I was cleaning out cupboards the other day and came across a handmade glass leaf window hanging. Not quite stained glass but beautiful nonetheless. It reminds me of something similar I had as a child, bought in Holland.
The other reason I love this leaf so much is that I bought it in Bacharach, Germany. A small town nestled on the Rhine.
It is a reminder of an afternoon I spent in the village, alone for once. And of the time we spent in the Rhine area, exploring. I have listed below the activities we did while in this area, and what we would do if we come back.
At that time in my life, my confidence was pretty low. But that trip was the start of change. This was a day I had fought for, so I could spend it alone.
Back when we took this trip, photography didn’t interest me, so I apologise for the quality and lack of photos.
Staying in Bacharach
We stayed in the hostel in Burg Stahleck, a 12th century fortified castle perched above the town of Bacharach. The kids were 10 and 14 and I thought they would love staying in a castle. Being a hostel made it affordable.
I am not a fan of hostels. I don’t mind camping or B&B’s and cheaper hotels, and I love apartments, but hostels not so much. We were in a private room, giving us ample space and our own bathroom.
The castle was interesting, my favourite area was the courtyard where we sat overlooking the Rhine below. Magical.
We had been travelling for over a month as a family and without getting into details, things were challenging on a personal level for me.
Up to that point in my life, before that trip, I hadn’t done anything on my own, nor had I wanted to.
I was too scared. But planning that trip was the start of building my confidence and after a week in New York with just my daughter and me, my confidence had started to soar (about bloody time, I was 41 years old!!!).
As part of the trip planning, I asked each family member what they wanted to see and do. The Porsche Museum in Stuttgart was one of those things.
On a whim, I decided not to go. Cars are not my thing. I did not want to drive a couple of hours each way with a family, that quite frankly, I needed a break from.
So, I bravely decided (don’t laugh) to spend a day on my own. Of course, that meant I had to catch up on the domestic duties first, like the laundry. I mean wasn’t that my role as a wife and mother? [read sarcasm here].
My Day in Bacharach
We had already explored the town of Bacharach together, so I felt comfortable wandering around. It is a delightful town full of half-timber frame houses and cobblestone streets.
From the castle, a path leads to town. It was a little steep in places, but overall it was a pleasant walk through the forest before emerging near the ruins of Gothic Wernerkappelle.
I stocked up on items at the supermarket. I am a freak about supermarkets when I’m travelling and love seeing what’s available, what’s the same, and more importantly, what’s different. A lot of my “souvenirs” are things I buy in supermarkets.
After that, I looked around the shops. It was a chance for me to duck into places I had spotted on our previous visit, but couldn’t stop because of the family.
That’s when I found the glass store. I had a lovely time chatting with the glassmaker whilst choosing something to buy.
As any traveller knows, getting things home is a real challenge. But it did make it, however, to this day it is still looking for the perfect place to be hung.
After wandering for a while, I headed back to the castle. I was keeping a blog, Travelling with Attitude, so I spent a few blissfully quiet hours writing, and planning our next few days. I sustained myself by eating cake and coffee, purchased at the front desk of the hostel (I mean I had to enjoy authentic Black Forest Cake in Germany).
As mentioned above, the courtyard of the castle overlooks the Rhine and the valley of Lorelei, so it was a nice place to spend time.
To end my day of solitude I purchased a cup of wine, for the sum of €6 at the front desk (what else did they have hidden at that front desk?)
If you returned the cup, €3 was refunded. But by the end of our stay, I had bought two cups. Each time I use one I am reminded of that afternoon overlooking the Rhine.
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Things to Do
Take a Romantic Tour! I know the name sounds strange, but that’s what it’s called. We loved the Romantic Tour.
It is a self-guided tour that is easy and interesting. Both adults and kids loved this one and included a visit to Castle Rheinstein.
St Goar & Rheinfels Castle
Explore the towns of St Goar (10 minutes by train from Bacharach, running every hour) and visit Rheinfels Castle, easily accessible from St Goar by taxi, foot or car.
Open 9 am – 6 pm (last admission one hour before closing). The castle is closed between November and March. Tickets are €5 (cash payment only), and don’t forget to bring a torch!
Visit Marksburg Castle located above Brabauch and accessible by a KD Rhine boat from Bacharach.
Guided tours are the only way to see the castle and take about 50 minutes. English speaking tours run at 1 pm and 4 pm during the summer season. Everyone can join the regular guided tour and will be provided with a brochure in their own language.
Opening Times: 10 am to 5 pm from March to November
Ticket Prices: €7
We had a car which made things easier, but that comes with the hassle of parking. I would love to explore this area again someday, and it won’t be with a car.
Travel by Train – Plan your trip on Eurail
Travel by water – KD Rhine Pass to get around – KD Rhine
Located approximately 50 km from Koblenz and 87 km from Frankfurt, Bacharach is located in the Rhine Gorge. It has a population of just over 2000.
The Rhine Gorge is like something out of a fairytale with castles dotted as far as the eye can see, timber-framed medieval villages and towns, friendly people and great food and wine.
From the town of St Goar and the Rheinfels castle to Bacharach, you can spend relaxing days castle and town hopping.
I loved the Rhine and Germany. I will be back to conquer more castles or maybe experience the Christmas Markets. Either way, I look forward to visiting again.
If you are travelling around Europe, you might find these posts useful.
- 9 Things to do in Amsterdam (with teenagers)
- The Pretty Town of Bacharach, Germany
- My Tour to Monet’s Gardens
- 7 Things to do in Lauterbrunnen. Switzerland
- 7 Reasons to Visit Slovenia Now