Bingen and Rudesheim

From Koblenz I cycled to Sankt Goar, on a cycle track along the part of the river known as the Romantic Rhine.  In Sankt Goar I stayed at a small campsite just before the town that had only three other sets of guests, which was a nice change from the massive campsites I had previously been to.  It even had a small picnic table and bench, so I set up my tent next to it and proceeded to make myself some dinner before it began to drizzle.  Despite having so few campers the little bar was open, so I headed in there for a hot chocolate and to warm up before bed.  There were a few old men inside, and it wasn’t till I went up to the bar and started looking around that one of them stood up and I recognised him as the proprieter!
The next morning I headed on to Bingen, past Lorelei Rock.  It was a small music geek moment, because this is Bingen of Hildegard von Bingen fame.  I arrived in time to find an open tourist information office and a helpful lady who directed me to a campsite a little further up the road that she assured me was only a small campsite.  Turns out her definition of small was quite different from mine – this campsite had over 150 sites, most of which were filled with caravans and motorhomes.  I set up my tiny tent in a patch of grass in the centre and headed back into town to the supermarket.  I got quite a few odd looks from the patrons at the campsite bar in the process.

After dinner I went back to the bar, which also doubled as reception, with the intention of getting some tokens for the showers and perhaps having a glass of something with the locals, but it was closed!  And it wasn’t particularly late.  Stubbornly I went and sat under the shelter of the marquee and enjoyed the benefits of a chair and table.  A little later I was approached by a man on a bicycle who asked something about bicycle parking.  When I replied in English he started a conversation with me and it turned out he had been to New Zealand some years before and had family over there.  He commiserated about the cold nasty weather and departed.

The next day I decided to stay in the campsite another night and took a day trip across the river the Rudesheim.  Rudesheim is famous for parties of Japanese tourists and has a street called Drosselgasse in which all the most German of things are sold, along with plenty of souvenir junk, drawing in the tourists.  Perhaps not so much on the day I was there, as it was cold and began raining shortly after I arrived.  I took the ferry across the river from Bingen, a novel experience in itself.  It is only a small ferry and runs every 10 minutes or so.  It carries cars and foot passengers, and fortunately for me, bikes too.
My bike gets a holiday.
I wandered on foot through the old streets of Rudesheim which was indeed a very beautiful ‘ye olde’ town.  I decided to treat myself to a sit down lunch and found a relatively inexpensive Italian restaurant – with wifi!  I also stopped at a Federweisser stand in one of the narrow streets and for 2 Euro sampled this traditional seasonal drink.  Federweisser is made from the first pressing of the grapes I was told, and has a strong and sweet flavour with quite a bit of acidity.  I really enjoyed it and wonder now whether it is also produced in New Zealand, and if not, why not?  I really think we should.
The old town in Rudesheim.
After taking the ferry back to Bingen I wandered around the streets and up to the top of the hill where the castle is situated.  From there you can see out over the town and the Rhine.  As the afternoon waned I rode back to the bar of the campsite and enjoyed another glass of Federweisser.
View from the ferry.
View from the castle hill.

Through the gates to a church.


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