Germany
Niederwalddenkmal

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    • Day46

      Fünf Fotos-Rhine Cruise Day 4

      May 29, 2022 in Germany ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

      We had a restful night moored about a mile from Speyer's old town. Although a group tour was arranged, we decided to repeat our independent journey into town based on the presentation we had heard about the highlights of Speyer. Admittedly, while we had heard of Speyer previously, we knew very little about the town.

      When we left the boat, it was a bit chilly and was threatening to rain. The first thing we noticed on the way to town was a series of children's paintings on a wall outside a restaurant. It captured for me the innocence of children, and my thoughts returned to those who were murdered earlier in this week as well as those who witnessed it. May we have the resolve to do better for them.

      We loved the forested walk to the center of the city. The green space was lush and it it was a quiet morning. It really felt like we had the city to ourselves.

      I took the time to go into the Domkirche St. Maria und St. Stephan (Speyer Cathedral) about 45 minutes before church services while Jim C explored the adjacent courtyard. There were only a handful of people in the cathedral, and I appreciated the stillness.

      In contrast to many of the Italian Cathedrals, this one is beautiful in its stark simplicity. The stained glass windows are shades of grey Purportedly, construction began in 1024 A.D. In reviewing the history there were several reconstructions after fires, reconstructions and battles. The different architectural approaches are quite evident when viewing the exterior of the church. While the crypt was closed, there were several inscriptions on the floor near the altar memorializing a number of emperors, expresses and bishoos who were laid to rest.

      As we left the church grounds, we walked toward the St. George Fountain in the center of the old town. As we used a tool to translate the various inscriptions surrounding the image of St. George, it became more clear that this fountain was created as part of 1930's Nazi propaganda in honor of fallen soldiers in WWI. Upon further research, I learned that subsequently the Speyer Town Council added a plaque noting that this captured the sentiment of the time, a seemingly week rationalization for the portrayal. I don't think it's unlike too many politicians today wanting to gloss over our own country's history of white supremacy.

      Shortly before we reached the old town gate (Altpoertel) a cacophony of bells sounded which seemed intent on waking the entire city. They continued for about fifteen minutes.

      The Altpoertel is the medieval west city gate of Speyer. and is one of the original 68 towers in the old walls and gates. It was originally
      constructed in the 13th century with several reconstructions over the centuries. It was almost destroyed by French troops who relented when monks pleaded to spare the tower for fear that it would fall and destroy the monastery. It survived; the rest of Speyer and the cathedral were destroyed. It stands today as one of the largest city gates in Germany.

      As we left the Altpoertel, we devoted most of our time in Speyer to visit the ShUM Speyer, a museum dedicated to the Jewish heritage in Speyer dating back over 1000 years ago.

      In 1084, a Bishop took in Jewish refugees from Mainz. Jewish and Christian communities coexisted in peace for over four hundred years. The persecutions around the Black Death ended that time of peace. Subsequent attempts to reestablish the Jewish community were disrupted frequently in the 1500's. The destruction of Speyer in 1689 also witnessed the destruction of the synagogue.

      We toured the remaining structure of the synagogue and adjacent women's school. Women were allowed to listen to what was happening in the synagogue through acoustic slits in the wall.

      We toured the Mikvah ("kiving water"), the ritual bath used for cleansing. It was remarkably intact and it still collects rainwater as it did when constructed.

      We toured the museum on the grounds of the old Jewish Cemetery that no longer exists. The medieval buildings on Kleine Pfaffengasse (Old Jewish Lane) were destroyed by the great fire in 1689.

      After the Jewish community in Speyer was destroyed, the cemetery headstones were used as building materials. The markers of those who had passed now became part of walls, bridges and private homes.

      Today abut 50 of the headstones have resurfaced, and they richly describe in Hebrew the lives of those who passed.

      The desecration of the headstones bothered me deeply. I imagined the markers of beloved family members and friends disappearing with the recollection of their existence.

      I was very moved by the museum and grounds. In a world that seems so fractured today, I'm reminded that most of the divisions are contrived narratives designed to ignore our commonalities and to instead make us fear and, at our worst, hate each other. It was a good reminder that we can do better despite different cultures and belief systems.

      As we walked back to the boat in time for our next stop, we saw a family walking together. One of the children called out "Opa" to her apparent grandfather. It was a reminder how much we treasure the opportunity as grandfathers and to witness Olive's love for her Opa. There is nothing better.

      As our boat departed we enjoyed a delightful lunch chat with a couple in their 80's. We talked about world travel, politics and history.

      We pulled into Rudesheim this evening, and after dinner, we took a stroll into the city for a preview. We really enjoyed a walk along the river to the city center, and we stopped for a drink. A former high school classmate recommended that I try Rudesheimer Kaffe which reminds me a bit of an Irish coffee except the coffee is spiked with a local cognac instead. I can attest that tree caffeine is more effective than the sedating effects of the alcohol as I wrap this post at 2:30 a.m. We look forward to our return to town tomorrow morning.

