Europe Trip Recap – The Rhine River Valley in Germany

If you’ve been following along, Hubby and I spent a couple nights in The Netherlands, followed by 4 nights in Belgium. Up next on our European vacation was Germany. We took a high speed train to Cologne. Upon exiting the Cologne train station, we were immediately impressed by the massive cathedral (Dom). We decided to do the highly recommended Dom Tour at 2:30pm so we had a few hours to kill.

We grabbed our first meal in Germany at a beer house. We enjoyed sitting outside in the nice weather, beer, and pork for lunch. After that we walked around Cologne before the tour. During the tour, they were testing the organs which was quite the experience to hear! The tour of the cathedral was amazing. Very informative and worth the 7 Euro price tag. After the tour, we picked up our rental car and headed off to St Goar. I was pretty tired, so I snoozed while Hubby drove. I’m glad I did because Hubby said he was enjoying the fact that there wasn’t a speed limit on the Autobahn… I don’t even want to know how fast he was driving…

Inside the Dom in Cologne
My first meal in Germany – Pork and Beans! (with a beer, obviously)

Our hotel in St Goar was right on the Rhine River. We enjoyed walking along the river for a while before grabbing dinner at the restaurant in our hotel. We sat outside and enjoyed a couple beers before doing some quick laundry in our room then heading to bed.

We woke up the next day to a cloudy, grey day. We decided to hike to the Reinsfeld Castle. The castle was in complete ruins and was a lot of fun to explore and search through. After the ruined castle, we hit up a grocery store to grab a picnic lunch. We feasted on salami, Gouda, apple, and freshly baked bread at the park while doing some barge watching along the river.

Driving through the German countryside to St Goar
Ruins of the Reinsfeld Castle in St Goar

Next we hopped on to a boat for a leasurely cruise to Bacharach. Once we got there, we followed the Rick Steves walking tour around Bacharach. After the walk, we hiked to the castle in Bacharach to enjoy a beer with a great view. The vineyards along the steep countryside were amazing. Next we enjoyed a wine tasting before heading to dinner. Hubby had one of our favorite meals of the trip that night – Sauerbraten – which was pork with a braised red cabbage and potato dumplings.

The castle turned Youth Hostel in Bacharach
Vineyards on the mountainside in Bacharach
View from the hike in Bacharach

For our last day in St Goar, we slept in and did some shopping in the morning. Hubby bought an umbrella because it was raining. He ended up using that umbrella almost every day the rest of the trip. And then he forgot it in the airplane when we landed in Boston!

We drove to Burg Eltz, which is an operating castle that Rick Steves says is one of his favorites. It was cold and rainy that day but we still opted for the 45 minute hike through the mountains to the castle. Once we got there, we did the 45 minute tour. We were both underwhelmed with this castle. It was interesting to see, but our tour guide was less than enthused to be there, which just put a damper on the day. The cold rainy weather didn’t help either. We had lunch at the castle before heading back to our 45 minute hike through the mountains to get to the car. We laid low that evening and I skyped with my family to say hi.

Walking up to Burg Eltz
Part of the drive to Burg Eltz. It was hilly and curvy to say the least.

For our last day in the Germany countryside, we drove to Rothenburg. We did the Rick Steves walking tour again, making a stop at the Crime and Punishment Museum. It was a little scatterbrained and overwhelming, but worth a stop. When we came upon the main square, the sun came out, so we grabbed a beer.

The town of Rothenburg

Next we went to the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop. For those of you who don’t know me in real life, I love Christmas. Especially ornaments. This shop was like heaven to me. You couldn’t take pictures inside which made me sad. We capped off the evening with the highly recommended Night Watchman Tour. It was a fun, informative, and entertaining way to spend the night.

Entrance to Rothenburg
Doorway in Rothenburg

Rothenburg was such a cute little town and we really enjoyed our time there. We grabbed the majority of the souvenirs for our family in Rothenburg. We were shocked at how quickly the entire town shut down. When we got back from the Night Watchman Tour, almost everything was closed. After our one night in Rothenburg, we hit the road to head to Munich for the final leg of our trip. Watch for that recap soon.

Enjoying a beer in Rothenburg
Night Watchman Tour in Rothenburg
Entrance to Rothenburg
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