A day on the Rhine River road between Koblenz and Bingen

Published: August 4th 2013
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The overnight temperature didn’t cool an awful lot from during the day and we slept with the bedroom window wide open to get whatever air movement there might have been.

The balcony where we had breakfast faces east but with the overhang of the house there is enough shade to be able to sit out there and not be in the direct sun.

With the prospect of an even warmer day than yesterday we plan to head off to explore the 80 odd kilometres of the Rhine River valley before it gets too hot to be outdoors and in the direct sun.

We could tell the day was going to be hot by the sight of the bare chested neighbour from across the road at 8am in the morning as he came out to inspect the day. As we left the apartment a group of neighbours had started together with the bare chested one and were sitting under an umbrella at a table outside his front door. It looked like they planned a party even at this early hour of the day.

The start of the drive took us back through Cochem and being a Saturday the town was busy with tourists out doing what they do, shopping.We had thought of joining them to see a little of the town but finding a car park would have been impossible and so we shall hold off until tomorrow in the hope that there might not be so many people out on a Sunday morning.

We did however take even time to stop for a quick photo of the promenade before the town itself started and also to take in the castle that is a focal point and is atop a hill behind the town itself.

Just after we left Cochem we noticed a large barge making quick passage behind us and so we stopped to see it pass in a narrow part of the river making an impressive sight as close to either bank that we would be likely to see in the area.

A little further on and we came upon a rather unique sight where the road goes through or should we say under the middle of a castle as a tunnel necessitating another stop for photos.

We followed the road beside the Mosel River towards Koblenz with the intention of missing the city and getting onto the Rhine River valley road without going into the city. Vicky as usual had other ideas and in her usual desire to have us view the centre of cities she directed us towards Centrum.

In a way this turned out to be useful as we found a supermarket on the route and remembering that tomorrow is Sunday and supermarkets won’t be open we took the opportunity to do some grocery shopping including a pork chop for each of us for tonight to be roasted in the oven, a rare treat!

The HIT supermarket was one we hadn’t been to before and we must say we were impressed by the variety and quality of what they had to sell. Although the wines in the cellar back at the apartment were well priced they weren’t quite as cheap as the specials and we purchased a local Mosel Reisling halfTrocken and a Rose for a price too good to turn down.

We emerged from the supermarket with the previously blue sky darkened over and it looked like rain although the temperature actually felt like it had risen further and it was touching 32C as we left the supermarket car park to find a spot beside the Rhine for a boot lunch.

We had chosen to drive south on the left hand side of the river without actually thinking or checking about how we were going to get across to the other side when we had seen enough and wanted to head home.

We stopped for lunch just past Lahnstein as the road from Koblenz joined the river. One thing that seemed apparent was that going south the road on the left hand bank followed the river more closely. And so it turned out and proved to provide excellent views.

A Viking Riverboat cruise was leaving a pontoon as we had lunch. The boat was bigger than the one on the Mosel we saw yesterday and with it sailing against the flow of water we drove off to get ahead of it and take photos as it came around a corner in the river. As it was doing so it overtook a barge which had been making slow progress against the swiftly flowing water. Many of the passengers were sitting at tables set up near the bow of the boat finishing lunch although none appeared to be taking an interest in the passing scenery. Perhaps lunch and conversation with their fellow passengers was just a bit more interesting at the moment.

We drove on ahead of the cruise boat stopping to take in views of the pretty town of Boppard.Being on the opposite side of the river gave wider angles to photograph the features of the town.

Our next stop was at St Goarshausen where probably the most famous photographed site on this section of the Rhine, The Lorelei, is located.The feature is a very solid rock that soars 120 metres above the river on a sharp corner where over the years there have been accidents with boats due to rocks in the river and strong currents in the location.

It would have been nice to have an ice cream shop here as the temperature was now well into the 30’s but all we could find were cafes selling cold beers, which while inviting, were not a good idea with the amount of driving we still had to do.

On through Kaub and Lorch, also both pretty towns, we progressed and we were roughly three quarters through the expected kilometres to travel when we realised that we hadn’t passed a bridge over the river to the other side in all that time. In a way this gave us confidence that a bridge would be ahead at Bingen where we had decided to end the drive on the river and return to the other bank and take a planned fairly direct route back home.

We arrived into Bingen and much to our disappointment there was no bridge over the wide river. There was a car ferry but that was on the other side of the river as we went passed and a queue waiting for its return. We thought that by driving on we must find a bridge over the river shortly.

In the sweltering heat of 38C we found a car park and an ice cream vendor. It was almost too hot to be in the sun and we returned to the car to finish our ice creams in some shade with the doors open. It was just as well for as we finished our ice creams a parking warden came along and as we hadn’t paid to park we thought it would look OK if we started the engine as if we were about to leave and had removed our parking ticket already. It worked!

We had to drive another 24km before we found a ridge to cross near Wiesbaden which took us back onto the Autobahn system and although further from home than we wanted to be we were able to make good progress.

With EP set in the GPS we took a series of back country roads (unlike Poland and the Baltic countries they were all sealed and most with a dotted line down the middle) that got us back to the Mosel valley in the early evening.

We arrived home to the party across the street still going and it sounded like they had consumed a fair amount of beer during the day. It wasn’t that they appeared drunk; it was just that their voices seemed to be louder than necessary to converse with others in the group and their sound carried upwards towards us on our balcony. There was just one thing for it, join them in a cold beer or a wine even if we weren’t invited down to join them.

As we contemplated the drive along the Rhine over a cold beer (it was still 35C when we arrived home) we compared today’s scenery to that of yesterday on the Mosel and as you do in these situations we made a comparison of the two for the one we liked the best.

We decided on the Mosel for its compactness, serenity and picturesque surroundings. The Rhine, while it was larger and had more recognisable features was also much busier with faster flowing traffic and noise from cars and regular trains whizzing by.

Our pork chops with roast potatoes, zuchinni and carrots washed down with a glass or three of the Rose we had purchased today was all very tasty and agreeable after such a big day out.

Again with the night closing in we headed for bed with the window wide open to catch whatever breeze there might be.

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