      Guten Nacht!
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      Glad you are learning all of the history there… [Eddie Westerman]

      5/30/22Reply
      Traveler

      It was really powerful.

      5/30/22Reply
       
    • Day2

      Rüdensheim

      August 14, 2021 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      I'm back on the road at last. First stop is the Rhine Valley. Rüdensheim is one of two small, picturesque German towns along the river that I visited. (See also the post for Bacharach.).
      The pictures are all around the town. I've seen many pictures of towns in Germany that seem to have a certain character. I can now say first hand that the towns along the Rhine Valley do have that character.Read more

    • Day6

      Etappe 6 Mainz-Boppard (74 Km)

      August 16, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

      Diese Morgenstimmung ist so schön. Wenn es ein heisser und Trockner Tag wird ( wie wahrscheinlich Heute das letzte Mal), lohnt es sich früh aufzustehen. Nicht nur weil es kühl ist aber auch wegen der speziellen Stimmung und das schöne Licht.Read more

      Traveler

      Mooi!

      8/16/22Reply
      Traveler

      😉

      8/16/22Reply
       
    • Day2

      Bingen

      June 13, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Lundi, 13 juin 2022
       
      Plusieurs orages ont rythmé notre nuit, mais n'ont point fait de dégâts. L'air s'est rafraîchit un peu et nous continuons notre route en direction Nord, côté “France “ jusqu'à Lauterbourg et suivons ensuite la Deutsche Weinstrasse pour retrouver le Rhin à Bingen, patrie de ma Sainte Patronne Hildegard. Nous voulons nous garer sur une place qui ne doit plus qu'exister dans nos souvenirs. Pas grave, nous prenons nos quartiers au bord de l'eau, juste en face de Rüdesheim. Le traffic est intense sur cette voie d'eau. Une marche au centre-ville nous dégourdit les jambes. Un endroit magique pour siroter une bière et un cocktail.  Read more

    • Day16

      Tag 11 - so weit die Füße tra

      August 14, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

      Nach einer erholsamen Nacht habe ich an der Schutzhütte gefrühstückt. So gestärkt find es dann frisch nach Assmannshausen. Das Wegstück dorthin fand ich mit alten, zugewachsen Steinbrüchen sehr schön. Am Ende ging es vor dem Abstieg über den Höllenberg, dessen Boden wohl einen besonderen Wein entstehen lässt. Dort stand noch eine besonders schöne Schutzhütte bzw. eher ein Pavillon, der laut Information einer der Damen von gestern von einem Filmdreh vor Ort übrig geblieben war.
      Im Ort war Sonntagmorgens tote Hose. An einer Kneipe standen aber sämtliche Fenster und die Tür offen - wohl nur zum Lüften, aber der skurrile aber nette Wirt machte mir eine Schorle und füllte mein Trinkwasser auf. Danach kam einer der gefühlt heftigsten Anstiege auf dem Steig. Kein Wunder, dass vom Ort eine Seilbahn nach oben führte, wo das Jagdschloss Niederwald lag.
      Der dort oben angelegte Wald war schön und von zahlreichen Wegen durchzogen und auch relativ stark frequentiert - als Thruhiker fiel ich da schon etwas aus dem feinen Rahmen. Der Rheinsteig setzte sich aber bald etwas von den üblichen Rundwanderwegen ab. Auf einer Bank mit Blick auf Bingen gab es dann ein zweites Frühstück mit den Resten vom Vortag.
      Etwas weiter kam ich unvermittelt an einer riesigen Statue vorbei, dem Niederwalddenkmal, wo unzählige Touristen herumliefen. Die ließ ich schnell hinter mir - aber langsam musste ein Plan für den Abend her.
      Nach zwei Nächten draußen wollte ich noch mal ein Bett haben und Wäsche waschen. Ich hatte vorher schon mal geschaut, aber in der Ecke nichts Adäquates gefunden. Zudem ging langsam der Strom zu Neige - die Sonne gab heute nicht viel her außer Hitze.
      Kurz darauf kam ich zur Abtei St. Hildegard, wo ich Essen, Trinken und Strom tanken konnte.
      Die Übernachtungsmöglichkeiten in meinem Tageszielbereich bzw. tlw. deren Erreichbarkeit des Sonntags waren immer noch nicht so prickelnd, aber schließlich fand ich noch was in der Nähe von Östrich-Winkel. Leider ließ ich mich von den Kombination von km-Angaben auf den Schildern und den Etappenbezeichnungen etwas fehlleiten. Nach meiner Einschätzung waren es noch gut 15 km bis zum Hotel - damit lag ich aber sowas von daneben!
      Zudem führte der Weg gefühlte Ewigkeiten nach Norden vom Rhein weg (wieder eine der weniger attraktiven relativ sinnfreien Verlängerungen des Steiges). Am Hotel angekommen standen dann 44km zu dem Tageszähler. Dafür gab es dann eine. wohltuende Dusche und leckeres Abendessen.
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    • Day79

      Bingen

      July 13, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 88 °F

      Bingen is right across from Ruedesheim. We took the car ferry over to catch the train on the right side of the river to get home.

