G3VGR RHEINSTEIG     Lorch - Rüdesheim      

Having now completed 75% of the Rheinsteig, the remaining stages were a long way from my usual base in Waardenburg. To complete the last stages would entail two 500 mile weekend round trips by car, which is hardly practical. Also, the stages after Rüdesheim are less suited to my practice of leaving the car at a train station and using public transport to get to the trail head. After some consideration, I concluded it made more sense to fly to Frankfurt and approach Lorch from there by train to complete the trail in one visit. I decided to use the Mayday 2010 holiday weekend and allowed myself three and a half days to complete the last 50 miles of the Rheinsteig.

I caught a British Airways flight from London City Airport to Frankfurt am Main, then a train from the airport to Rüdesheim, arriving early Friday afternoon. My luggage consisted of a lightweight day pack containing 2 days change of clothes and other essentials. The total weight was around 10 lbs. Rudesheim is quite an awful tourist trap, but at least there is plenty of accommodation and places to eat. After checking into the Pension Blattersbach for 2 nights, I had ample time to visit the Asbach distillery and try some "Rüdesheimer Kaffee" which is laced with their fine brandy. I spent the evening conducting a pub crawl in various wine bars along the Drosselgasse.

It was drizzling on Saturday morning, so I abandoned my planned boat ride down river to Lorch and caught the train instead. There were a few hikers around, but they seemed more intent on posing around Lorch in their nice new Jack Wolfskin gear. Strangely, there were no shops open at all in the town, so I was unable to buy any water and was not looking forward to the strenuous 15Km to Assmannshausen without water, especially as it was getting warmer and humid. This is another long section of trail and I started with the usual steep, uphill tramp from the town. After 15 minutes, I was high above Lorch and feeling happy to be back on the trail, following the familiar blue and white signs. The trail ran through the vineyards parallel to the Rhein, with fine views of the river.

The Rheinsteig then entered the Rhein Taunus Naturpark for the first time and it was pleasant to be walking along forest trails again. I arrived at the DreiBurgerBlick, where three castles on the opposite bank can be seen simultaneously. Two are in the far distance upstream and the other next to an ugly section where quarrying has ruined the landscape. The trail wound it's way down through the trees to a pond in the Bodental. However, the long steep ascent from the Bodental to the Teufelskadrich was not too pleasant with no water to drink and I was grateful when the trail levelled out. Following the path further upstream, I passed the other two castles, then headed down the steep path into Assmannshausen. This town is famous for it's red wine, unusual in an area dominated by the Riesling grape. It wasn't very busy here and I stopped at a restaurant for lunch. No shops open here either to buy water.

After lunch, I took a ride in the chairlift up to the Jagdschloss Niederwald. It was very busy with visitors here, many of whom were heading towards the NiederwaldDenkmal along the broad forest trail. The Rheinsteig took a sharp right turn from the main path and I left the crowds behind as the trail looped around the Rittersaal, affording superb views across to Bingen, the River Nahe and the Mäuseturm. The trail rejoined the Tempelweg at the NiederwaldDenkmal. This monument is very popular with tourists and I was also at last able to buy some water from the snack bar. At €2.50 for half a litre, it was a bigger ripoff than anywhere else I'd ever been. I walked down through the vineyards back to Rüdesheim and another evening in the establishments along the Drosselgasse.

Lorch

View upstream from DreiBurgerBlick

Pond in Bodental

towards Teufelskadrich

Assmannshausen

Lunch at Assmannshausen

Bingen and the River Nahe

NiederwaldDenkmal

Drosselgasse, Rüdesheim

Pfarrkirche St. Jakobus, Rüdesheim


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