No Burt in Bacharach

Our beds are comfortable and warm, we sleep in knowing that breakfast isn’t served until 9am and what a fine breakfast it is: cereal, cold meats, camembert, cheese and fresh rolls plus all the coffee and juice you could possibly want. We were wrong in thinking that we were the only guests of the Am Markt Hotel, Brian and Veronica from LA are also staying at the hotel, they are on a two week trip to Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Our breakfast carries on until 10.30am because we were chatting, it was nice to speak English easily with another couple and they were friendly which hasn’t been the case with many of the English speaking people we’ve come across.

You cannot stay on the Rhine without doing a cruise of some sort especially on such a glorious day as today, we catch a boat to St Goar, it takes about 40 minutes to get there, the weather is warm and sun is shining and the glass of local white wine is the perfect accompaniment. St Goar is home to Rheinfels Castle, we choose to have a relaxing lunch rather than rush up the hill to see the castle, our boat leaves in just over an hour and the sausage and sauerkraut is calling to us, Marty washes his down with a Warsteiner beer promoted by two Ukranian boxing brothers. St Goar is larger than Bacharach and certainly more tourists are visiting while we are there, Bacharach is preparing for the start of the busy season starting with the upcoming weekend. The cruise back to Bacharach is slower, we are going against the current and the trip takes over one hour, there are more tourists on this journey and we pick up on Aussie and Kiwi accents, they seem to be part of a tour group, when we get off the boat at Bacharach we see the Cosmos coach parked by the river. A tour can be a great way to see alot in a small period of time, doing it independently it also good and better if you want to spend more than 1 or 2 nights in a particular city or country.

Bacharach has two churches in town: the Church of St Peter and the Church of St Nikolaus, the bells of both ring regularly during the day and we are glad that they don’t ring all night, our hotel is only 50 metres from the Church of St Peter. Behind St Peter’s is the Wernercappelle or what is left of it, we discover an unobstructed view by walking up the street in front of St Peter’s towards Malerwinkel. Malerwinkel is a small enclosed area of houses near the wall and Steeger Tor (tower?), the houses have well tended gardens and a stream runs through the centre, it is like a village within a village. Directly opposite our hotel and viewable from our window is the Altehaus or Old House, it is a well known medieval, half timbered building that has provided inspiration for poets over the centuries and it has featured in films, the date painted on the building is 1367.

Many of the shops and cafes in Bacharach are operating on limited hours, it is the low season until after Easter and then the town will be packed to the brim with German and foreign tourists, it is good to be here during the low season. The square has been a hive of activity all day, staff at hotels and restaurants are preparing garden beds, flower pots and furniture for the weekend and upcoming peak tourist season. Builders and painters are touching up and fixing the exterior of a number of places, there are workers outside the walls busily repairing or creating the cobblestone road that goes under part of the wall. It would be great to see the town in full swing and use it as a base for exploring the region, perhaps by campervan, we have seen plenty of those parked by the river.

We dine at the Rusticana restaurant again tonight, the owner is happy to see us return and it appears that she has a few repeat customers. Marty has schnitzel again, it is tempting but I know that I’ll have the opportunity to try it later so I order the pork in special mushroom sauce, the meat is tender and the sauce is really good for dipping my fries in and Marty agrees. Tonight we give the strudel a miss and have ice cream as we walk along the river, I choose the Riesling ice cream and the flavour is unusual, it is sweet but refreshing like sorbet. Marty pulls a face when he tastes it and has a more traditional flavour. As the sun sets the sky changes to a vivid pink and blue, the Burg Stahleck becomes a silhouette on the hill and slowly all the lights in town come on, it is a pretty sight looking back at the village from the river. We will miss Bacharach, it has been such a lovely place to stay.

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