Highlight: Hiking up the Lorelei cliffs.
Lowlight: The rush to the toilet after 2 train journeys without washrooms.
Money spent: 39.7 Euros
Pairs of clean underwear left: 2
When I awoke this morning, the castle was shrouded in dark clouds. Rain poured down relentlessly and ran down the windows beside my bed in thick rivulets. I quickly got dressed, mindful of the cold stone floor, had a quick shower, and went in search of food. The kitchen staff were busy preparing breakfast for the myriad of people staying at the castle. Kitchen scullions busied about. I sat myself at a large oak table and was presented with a feast of hard boiled eggs, toast with honey, muesli and yogurt, apple sauce, and fruit juice. With a full stomach, I set out in search of adventure.
I hopped aboard a big steamer heading north. The journey was pleasant, although the weather was nasty. The swift current of the Rhine sped us along. On board, I met a family from Vancouver Island. I’ve never seen anyone deck themselves out themselves out with that many maple leafs before. I should have asked to get a picture. That had Maple Leaf baggage tags, pins, earrings, and flags sewn onto their bags. I asked them if they were patriotic Canadians or just paranoid Americans. Once we got chatting, I found out they had another son in Software Engineering at UBC who was off on a co-op term at Microsoft. Small world. We parted ways when I deboarded at St. Goarhausen, directly across the river from the castle ruins I explored yesterday.
In St. Goarhausen, I stocked up on food and hiked up the Lorelei cliffs. The sky had cleared and the weather was looking pleasant. The hike was steep and strenuous, but the views from the top were rewarding. I found a bench at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Rhine and St. Goar and read my book, ate my lunch, and watched all the boats floating by.
When I got back to St. Goarhausen, storm clouds moved in as I waited for a boat to take me back. As I hiked up to the hostel in Bacharach to get my bag, it was threatening to rain again. As I hiked back down, the sky opened up and soaked me. I bought 2 bottles of Rhineland Rieslings before heading to the train station.
In Mainz, my train to Frankfurt was late, so I had time to buy some overpriced and nasty station food. The train to Mainz didn’t have a washroom, nor did the train to Frankfurt. Luckily, I didn’t drink much all day. Even so, by the time I made it to the hostel in Frankfurt I was about to burst but I managed to control myself this time.
The people staying in the Frankfurt were an odd mix of travelers beginning or ending their trip. No one really visits Frankfurt, but a lot of travelers stay there to use the new and efficient airport. 2 guys in my room were fresh off planes (from Australia and California) and fell asleep at 8 pm. I went to bed early after trying to tour Frankfurt, but getting bored as nothing was open or worth looking at. At 5:30 am both roommates were awake and talking loudly. If it wasn’t my last day in Europe, I would have been pissed.