Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Rhine Getaway: Rhine Castles (4/22/2014)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Viking Gullveig breakfast buffet
The omelet chef with the rest of the buffet
Today was the big day of cruising along the Rhein/Rhine, an area declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002 (which means, among other things, that they cannot build bridges across the river here!). We are to see Burg after Burg/castle, so sit back and relax. We are starting from Rüdesheim (KM 526.7). Our Program Director, Ryan, narrated along the way...
Rochuskapelle/Chapel of St Roch
(1893-1895 in neo-Gothic by Max Meckel of Freiburg)
Niederwald Denkmal/Monument
(1877-1883, sculpted by John Schilling of Dresden)
Twice, our Program Director said this statue was Kaiser Wilhelm I. I tried to change his mind, but he insisted that sources are mixed (I agree!) and that since the mini-train operator in Rüdesheim said it was Kaiser Wilhelm, he was sticking to it. The zoom photo is not good enough to show that this statue has bosoms (but anyone can Google it!), and is a representation of the country, called "Germania." Kaiser Wilhelm laid the cornerstone and is shown in a relief at the base of the statue, which commemorates the re-establishment of the German empire in 1870-1871.
Niederwald Tempel/Temple (1790 by Earl of Ostein, rebuilt 2006)
Burg/Castle Klopp in Bingen
(13C ruins with rebuilt Bergfried/defensive tower)
Burg/Castle Ehrenfels (c.1212 ruins)
Burg/Castle Ehrenfels
Castles were built by owners to have control of the river, and since this one had no view of the river, they built the Mäuseturm/Mouse Tower (14C, rebuilt in neo-Gothic style and used as a signal station 1855-1974) on an island in the Rhine. The owners of the castles collected tolls from passing ships, ostensibly for helping them navigate the hazards of the river. Some owners had official permission to collect tolls and were called toll collectors. Others did not have permission and were called robber barons.
Mäuseturm/Mouse Tower (KSS)
The Mäuseturm/Mouse Tower is so named because of the legend of Bishop Hatto and the Mice. Bishop Hatto was a greedy, wealthy prince who exacted tithes from his subjects and demanded tribute from passing ships. After great floods there was a famine and the people came to beg for food from the bishop's stockpiles. The bishop laughed and said he'd rather share his food with mice. The angry people attacked, so he directed them into a barn promising food, then locked them in and burned down the barn. The fire dispersed thousands of mice who ate up all the stockpiled food, then all the food in the palace. Bishop Hatto fled to his tower on the island, thinking he was safe. Although many mice drowned, they formed a sort of bridge and other mice made it to the island, and are said to have eaten the bishop alive.
Village of Assmannhausen,
an area that grows mostly Spätburgunder/Pinot noir grapes (KSS)
A special vineyard tractor?
Looks like an elongated mower/tiller
Burg/Castle Rheinstein (14C as a toll collecting castle, rebuilt 1825-1829) (KSS)
Burg/Castle Rheinstein was the first castle to be rebuilt during the period of Romanticism, as a duke's hunting castle by architects Friedrich Schinkel and Wilhelm Kuhn under Claudius Lassaulx
Rheinstein also has a legend, one of a love triangle. The owner of the castle, Sir Diethelm, was not doing well financially and hoped to marry his daughter, Gerda, to someone wealthy. Gerda was wooed by a young prince, Helmbrecht, who did not have a family fortune. Helmbrecht asked his wealthy uncle, Gunzelin, to ask Diethelm for Gerda's hand. Gunzelin decided he wanted the beautiful maiden for himself and the father agreed. Gerda's tears attracted the attention of the water nymph, who, on the day of the wedding, disturbed a hornet nest, causing the bees to sting the horse carrying the bridal couple. The horse reared, throwing the old Gunzelin over the cliff to his death, while Helmbrecht saved Gerda. A week later Helmbrecht and Gerda were married in the Clemenskapelle/Chapel of St Clement below the castle.
Clemenskapelle/Chapel of St Clement
Burg/Castle Reichenstein (13C)
Burg/Castle Reichenstein (aka Falkenburg) was home to robber barons and thus many times destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1899-1902 by architect Georg Strebel of Regensburg in "neo-Gothic English castle-style."
