AmaStella in Rudesheim Germany and the Rhine Gorge
Today was a day we were all looking forward to – exploring the unforgettable Rhine Gorge!
But first we needed to explore the rest of Rudesheim … so we quickly ate breakfast and got ready for our excursion at 9am.
For today’s excursion we opted for a hike to Ehrenfels Castle which was a 9.5km / 6 mi hike that took approximately 3 hours. We walked straight off our ship through the beautiful vineyards of Rudesheim until we reached Ehrenfels Castle at the top. This was a guided hike and our host did an excellent job explaining how Rudesheim came to be (owing to the location on the Rhine) as far back as the 1st Century!! Rudesheim was first mentioned in a document in 1074 and the main industry at that time was winegrowing and shipping.
At the top of the hill of vineyards sits the Niederwalddenkmal, a patriotic monument that was placed there to commemorate the founding of the German Empire in 1871 after the end of the Franco-Prussian War. On the inscription it says “In Memory of the unanimous victorious uprising of the German People and of the reinstitution of the German Empire”As we wandered around the edge of the vineyards we came upon Ehrenfels Castle! This ruined castle above the Rhine Gorge was built around 1212 to defend against attacks by enemies. It also acted as a customs post controlling the shipping on the Rhine supplemented by what was called the Mouse Tower. The story of the Mouse Tower is very interesting – if you want to read more about it please take a look at this Wikipedia article.
After the hike we decided to roam more of the village in the daylight as we didn’t need to be back on board until 2:15pm. We had time to even jump on board the Rudesheim Gondola which takes you right up to see the Niederwalddenkmal although we just took it for the views!
After returning from our gondola ride we walked back to our ship for lunch and an ice cream party in the lounge! All board was at 2:15pm and we had scoped out our spot on the top deck with some wine (and sunscreen!) as we sailed along the Rhine Gorge – this is a UNESCO World Heritage site where there are no less than 30 Castles!!
For over 2 hours we joined our fellow passengers on top of the beautiful AmaStella and took in the sights and sounds of the Rhine Gorge. Literally every where you looked there was a castle and the captain and cruise manager did a wonderful job of describing the various sites along the way. Half way through the dining staff came up top with treats and Rudesheimer Coffee for all!
We arrived in Lahnstein around 6pm and in the early evening we were going to visit Lahneck Castle prior to dinner. This was a rare opportunity to visit one of these amazing castles and we were excited to see it.
Lahneck Castle is a medieval fortress built in 1226 in the city of Lahnstein, Germany. During our guided tour we found out that this castle is well known in England because of the story of Idilia Dubb. In June 1851 she was visiting the area with her family (as a 17 year old) and climbed into the abandoned castle’s highest tower when suddenly the wooden stairs collapsed behind her. Nobody could hear her crying from the tower because of the huge walls. She wrote in her diary: “All I know is that there is no hope for me. My death is certain…” [from Wikipedia]
The castle is now privately owned by the Mischke family.
During the tour we had the opportunity to view many of the rooms which have been historically preserved… it was a really neat experience.
Now that the Castle is privately owned they do have more modern amenities onsite such as bathrooms, guides and even a full service restaurant and bar!
By the time we were finished the hike we were ready for a later dinner int he main dining room around 8pm… after all that fresh air we were in bed soon thereafter ready for our day in Cologne!