Crossing the Rhine

This is the fourth part of the series about my weekend walking between Rüdesheim and Oberwesel. Part three can be found here.

Having stopped to eat in Lorch, it was now time to cross the Rhine and make our way to Oberwesel.

On this stretch of the Rhine there are no bridges, but small, flat, ferries that take cars and foot passengers back and forth across the river during daylight hours. Heading out of Lorch towards the river and the station, it was only a short walk to the ferry berth.

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Looking from the ferry back up the ramp and the berth in Lorch

The ferries consist of a flat metal baseplate for the cars with ramps at each end. The bridge is a small cabin located on one side. Foot passengers pay as they board, the car drivers pay during the crossing.

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Two rows of cars on the ferry, crossing the Rhine

In a matter of minutes, the ferry reached the other bank of the river at Niederheimbach and we disembarked.

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The ferry in the berth at Niederheimbach

From the ferry berth we made our way to the railway station, only to see a train to Oberwesel leave before we could buy our tickets. As the next train was not for another hour, we had plenty of time to work out the ticket prices and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to get a discount with my Bahn Card on such a short trip within a Verkehrsverbund.

Crossing the Rhine
The ferry returning to Lorch

We made out way to the right platform and sat down to wait for the train to Oberwesel.

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The view from the platform in Niederheimbach back across the river to Lorch

A number of trains ran through the station while we waited, but none in our direction stopped, until our train arrived. Only a few stops later it was time to get out again and we found ourselves in Oberwesel.

Our final destination of the day was the Jugendherberge (youth hostel), located on the hill near Schloss Schönburg. A sign outside the station showed us which way to go, and we proceeded to walk along a road up a steep hill. Half-way up the hill, we left the road and continued up a footpath that led in a zig-zag form upwards through the woods on the side of the hill. The two street lamps located on the path were not alight, and it got darker and darker as we climbed ever higher. Finally we turned a corner at the top and saw the castle floodlit ahead of us. From here, it was only a few metres to the Jugendherberge and a bed for the night.

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Schloss Schönburg at dusk

Assmannshausen to Lorch

This is the third part of the series about my weekend walking between Rüdesheim and Oberwesel. Part two can be found here.

The way out of Assmannshausen led up a narrow flight of steps behind a row of houses, from there the path widened and again clung to the vineyards on the slopes overlooking the town, zig-zagging upwards.

After arriving on the highest level, the path continued for a short while before entering some woods. Inside the woods the path became narrow and un-even. To the left, a steep slope led downwards through the trees – a similarly steep slop led upwards on the right. The path therefore required a clear head and a good sense of balance, as one wrong footing could cause serious a fall and serious injury. In fact, the best thing to do was to look ahead and just keep going.

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Paul-Claus-Hütte, between Assmannshausen and Lorch

It was in the wooded section that I believe my problems began. Unknown to me, blisters had started to form on the soles of my feet, which, due to my good hike boots and thick socks I didn’t notice – but it was enough to make me walk slower and and a result my calf-muscles starting aching.

By way of motivation, Lorch came into view down below and around the next corner. Little did I realise how much there was still to walk to to reach it. The path continued to follow the side of the hills along the Rhine valley, although there were less vineyards at this point. Every now and then there would be woods on either side, but the path was much wider here and more even so I was able to enjoy the changing scenery.

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One of the many corners through the trees on this part of the path

At last, Lorch seemed to be within reach, when the path played a nasty trick – and took a detour to away from the river into a valley and back out again on the other side. This detour did not help my already aching legs!

But having returned back to the river, the view down to Lorch was magnificent – the vineyards were back! These ones even had signs of activity, as small groups were transporting boxes of grapes, loading them onto trailers as we passed.

Assmannshausen to Lorch
Looking across the vineyards towards Lorch

Finally the path started to descend towards Lorch. We found somewhere to eat our late lunch and to sample to local wines – how good it was to be able to sit down for a while!

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The sign to the “Straußwirtschaft” in Lorch

Having rested, my main concern was how I was going to get to our accommodation in Oberwesel. The answer led me down to the river…

Bingen to Assmannshausen

This is the second part of my series about my weekend walking between Rüdesheim and Oberwesel. Part one can be read here.

Leaving the Niederwalddenkmal behind us we continued to walk across the Rüdesheimer Berg, a group of vineyards on the slopes overlooking the Rhine. On the opposite bank lay Bingen, its many railway lines clearly visible.

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Bingen

The next sight to see was the Mäuseturm, built on a island in the middle of the Rhine. The tower that currently occupies the site was built in the 19th Century as a Prussian signal tower, before that there was a customs tower on the island.

The name of the tower comes from a legend about the Bishop of Mainz in the 10th Century, who was apparently besieged and later eaten by a swarm of mice in revenge for not distributing grain to his people during a time of famine.

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The Mäuseturm, seen from the Rüdesheim bank of the Rhine

Opposite the Mäuseturm lie the remains of Burg Ehrenfels. The castle was also used in the collection of tolls but was severely damaged in the 17th Century. Later parts of it were removed when the vineyards were being planted.

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Burg Ehrenfels

Our route led us directly behind the castle and continued towards Assmannshausen. Here we had the choice of taking the chairlift or going down a flight of steps into the town – the steps going almost through peoples’ back gardens and coming out in an alleyway in the middle of the town.

Bingen to Assmannshausen
Assmannshausen viewed from the vineyard path

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Assmannshausen

Tickets for the chair lift can be combined with those for the cable car in Rüdesheim, so it is possible to do a round trip, returning from Assmannshausen to Rüdesheim by boat.

For our journey, however, we continued through the town and followed the path back up the hill towards Lorch…

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