Quarzitbruch/quartzite quarry
The quarry is said to have been given to the Netherlands as reparation. It is owned by a Netherlands company and the stone is used for coastal protection.
Burg/Castle Sooneck (13C, rebuilt 1834-1861)
Burg/Castle Sooneck is the location of another legend, of the Best Shot. Siebold of Sooneck was always quarreling with Hans of Fürstenberg, who was the best bowman in the land. Eventually Siebold challenged Hans to duel with swords. Siebold only wanted to make Hans suffer, and upon winning the duel, he put Hans in the Sooneck dungeon and had his eyes burned out. One day at a party, Siebold brought out blind Hans and said he would set him free if Hans could shoot a goblet thrown in the air. After Hans was given a crossbow and arrow, Siebold threw up a goblet and shouted, "Shoot!" The arrow pierced Siebold in the neck and he died.
Viking Gullveig crew cleaning
the glass ceiling of the Aquavit Lounge
Heimburg or Burg/Castle Hoheneck (13C)
and St. Mariä Himmelfahrt'/Church of the Assumption
Pfarrkirche St. Martin/Parish Church of St Martin
(13C high-Gothic style) in Lorch
Burg/Castle Nollig (14C ruins)
Burg/Castle Fürstenberg (13C ruins)
Pfarrkirche St Bonifatius/Parish Church of St Boniface (1875)
in Lorchhausen
Town of Bacharach (KSS)
Burg/Castle Stahleck (12C, now a youth hostel)
Wernerkapelle/Werner' Chapel (13C ruins) and
Peterskirche/Church of St Peter (11-14C) (KSS)
Marktturm/Market Tower (15C) in Bacharach
Postentum/Postal Tower in the vineyards and
Münzturm/Mint Tower, with city walls
Another Zollburg/Customs or toll castle coming up!
Burg/Castle Pfalzgrafenstein (1326-1340),
under Burg/Castle Gutenfels (c. 1220, rebuilt 1889-1892
by the architect Gustav Walter) (KSS)  
Burg/Castle Pfalzgrafenstein laid chains across the river, and should it appear a ship would try to run by without paying the toll, they would raise the chains and cause damage to the ship.
Burg/Castle Pfalzgrafenstein restored to its 14C Baroque colors (KSS)
The small white protrusion to the right is the privy,
with the hole opening up to the river below
Another legend is linked to the "Pfalz." Count Konrad of Burg Stahleck was a loyal friend of the Holy Roman Emperor, who was feuding with his cousin, Duke Heinrich. Konrad's daughter, Agnes, wanted to marry Heinrich, Jr., and her father would not allow her to marry the son of the enemy of his Emperor. Konrad's wife sided with Agnes, and they were both locked up in Pfalzgrafenstein. Konrad was unawares as Heinrich, Jr. sneaked to the Pfalz by boat, had a priest brought over to marry them, and nine months later a baby arrived. The wife summoned Konrad, who thought his wife and daughter were ready to concede, and was shocked to learn he now had a son-in-law and a grandchild. Konrad was fearful about telling the Emperor about Heinrich, Jr., but it turned out the Emperor was happy to learn the news, and thus was reconciled to his feuding cousin.
Pegelhaus/Level house in Kaub,
showing the depth of the Rhine at 1.17m/3.8'
Schönburg (12C, partially restored 1885-1901 by the Rhinelander family
who earned their fortune in real estate in the U.S.) (KSS)
The Program Director related the legend associated with Schönburg, which means "beautiful castle." The Earl of Schönburg had seven beautiful daughters, who turned away suitor after suitor. The Earl tried one final time, bringing the noblest of knights, and according to Ryan, the seven maidens danced with their partners out of the castle and into the river. Another version has the seven maidens sneaking across the Rhine in a boat, when the father saw them and cursed, "May you turn to stone." At that moment the boat sank and the seven virgins drowned. Either way, they end up as the Seven Maidens Reefs/rocks, which we will see later.
