Leaving the castle at 9 a.m., flinging our bodies onward, northbound to heaven (and St. Goar), all the while feasting on the delight of prospect and promise and the intoxication of movement. So we used the train to slide into yet another smallish town nestled against the Rhein with a castle surveying it, St. Goar. It's at a hairpin bend in the river, where the currents once swept boats into the rocks on the side, leading sailors to blame it on the Loreley rock and the siren who sat on top. We sang her song back in German class.
That being said, the way Germans treat women is really something. Nils made the observation on the first night we were there, at the Hofbrauhaus, where girls in dirndls (those puffy dress-type things you imagine when you think of boys in lederhosen) meander up and down the aisles between the tables, as men with minds drenched in beer buy cigarettes or pretzels from them. It's not exploitation, though. It's a form of great reverence for The Female, the wonderful and ethereal form of it, flowing and life-giving. Really cool, and, with enough experience as a dude, just very sweet and innocent.
So anyway, Loreley rock, right near the top of St. Goarsheim, on the East bank of the river. Used to sing the song to it (in iambic tetrameter!) in German class, so that was cool to be around it. Picked up a brochure, but didn't go to the rock, because it's hard to get there when most of the transport is in hibernation mode.
So we stayed on the Western side, at St. Goar, where the biggest and greatest castle on the Rhein sits. It's in ruins now, but for a while, was indestructible. When most of the castles faced their destruction at the end of the 17th century, Rheinfels stood intact until Napoleon stormed inside of it and blew much of it up.
There it is on the hill over St. Goar, another Lonely Planet-
recommended sight. And who were we to go against LP? It had only led me wrong once before (see: Barcelona).
Nils stands in front of the cuckoo clock, which claimed to be the biggest one in the world. I'm not so sure about this. The Rheinland is pretty cool, but the Black Forest is the capital of cuckoos, according to an old German class presentation.
But before we could climb, we dropped our bags off at the tourism office. And then climb we did, attempting first to take the path that clearly led to the castle.
But we were thwarted by maintenance guys who were digging holes. So we took the alternate route, which turned out to be mostly an improvisation through the woods behind a hostel. Wet trees, bushes and berries really do a number on jeans. If you're planning to climb through forests to get to castles, see if you can pack two pairs of pantaloons.
But we made it, up to a car road. A real road!
Cars also took this way to the castle, where a sweet hotel and restaurant operates now.
The castle could keep the French out for a while, but couldn't do a number on this Swede.
Alas, the castle's gates only open in good weather during the winter season, so we were held.
...but could take a picture of the sweet town.
...and then, after walking back down, eat some sweet apple cake and cheese cake.
Stopping to take this car caused us to miss our train by a matter of 12 seconds. But the Bon Jovi Volkswagen requires reverence.
Goodbyyyeee, St. Goar!
Boppard, a town built around its tourism (reminds in certain parts of Rome, Massachusetts or Jersey) awaited.
We quickly made our way to the river in Boppard, where it snaps to the right beyond this church.
On occasion, the Rhein floods so high that it could drown Shaq if he were in town.
Aber Mutti, ich will, mehr zu wissen!
Nein, wir werden morgen wiederkommen!
(Back tomorrow, crazy babies)