G3VGR RHEINSTEIG     Rheinbrohl - Rengsdorf      

As I had progressed well along the Rheinsteig over my previous 2 weekends, it was time to choose a base closer to the current area than Troisdorf. The Rheinsteig takes a big detour around the East of Neuwied to encompass the Westerwald, so I booked 2 nights in the Hotel Drei Schweitzer. Neuwied is a fairly modern industrial town with very little to commend it. However, it does have ideal train and bus connections to the relevant Rheinsteig stages.

I caught the Harwich - Hook of Holland ferry on Friday night, arriving in Holland at 7:30AM. After driving to Leutesdorf station and parking my car, I had 10 minutes to spare before catching the train to Rheinbrohl. The section from Rheinbrohl to Leutesdorf is quite short, so ideal for a Saturday afternoon hike. Although it was late November, the weather wasn't as cold as I'd expected and the day was dry, but dull.   I retraced the steps I'd made back in August to the trail at Rheinbrohl which quickly climbed above the town and gave fine views of the Rhein. The trail later entered a small part of the Westerwald before descending to the vineyards at Hammerstein. Most of the leaves had fallen from the trees, however many of the vines still carried yellowed leaves, so the scenery was quite pleasant. From Hammerstein, the trail climbed again and I walked above more vineyards until making a sharp descent to Leutesdorf.

On Sunday morning, I caught the train from Neuwied back to Leutesdorf to start the 21Km hike to Rengsdorf. The weather was colder than the previous day with a steady drizzle. Following the trail above the vineyards of Leutesdorf, there are extensive views across the Rhein to Andernach, a truly dreadful-looking industrial town. I was quite pleased when the trail turned sharply inland and gave me relief from this eyesore. However, I had now started on a fairly boring stretch which consisted of walking along the sides of farm fields. The only consolation was that the drizzle stopped and the sun came out.

Eventually the trail did enter the forest a few kilometers before Altwied. The ground was heavily coated in fallen leaves, which meant the trail was difficult to see at times. Now the hike was becoming enjoyable, even more so after descending to Altwied and enjoying some glasses of Hefeweizen at a steak restaurant. As I left, it started raining quite heavily. The trail now was truly in the Westerwald all the way to Rengsdorf. The going was harder than earlier and I seemed to be either going up or down steeply through the forest.

Downhill sections were tricky as the heavy rain had made all the loose leaves slippery and this slowed me down. When I reached Rengsdorf, I walked a delightful section which circles around the town. On a steep downhill path to the river, I eventually slipped on the wet leaves and slid on my back down the slope. I was now covered in mud as well as soaking wet on the outside. Leaving the trail at Rengsdorf, I headed for the bus stop at the Kreissparkasse and found I would have only a 15 minute wait for the bus.

There was an ice cream parlour nearby which looked warm and inviting. Realizing my muddy appearance would probably scare off their customers, I resorted to standing out in the rain, licking a cornet. This resulted in odd looks from passing motorists. The 101 bus arrived on time and as I boarded, I walked backwards past the driver, so that he wouldn't notice my back was covered in mud. Twenty minutes later, the bus terminated at Neuwied Bahnhof and I sneaked back into the hotel for a hot shower.  This was followed by a Gulaschsuppe, large steak, bratkartoffeln and copious amounts of local beer at das Alte Brauhaus „Zur Nette“, a pub-restaurant opposite Neuwied Bahnhof. After spending much of the day in the wet and cold, I really wasn't in the mood for a delicate meal with fine wine, so this brewery pub, which was very popular with locals, fitted the requirement perfectly


In the Westerwald

Vineyards in Hammerstein

View upstream to Leutesdorf

Leutesdorf Bahnhof and Andernach

Across the farm fields to Wollendorf

River Wied at Altwied

In the Westerwald

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