Day tripping the Rhine Valley -part 4

After we left the wonderful city of Mainz, Germany we drove about an hour into the Rhine valley which is one of Germany’s famous wine regions and home to many castles. Up until this point in my life the only castles I had seen were a few pseudo-castles built by ultra rich families in New England or Native American Montezuma’s castle in Arizona as well various Mayan *castles* like El Castillo at Chichen-itza in Mexico. These are all fascinating landmarks in their own right, but they aren’t the fairly tale castles like I grew up reading about from Hans Anderson or the The Brothers Grimm.

In the Rhine valley a lot of things have a castle look to them.

even the train tunnels.


I will always think about fields of neon yellow flowers when I think of Germany’s open fields where rape-seed is planted for cooking oil.

I’m also in love with the iron work on gates

and hardware for doors.

and speaking of doors…

We made the village of Bacharach our home base for two nights. Well to be exact we stayed in the even smaller village of Steeg 1 km up the main road.

At first I was concerned about staying up the hill out of town, but very quickly I realized I had made a better (and quieter) choice. All the roads in these little villages are cobblestone and you don’t realize how noisy it can be when a car goes zipping by or the train passes along the river front, which is right next to many of the hotels in town.

Bacharach is lovely though, as you can see there is a castle up on the hill and ruins of a cathedral below and the steep hills surrounding the village are covered with vineyards.

I love this sculpture of Victor Hugo and Heinrich Heine having a glass of wine under the watchful eye of Clemens Brentano that sits in the park in Bacharach.

After getting settle in at our lodging in Steeg, we walked down the hill to Bacharach to grab a bite to eat and then make the hike up another hill to see Burg Stahleck, or Stahleck castle, which has been converted into a youth hostel, which means you can no longer go inside, but you were welcome to walk the grounds.

Every bit of our walk down the hill was wonderful. There is only one road and you have to walk through a castle-like looking structure that makes up part of the town wall and goes across the road.

Going through it made me feel like I was at Winterfell in Game of Thrones.

This smaller passage way, down below the street level, was for pedestrians to go through and meandered along a little stream behind the houses in the village with little foot bridges for home owners to cross into their yards.

On our way back up the other side of the hill to Stahleck castle, we came upon the remains of this beautiful gothic church.


and after a good hike further up we came to the Castle.

The courtyard here ways lively with children from the hostel playing outside running in and out of passageways. How fantastic is that?

Further up the hill, above the castle, there was an the amazing view of the Rhine river.


The next morning, we headed up the Rhine valley by car, over to the Moselle valley. The Moselle river joins the Rhine at the city of Koblenz. The interesting thing about this area is there is only one bridge at Koblenz to get across the river. There are ferries at a few of the larger villages along the way to take you across to the road on the other side. This is one of the things that helped save the valley from decimation during the war.

We drove up the Moselle valley to see Burg Eltz, the castle Rick Steve’s had recommended visiting in his book on Germany, because it’s one of the only ones that had not been damaged during the war and has been in the same family for 800 years.

This is the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a fairy tale castle, including a pile of stone cannonballs far below.

Once again I was completely fascinated by the details.


As well as seeing what kind of life lived on the castle walls.

After we got back to Bacharach we stopped for lunch, and of course had a fabulous flamme kuchen and a glass of wine. All that walking has its rewards! 

Then we booked an afternoon river cruise to kick back and take in the castles in leisure sipping Sekt (sparkling wine) for me and good German beer for Phil.
It was a warm afternoon that became gradually cloudier as we cruised toward Koblenz, looking at numerous castles. It was a lovely way to spend a couple hours after hiking up and down hills all morning.

We reached Koblenz around 6 pm and walked one km across the city to the train station.

and look another fantastic fountain!


Then we took a 30 minute train ride back to Bacharach, hiked back up the hill to Steeg and ate an enormous meal.

I have one more post to write about our trip to Germany, but it may come after another couple art related posts that I have yet to write.

More to come soon, until then

Keep creating,


I’d love to spark your creativity at one of these upcoming events:

July 27-28 Meissners, Santa Rosa, Blessings in the wind; mixed-media prayer flags

August 14-18, 2018 Woodland Ridge Retreat, WI –sold out
5 – day Paint and Print-a-palooza retreat

October 19-21 Ephemera Paducah, Paducah, KY
Tea and Ephemera and Blessings in the wind: mixed-media prayer flags

October 27 Meissners, Sacramento, Fiesta Ornaments


January 16-20 Craft NapaPaint & Printapalooza, Collage, Paint, Create!, Make an Impression! 


IMG_5538Judy is an artist, explorer, image wrangler, knowledge seeker, instructor, speaker, creative alchemist, and purveyor of inspiration, helping others channel creativity on a daily basis.

2 Responses to “Day tripping the Rhine Valley -part 4”

  1. Nancy Pepper says:

    I love Burg Eltz! It was the first of many castles we enjoyed in Germany when we lived there. I even remember the day we went, July 4, 1987. It’s very bittersweet seeing your pictures, I miss Germany a lot. Of course it doesn’t help that our daughter did not move back to the States with us and we now have a German granddaughter there too. Well, except that of all things the German granddaughter is here in the States, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail this summer.

    And on a completely different subject…how do I email you a photo? You were in Redding a few years ago to speak at our Quilt Guild and I took your Tsukineko Inks class. This year I put a wall hanging that I’d made with what you taught us in our county fair and got a ribbon! Thanks for all that you share with us in your classes.

    • Hi Nancy,

      aw, I can imagine how much you miss Germany, I miss it already and it’s only been a month for me. i think if I had a chance to live there I might choose it over this country right now! 🙂

      Congratulations on your ribbon, well done! I look forward to seeing your quilt. You can email me at judy at judycoatesperez dot com. Use the @ and . though, I spelled it out here to avoid spam bots picking up my address.

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