      It was blazing hot, but it would have been cool if we had the time to see some of the places related to Hildegard of Bingen.Read more

      Traveler

      next time 🙂

      7/14/22Reply
       
    • Day14

      Oct 3 - Cruising the Rhine

      October 3, 2019 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

      This morning and the early afternoon are all about just looking. We sailed all night back up the Moselle to Koblenz and back onto the Rhine River. The Middle Rhine Valley was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Here, the river forces itself into a narrow, winding valley where the scenery is spectacular with its ancient fortresses, many castles, tiny villages with half-timbered houses, jagged cliffs, old growth forests and hillside vineyards. We’re traveled this stretch three times now and it’s just as enchanting as it was the first time.

      After breakfast, we donned several layers and I added my trusty scarf, toque and gloves, and went to the top deck. We weren’t navigating under any low bridges so the back deck which sits three feet higher than the front deck was open. I walked three miles, around and around, but with ever-changing delightful scenery. Doug chatted with new friends.

      Kilometre 555 marks the location of the 430-ft. high cliff, known as at the Lorelei - it is one of the most famous sights of the Rhine Valley. The river narrows to just over 100 metres, and the treacherous currents and underground rocks have often caused ships to founder. Legend has us imagine the existence of a beautiful maiden sitting on the rock, combing her long hair and singing a sweet song that lures distracted sailors to their destruction. The modern bronze “Lorelei” statue near St. Goarshausen is from 1983.

      I retired inside after 3 hours because my phone battery was almost done - have used only my phone for photos on this trip. Doug had bailed earlier because he was cold. We continued to enjoy the fabulous views from the comfort of the lounge. Then I lost him - again. Found him in the gym working out. He may have been the first person to use that miniature gym on this cruise.

      About 2:00 p.m., the ship arrived in Rúdesheim, a town of 10,500 residents that plays host to over three million tourists per year. We are double-bunked again. We watched with amazement as the captain and his crew nudged the ship to within mere inches of the other ship without so much as the slightest bump. The crew ably hand loaded provisions onto the ship and garbage off the ship.

      More about the day in the next footprint.
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    • Day24

      Rheinstein and Reichenstein Castles

      November 6, 2022 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

      Rheinstein Castle [km 532] is a romantic 14th century castle featuring a drawbridge, ivy covered battlements and spectacular views of the Rhine.
      Reichenstein Castle [km 534] is also called Falkenburg. It’s a neo-Gothic reconstruction. It has collections of porcelain, furniture and weapons which span 5 centuries.Read more

    • Day25

      Castle town

      September 14, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

      We crossed the river to Bingen (by ferry), and we entered in to a world of castles at every new bend and turn..
      So picturesque!
      We headed up river to Bacharach (which is where the photo of red and white building)Read more

      Ian Gilmour

      Just want to put some age of empires archers and catapults on those defence steps :p

      9/14/16Reply
      Deborah Hennessey

      You are a sad little man

      9/16/16Reply
       
    • Day20

      Siegfred's Mechanical Music Instruments

      July 8, 2016 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      The largest collection of working mechanical music instruments and cabinets in the world. Some instruments are 300+ years old. Siegfried started the collection and still lives at the museum even though nearly 90 yo. Quite extraordinary. Just a few featured in these pics...they played about 20 for us, some not exactly perfect, but incredibly engaging nonetheless. There's not a digital control in the place, everything is purely mechanical.Read more

      Richard n Sheila Travels

      Fitting look for the museum ...

      9/4/16Reply
      Richard n Sheila Travels

      Not only a pianola, but a string octet as well, plus percussion in there somewhere too! All run from thatscroll of paper centre front. The circular band at centre of violins is the "bow", and spins faster and slower for effect. The violins themselves move outward to touch the bow to play each note, which is determined by the little metal fingers on each violin. Curved cabinet doors close over the violins when not playing. Crikey!

      9/4/16Reply
      Richard n Sheila Travels

      There's pretty much a whole orchestra in this one. Again, controlled only by that roll of perforated paper...

      9/4/16Reply
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Niederwalddenkmal, Niederwald, ニーダーヴァルト記念碑, Памятник Германии, Đài tưởng niệm Niederwald

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