Welcome to the pub...pour a pint and get comfortable

Welcome to the pub...pour yourself a pint of homebrew and stay awhile.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Rhine River, by ferry and train

Traveling the Rhine River, Germany by Ferry Boat - The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog

The Rhine River is a beautiful waterway accessible by land or water.  The first time I visited Germany and the Rhine River valley I traveled with my parents and brother after a semester abroad in Bath, England. We flew to Frankfurt, rented a car and only had our first nights accommodation reserved. We drove along the Rhine and Mosel picking castles we would like to visit based on tours and amenities offered. We explored the Black Forest,  Romantic Mile, King Ludwig's castles and Trier during our weeks stay.  So when my husband and I decided to do a three week beer tour of Europe I knew that I had plenty of places that I wanted to return to but wanted to only drive when absolutely necessary - plenty of imbibing involved.
Post card of the Rhine River Valley The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog

We flew Air Berlin from San Francisco to Dusseldorf direct and began our trip in Cologne.  We planned and reserved all of our hotels, booked flights and made rail reservations when required.  After studying timetables for river boats it was clear that it was much more efficient to travel from south to north (travel with the current of the river.) So we took the train the train to Mainz and decided to work our way north to the Mosel River.
Enjoy a glass of the local reisling or Rhine wine on a ferry boat - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel and took a taxi to the ferry launch and boarded the first boat of the day at 845. Eurorail passes do work on the ferry so you can take a combination of rail and boats depending on where you want to go. We grabbed a table inside and had room to keep our luggage next to us.  The ferry had a snack bar, a very informative audio guide in German and  English, and and upper level with outdoor seating.   By 930 we were enjoying the local Riesling and soaking up the gorgeous views.

Eagle Creek luggage - a rolling bag that converts into a back pack - The TIpsy Terrier Blog posta place to leave your luggage in Bacharach - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog

Our first stop of the day was the town of Bacharach.  We were hoping to leave our luggage at locker room or ticket office at the dock but there was not one here.  We rolled our bags over the cobble stones to the tourist office and they let us leave them there.  Our destination was Burg Stahleck which is also a hostel which offers reasonable accommodations to spend the night in a castle.  Our hope was for a tour but were not able to see much inside since we were not guests.  There is a snack bar and the view is amazing. 
hiking the Rhine in Germany - The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog
 We saw quite a few people in Germany traveling and hiking with their pets.  This cute couple were hiking with a cute long haired dauchshund.  They took our photo and we snapped theirs!
hiking the Rhine in Germany - The Tipsy Terrier Pub Blog

We caught the next ferry north to the town of Oberwesel and more castles.  This time the dock did not have lockers and the tourist office was closed for lunch.  We took that as a sign and decided it was time for us to find a bite to eat as well.
a historic tavern in Oberwesel - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
We found this cute half timbered tavern in town and it was on the base of the hiking trail up to the castle.  The menu was full of hearty meals, homemade bread and local wine.  Luckily they allowed us to keep our luggage in their supply room while we explored the town.
a historic tavern in Oberwesel - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
 We set up the hill with a full stomach and relieved that we were not hiking with our bags on our backs. The hike is steep but most of the trail is covered in stone.  There are steps in the steepest sections and there are plenty of signs with distance indicators.
The view from mid hike up to castle Schloss Shoenburg -The Tipsy Terrier Blog post
This section of the Rhine River Valley (Upper Middle Rhine Valley) is a World Heritage Site for a 65 km stretch from Bingen to Koblenz.  The Rhine River has been used since prehistoric times for commerce and means of transportation.  There are over 60 small towns today with approximately 40 castles along this portion of the Rhine.  Many battles were fought over land, how tolls were collected by passing boats and I am sure over many duchesses too.
A castle hotel on the Rhine - The Tipsy Terrier Blog

 Schloss Schonburg is a beautiful castle that has been converted into a hotel that also offers tours.  My family and I did just that on our first trip to Germany.  I stayed in a small room that was cantilevered over the courtyard while my parents and brother stayed in the guard house. This time we stopped in for some chocolate cake and coffee and a tour of the grounds.  I love the mix of architectural styles and materials - just like a fairytale.

a castle hotel on the Rhine - The Tipsy Terrier Pub bloga castle hotel on the Rhine - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog
Back down the hill we went to the tavern for our bags and then off to the dock.  We headed north towards St. Goar where we had reservations at Rheinfels castle for the night.  This portion of the river is quite dangerous because of a deep S curve through the valley.  Legend had it that many ships crashed into Lorelei Rock because of the enchanting song of a siren or mermaid.  It is a very difficult area to navigate, especially in the fog. Now there is a lighting system that alerts boats of other vessels in the curve.
can you hear the sirens cry? - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog

How to travel the Rhine by ferry - The Tipsy Terrier Pub blog

I will cover St. Goar and Rheinfels Castle on my travel post next week.  Traveling by boat allowed us to take in both sides of the valley compared to riding the train on just one bank.  It took a little maneuvering but definitely worth it.



Our other stops in Germany: Cologne, Burg RheinfelsMarksburg Castle, Burg Eltz, Heidleberg

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  1. Hi- Enjoyed your blog on Rhine by ferry and train- We are from San Diego and have 2 small terriers ourselves. Would luv to visit the Tipsy Terrier Pub, is it along this route? We will be working our way back from 10 days in Croatia, staying in Frankfurt two nights and want to spend one day on the middle Rhine, for sure on trains, maybe a short ferry and want to stop for lunch somewhere. Any rec for a small town stop? Darryl kinseybow@icloud.com

    1. Hi Darryl, Thank you for stopping by our blog. Our pub is a home bar in San Jose, California about 8 hours from your home. I would suggest St. Goar or as Oberwessel as a place to stop along the Rhine. There are churches and castles to see as well as quaint restaurants and beer gardens

  2. Thanks for your time- your dogs are adorable, by the way.