Our third day of sailing the Rhine was one of my favorites! What’s not to love about Marksburg Castle, an afternoon on the scenic Middle Rhine and a fun night in Rudesheim?
We spent the morning at Marksburg, the only castle in the Rhine River Valley that was never in some way destroyed. Because it was built with such strong fortification in 1117, this stately structure has been watching over the region as a fortress since the 13th century. It has survived many ancient conquests, the 30 Years War, Louis XIV’s campaigns, Napoleon’s rule, two world wars and decades of erosion; yet firmly it stands 550-feet over the tiny town of Braubach.
We seemed to have stepped back in time as we toured the mighty castle! Although it was used for protection rather than a royal residence, it had typical rooms such as a kitchen, a dining hall and bedchambers, plus a chapel, an armory, a wine cellar and battlements with slots built-in for bow and arrows. It also had a torture chamber with gruesome instruments from the middle-ages on display.
One of the most impressive things about the castle is the incredible view! Its lofty perch is the reason it withstood attack – you can see for miles and miles in all directions.
The Rhine River at its best is the stretch through the heart of Germany known as the “UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Middle Rhine”. We spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon on the deck of the Viking Lofn watching castles, forests, vineyards and storybook villages come and go. A truly remarkable experience!
By 5:00 PM we had docked in Rudesheim, a charming river-side town with a medieval feel in Germany’s Rheingau wine region. We spent the evening in town instead of onboard, and I’m so glad we did. Locals and tourists alike flock to the Drosselgasse, a narrow cobblestone street lined with shops, wine bars and taverns. Our optional tour group enjoyed a festive full-course dinner served with unlimited local wine and lively oom-pah-pah music. There was singing and dancing and a hearty “Prost” (Cheers) all around!
We cast-off at midnight, leaving Rudesheim for Mannheim where we would take a bus to Heidelberg and Speyer the following day – so stay tuned! Beauty on the Rhine Day Four is coming up next!
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