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  • Writer's pictureSElliott

Day 4 - Castles, Castles Everywhere, but Not a Moat in Sight!

Updated: Dec 25, 2022

We woke up this morning in the Rhine Gorge…well the ship was in the Gorge, not us! After breakfast, Mum and I went up to the sun deck for our morning walking circuits (10 of them) and to listen to the commentary as we travelled through the Gorge. There were a lot of castles! Some of them were really impressive.

Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 - The Rhine Gorge

No river in the world has a greater concentration of castles than the Rhine has between Koblenz and Bingen and its landscape provides a quintessential image of Germany. The Rhine castles were built to work in conjunction with toll collection stations – the greatest source of income for the nobles and archbishops who lived along the river. They were mostly destroyed by Rudolf of Habsburg and the League of Rhenish Cities in the 13th century, the Thirty Years’ War (early 17th century), Louis XIV’s troops (late 17th century) and Napoleon’s troops (late 18th century). Many castles were restored by the Prussians in the 1800s and were romanticised by German and English poets.


There were many, many castles along this stretch of river – our ABC tour has nothing on it! The first castle of note that we passed was the Maus Burg, or Mouse Castle, which was built by the Electors of Trier in the 14th century. Local folklore attributes the name to the Counts of Katzenelnbogen’s mocking of the Electors of Trier during the 30 years of construction. The Counts reportedly said that the castle was the “mouse” that would be eaten by the “cat” of Burg Katz. The castle was supposed to be called another name but this never came to be as everyone referred to it as Maus Castle.

Picture 15 - Maus Castle

Further along the river we passed Katz Burg, or Cat Castle, which was erected in the closest possible vicinity to “catch” the Maus Burg as its military counterpart.

Picture 16 - Katz Castle

The largest castle in the Rhein Gorge is Burg Rheinfels, or Rheinfels Castle. Much of this castle is now a ruin but it historically covered five times its current area.

Picture 17 - Rheinfels Castle

Further along the river is the Lorelei rock. This is where, according to legend, the beautiful siren, called Lorelei, sat and lured sailors to shipwreck and death. She was enshrined in poetry by Heinrich Heine in 1824. The name Lorelei is derived from high German word luren (to watch) and the celtic word ley (rock).

Picture 18 - Lorelei Rock

Even the train tunnel entrances had castellations!!

Picture 19 - Train Tunnel Castellations

We ended the day in Rudesheim. This is a popular winemaking town at the beginning (or end) of the Rhine Gorge. From the boat we got a tourist train up into the town centre to Siegfried’s Musical Cabinet. This museum exhibits a collection of mechanical musical instruments. We had a guided tour of the museum, including the guide playing some of the instruments for us. What I only thought of later was the musical organ at the Alford Transport Museum in Aberdeenshire. I remember listening to it when I visited the museum when I was little. I believe it still works. I must go and see it again.


Pictures 20, 21, 22 - Mechanical Music Museum

After finishing at the museum, we had free time in the town. Whilst others decided to take the cable car to the top of the hills surrounding the town, Mum and I decided to walk up to and along Panoramaweg. This offered lovely panoramic views over the town and river.

Picture 23 - Panoramaweg View

We then descended through the town to the Marktplatz before meandering our way through the town. On our way we saw the Klunkhardshof, a grand half-timbered house dating back to the 16th century.

Picture 24 - Klunkhardshof

We stopped on the Oberstrasse for a Rudesheimer Kaffee and Spaghetti Amarano. The Rudesheiner Kaffee is a coffee flambe with Asbach Uralt brandy and whipped cream. You could definitely taste the brandy!! Unfortunately it wasn’t made in front of us. The Spaghetti Amarano was ice cream! Vanilla ice cream, made to look like spaghetti, with cream and amarano cherries – yummy!

Picture 25 - Rudesheiner Kaffee

Picture 26 - Spaghetti Amarano

We then walked down the famous Drosselgasse alley. This is a narrow cobblestone street that was built in the 15th century. It was originally meant for boat owners to easily move items from the river to their homes in the town.

Picture 27 - Drosselgasse Alley

At the bottom of the Drosselgasse we turned along the river towards the Alderturm or Eagle Tower. This is the only remaining tower from the city’s fortifications, which were built in the 15th Century. From the tower we crossed the railway and returned to the boat – it was really too hot to stay out!

Picture 28 - Alderturm

Tonight we travel overnight and join the Main (pronounced “Mine”) River and continue towards Miltenberg.

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