Liebfrauenkirche/Church of Our Lady (14C)
in Oberwesel
Oberwesel with the towers of Kuhhirtenturm and Michelfeldturm 1
and Martinskirche/Church of St Martin with a 14C tower (KSS)
Oberwesel with Hospitalgassenturm/tower
and Wernerkapelle/Werner Chapel (1700) in the foreground (KSS)
Oberwesel with Martinskirche/Church of St Martin
and Ochsenturm/Ox Tower (medieval)
The Viking Gullveig seemed to perform some maneuvers at Oberwesel, as they were still testing ship-to-shore communications.
Two other river cruise boats skirt the Seven Maidens Reefs (KSS)
The Seven Maidens rocks (KSS)
We thought we saw another chapel tower,
but it was at a railroad tunnel portal
Approaching the Lorelei (KSS)
The legend of the Lorelei was told in such a way, that our fellow passengers could not understand why ship captains thought this rock was so beautiful that it caused them to crash.
First, our Program Director, Ryan, stated that the Germans spelled the name Lorelei and pronounced it "lora-lie," which is correct. He then stated the English spelled it Loreley, and he pronounced it "lora-lay." However, the Germans also spelled it Loreley, which they still pronounce as "lora-lie," since a 'Y' can replace an 'I'. To Ryan, the pronunciation of "lora-lay" made more sense (?), but why wouldn't you pronounce a name the way it was originally pronounced?
There are several variations of the legend, but Ryan read parts of the 1824 poem by Heinrich Heine. Whether a maiden waiting eternally for her lost sailor, or a virgin forced into a nunnery who jumps off the rock, the spirit of Lorelei sits by the rock combing her golden locks and sings. It is the beautiful and haunting sound of the murmurings or echoes that distracted sailors in this dangerous stretch of the river, where it reaches its greatest depth with deep whirlpools alternating with reefs, that caused them to crash. The famous echoes that gave the rock its name have disappeared due to urbanization (perhaps the cutting of railroad tunnels).
Lorelei juts out into the Rhine
A statue of Lorelei (1983 by Natascha Alexandrova)
Häuser Kran/Crane in St Goarshausen
Burg/Castle Katz, short for Neukatzenelnbogen (1371, rebuilt 1896-1898)
Burg/Castle Rheinfels (1245, partly ruins, partly a hotel)
Burg/Castle Maus as disparagingly named by the Katzenelnbogens,
real name of Deuernburg (1356, rebuilt 1900-1906 by Wilhelm Gärtner)
 Pfarrkirche St Bartholomäus/Parish Church of St Bartholomew (12C)
in Hirzenach 
Burg/Castle Sterrenberg (11C) and Burg/Castle Liebenstein (13C)
These two neighboring castles have the legend of the Hostile Brothers. A widower, Werner, and his two sons, Heinrich and Konrad, lived peacefully in Sterrenberg, until they took in the orphan daughter, Angela, of a deceased associate. Both brothers were suitors for Angela's hand, but would she choose the more spirited Konrad, or the elder Heinrich who was heir to the castle? She chose Heinrich, but Konrad continued his efforts. Finally a knight arrived seeking recruits for the crusade, and Heinrich as heir was forbidden to go. Konrad joined up, but was asked by Angela to promise he would return if she waited for him. Angela consigned herself to waiting, and Werner had another castle built for Konrad and Angela, Liebenstein. However, Konrad never believed Angela would wait, and returned from the crusade with a Greek woman as his wife. Konrad saw his father had died and drew his sword to pay respect, which his brother, harboring hate for his brother due to thwarted love, mistook the gesture as an attack. Angela threw herself between the brothers, who sheathed their swords and turned aside. Konrad went to live in Liebenstein with his Greek wife, and built a wall between the two castles. Heinrich returned to Sterrenberg, and Angela went to a nunnery.
Kirche St Lambertus/Church of St Lambert (1899) in Niederspay
Marksburg/Castle of St Mark (c. 1117)
Another Viking River Cruise longship near Marksburg
Scharferturm/Sharp Tower (1396) in Rhens
Schloss/Castle or Palace Martinsburg (1298) in Lahnstein
Burg/Castle Stolzenfels (1259, rebuilt 1836-1842 in neo-Gothic style
by Karl Friedrich Schinkel)
Burg/Castle Lahneck (1226)
At 11:00, we had a presentation by Ryan on "Travelers of The Rhine."
Next: Marksburg.

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