Small villages nestle at the foot of the hills, and above many of them are the Rhine castles, built by kings, barons and bishops during the Middle Ages. This castle is known as Mouse Castle (officially Thurnberg Castle) built by the Elector of Trier in the 14th century to protect his newly acquired territory. At the same time, one his rivals, the Count of Katzenelnbogen built a castle on an adjoining hillside, which of course became known as Cat Castle.

And here’s something you don’t see every day – a church attached to a bar. Evidently it was once a monastery, but now you have to go through the bar to reach the church, and the priest serves in the bar when not attending to his other duties!

One of the most famous sights along the Rhine is the Lorelei, a steep cliff that juts out into the river. Legend has it that a siren sat on top, and lured sailors to their deaths on the rocks below.
The Rhine is a working river, and at any time of day or night, you can see the long barges sailing up or down stream, laden with many different cargoes. There are also many cruise ships, both large and small.
To end with another R, Rudesheim, at the southern end of the Rhine gorge, is a popular tourist town, especially the Drosselgasse, a narrow lane in the centre of the old town, famed for its bars and restaurants, most with their own live 'bierhaus' bands.


  1. I'm loving the travel posts in the A to Z challenge. That castle in the hills looks really cool.

    Hope you are enjoying the A to Z Challenge. Here's my post for today on Memorable Characters.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Steph. There are over a dozen castles like that within a few miles of each other.