Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Float Down the Rhine River

Liebfrauenk Church, Oberwesel
Rhine from above Bacharach
We started our European adventure just North of Frankfurt in the Rhine River Valley. And it is gorgeous. Seriously. 

We stayed in Bacharach and took a ferry along the Rhine up to the town of St Goar. A short 'float' along the river by about 90 minutes from where we were staying. We sat on the upper deck, which was open to the wind and weather. It was sort of a grey day when we started the trip, which turned to a mist then a rain by the time we were cruising along the river. We toughed it out for quite awhile, and then finally threw in the towel and retreated to one of the lower decks. 
Wernerkapelle Chapel
But by the time we arrived at our destination, the skies cleared and the sun came out. It was a glorious along the banks of the Rhine. I just could not get enough of these old medieval towns with churches and castles in every direction. 

The streets of St Goar
We toured the streets of St. Goar, our destination for our river cruise. And ended in a pub just next to the river as we waited for our return ferry back to Bacharach. Once back in Bacharach we went out for one of the most memorable dinners of the trip. I had a stew of venison with lingonberries that was simply to die for. Truly. The place was run by this sweet older couple who were celebrating their anniversary. Funny thing was that they looked like it might have been their 40th or 50th anniversary, but was actually their first. Which made the story that much sweeter. They had clearly found love later in life and were inseparable. They were side-by-side and snuggled in a corner booth working on the books and reservations and clearly just happy to be with each other. If you are ever in the neighborhood you have to try their old-style German food at a place called Rusticana.

St Peter's Church Bacharach
There is an old history to the area. Bacharach itself dates back to the 7th century and has had plenty of warring local families fighting for control. The Rhine region was the central trade route to transport goods, and by 1356 Bacharach was finally granted town rights and able to control and tariff transport down the Rhine. 

We hiked the back side of town up to an abandoned chapel call the Wernerkapelle which is known in connection to a ritual called a Christian blood libel. The accusation is that Jews kidnapped and murdered children of Christians to use their blood as part of religious rituals during Jewish holidays. In this case, a 16-year-old boy named Werner of Oberwesel was mysteriously murdered in 1287 on Maundy Thursday (holy Thursday before Easter). It is alleged that the local Jewish community killed him and used his blood for Passover observances. The allegations created an anti-Semitic mob who wiped out the Jewish community through the middle and lower Rhine and Moselle regions. The unfinished Wernerkapelle was left as a remembrance to the boy. 

So much old history to learn about through our travels. Some is dark and disturbing, but not all of it.  There was plenty of good and bad to research and explore. I think what is so fascinating to me is that while the history is old, the people continue to live along side it. It isn't locked up in a museum somewhere to be studied and scrutinized. But instead it is discussed and debated openly with much less cautious 'political correctness' to filter everything that is said. I found it truly fascinating. 

10 comments:

JoJo said...

What an interesting and bloody story! Europe is so rich with history. America is just a baby compared to over there!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Beautiful photos. I love the history of medieval towns. So amazing! That story is an unpleasant one. However I love the sweet story of the anniversary couple!

Claudia Aguilar said...

Lots of history and so many castles! I love your pictures and like Miss Val I love the story of the couple's first anniversary! How sweet is that??

Duni said...

One of my best friends lives in that region and I've been meaning to visit for ages! I appreciate the architecture of medieval towns, but I would not have wanted to live in that era! Love the story about the older couple, so sweet :)

Judy Nolan said...

I took this exact same trip four years ago with my husband, so your post brought back memories. Great photos!

Natashalh said...

Wow - I hadn't heard of that particular story/unfinished chapel. I haven't been to the Continent in forever, and my husband's never been. It's not really on the travel agenda from Hawaii, though!

Memories for Life said...

How fun to get to float down the river. And then do some exploring. I'm loving these beautiful photos!

Christine Altmiller said...

Your last paragraph really struck me. When we were in Germany, I was surprised about how much history was left for all to see and discuss. You phrased it in a much more eloquent way than I ever could when I described our travels to people. I love it when someone else's words make my mind clearer.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

What an amazing adventure! And I love that topics are discussed and debated openly. It is the best way to learn about and understand each other.

Magic Love Crow said...

What an adventure! I'm glad everything is discussed in the open! So much history!

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