The main purpose of stopping at St.Goar is to explore Burg Rheinfels which is not really a castle that we would imagine(I mean it’s not a castle like Schloss Neuschwanstein at all). It’s actually castle ruin. Here is the brief history of the castle:
In 1245, the castle was built by Count Diether V von Katzenelnbogen to protect the St. Goar tax collectors and soon developed into one of the mightiest fortresses in the Middle Rhine region.In 1479, when the lineage of the counts of Katzenelnbogen died out at the height of their territorial power, the ownership of the castle passed to the House of Hesse. The landgraves of Hesse turned the “Rheinfels” into a splendid renaissance castle, which, with its surrounding fortification, became one of the strongest fortresses in Germany. The turbulent history of the castle came to an end in 1794, when it was handed over – without a struggle- to the French revolutionary army. In 1796/97 the exterior walls and the castle were blown up.
Parts of Rheinfels Castle still stand,tattered but proud, in the 21st century.
In short, this castle is more than 750 years old and the castle was enormous that it takes at least 3 hours to look around every corner of the castle. There are a lot of tunnels and trenches so it would be the best place to do hide-and- seek when the castle was not destroyed. With a map of the castle, you feel like an explorers. It’s much better to have a flashlight(you can use it from phone nowadays thanks to the technology) There are many young German boys and they certainly enjoy exploring the castle.
And on the hill of the castle, there is this nice view.
After wandering in the castle, I went down to have late lunch. There were some restaurants and they looked quite similar when I saw them on the way to the castle. So, I just picked nice looking one with some people. I wasn’t very sure how good the restaurant it will be so I chose safe choice: Schnitzel. You really can’t go wrong with Schnitzel in Germany or Austria. And with beer, of course. I was really hungry that I finished all the dish quite fast.
Then, I bought a ticket back to Cologne and there was about one hour transfer at Koblenz. One hour waiting for train would be boring so I looked up online where would be the popular tourist spot in Koblenz. I found Deutsches Eck is the most famous spot in Koblenz and it is about half an hour walk from the central station. I might have to wait another train but you know, the probability of coming back here is not that high(yeah, that’s statistical side of me). In the worst case, it’s buying another ticket. So, I decided to give it a try.
Koblenz is small size city. Not as big as Cologne but not small as those towns along Rhein river. Like many cities in Europe, Koblenz has new town and old town. Around the central station, you can see new side of Koblenz with some shopping malls. But when you are walking direction toward Deutsches Eck, you can see typical German old town. According to Wikipedia, Koblenz’s history goes back to 1000BC so it’s more than 3000 years old city.
Then near the river area, you will see Deutsches Eck and you will find the gigantic equestrian statue of Wilhelm I. It is really huge when you see it in person. The first picture and the third picture are actually the views from inside of the statue. In the first picture below, it’s Deutsches Eck and it’s also the confluence of Moselle river and Rhein river. So, left river is Moselle and the right river is Rhein. All the flags in the first picture represent each state in Germany. Before unification by William I, Germany was divided into several families or several electorates. Under the leadership of Wilhelm and his Minister President Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire.
This statue of Wilhelm I was once the symbol of united Germany. After the death of Emperor Wilhelm I in 1888, his grandson Wilhelm II wished to spark a nationalist cult around the “founder of the German Reich” by erecting the statue.
For me, I’m just enjoying the nice view but this would be the historically symbolic place for Germans. Unification by Wilhelm is the cornerstone of modern Germany.
On the other side of the river, there is a fortress, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. Around 1000 BC, early fortifications were erected on the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress hill on the opposite side of the Moselle. You don’t have to climb the hill. Cable car is the best way to get there. I didn’t have enough time to visit but hopefully I can make it next time. If you are reading it and planning to go to Koblenz in near future, you can check this place out.
When I arrived Cologne, it was dinner time already. I woke up around 6am to go to Rhein and wandered for 10 hours. It made me really exhausted. I went to bed early and then head to Belgium after that day. It was three years ago and I still miss exploring Rhein River a lot. Next time, I wish I can explore different castles. Or maybe I can go to Moselle river,too! There are quite many places to travel in Germany than you think.