Bacharach, Germany: Day 6 and 7

I find that often the hardest places to get to, offer the most rewards.  Bacharach certainly proved this to be true.  After catching a train from Amsterdam to Köln we hopped on a smaller regional train to take us to Bacharach.  It took us about 6 hours to reach a place that looked so close on the map.

Bacharach is a beautiful old town nestled between the Rhine River and the hills.  It is located in the Middle Rhine area which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

View from Burg Stahleck.

I had booked us into a room at the youth hostel which was located in a castle called Burg Stahleck.  We paid 110 euro for two nights and this included a breakfast.

The castle hosts groups of children and youth and offers them an opportunity to explore the area and a medieval castle.   The excitement and enthusiasm of the children was a bonus.  I thought about how excited I would have been, at that age, if I was able to spend a few days with a bunch of my friends at a castle.   (I was pretty excited at the age I am now!)  Our room was not fancy and the washroom was up the stairs and across the hall, but it had a great view and was quiet and peaceful.  The hostel sold nice wine which was served in a clay vessel that you paid for and kept.  I thought it was a nice souvenir.

Getting to the castle was part of the fun.  From the train we walked down the main street and turned up the hill at the side of St Peter Kirche.   The path to the castle zig zags up the mountain and offers beautiful views of the surroundings.

The path was probably as old as the castle and I imagined people walking up this path centuries before.  Right past the church, on the trail to the castle, are the haunting remains of Wernerkapelle, the Gothic remains left as a tribute to the awful excesses against the Jews.

This area is known for its many castles.  We took a short river cruise, for approximately 25 euro. We saw a lot of castles on the hills on either side of the river, beautiful vineyards and lovely old German towns.

The cruises can be as long or short as you like depending upon how much money you want to spend.  You can hop off the boat and explore a town then catch another boatgoing back.

Two days was not enough time to spend in this area and I was sad to be leaving it so soon.  I would return to this area again and try to give myself enough time to check out some of the many hiking trails in the area.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

For this weeks challenge I have 3 pictures with different approaches to Near and Far.

Alberta, foothills of the Rockies

Leaving Paros, Greece

Bacunayagua bridge spanning the Yumuri River, Matanzas Province Cuba

More Posts:

http://mothergrogan.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/weekly-photo-challenge-near-and-far

http://thethirdeyeworld.com/2012/09/07/near-and-far/

http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/weekly-photo-challenge-near-and-far/

http://salmonfishingqueen.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/weekly-photo-challenge-near-and-far/

Amsterdam, Day 3 to 5

Amsterdam, Netherlands

We walked to the Brugge train station and boarded a train bound for Brussels then Amsterdam.

When I was gathering information on transportation and accommodations for the trip I was having a hard time finding a place in Amsterdam that fit within our budget (around $100.00 per night).  I ended up visiting a site called Better Bidding and bidding on a hotel in Amsterdam.  I wanted to be close to the train station so focused my bidding on that area.  We were able to get the Movenpick, which was a short walk from the train station, for $72.00 American per night.  It was a beautiful modern room with a great view, close to everything.  We found it cheaper to order breakfast from room service than to go to the buffet-and it was much more relaxing.

We purchased canal bus passes for 22 euro each and travelled around the city via the canals.

It was a great way to see the city.  We also visited the Van Gogh museum for 14 euro each.  A lot of our time was spent just walking around the downtown area.

In de Waag cafe looks like a fairy castle at night.  At one time Rembrandt had a workshop here.

I had never seen such large bicycle parking lots. This one, outside the Amsterdam train station is a few stories tall.  In Belgium and the Netherlands there were bicycle parking lots at the train stations.  What a sensible idea to cut down on the pollution and congestion caused by cars in downtown centres.

A visit to Amsterdam would not be complete without a stroll through the red light district.

Or checking out the coffee shops.  The ‘menu’ was interesting.  Laws prohibiting Amsterdam coffeehouses from selling marijuana to foreigners go into effect on January 1, 2013.  I wonder if this will have an effect on tourism.