G3VGR RHEINSTEIG     Sayn - Bendorf      

My wife had arranged to visit Warsaw over Easter 2009 with her Polish sister-in-law. Instead of staying at home, I decided to take advantage of the long weekend to complete more stages of the Rheinsteig. Planning for the trip started in December 2008 with the intention to hike 86Km from Sayn to Sankt Goarshausen over 4 days, using mainly train connections between the stages.

As I would be travelling to the Rheinsteig from the UK instead of Holland, going by car would take just too much time. I bought a cheap return flight from Stansted to Köln-Bonn Airport with GermanWings. I was able to purchase a return train ticket from the airport to Koblenz and also booked hotels for 5 nights, all via the Internet. Although I live in South-West Essex, Stansted Airport is difficult to get to via public transport and a taxi would cost around £30 each way. To resolve this problem, I made an early booking at a discounted rate for the Long Term Car Park at Stansted.

On Good Friday morning, Stansted Airport was very busy, but the flight departed on time. Fortunately, I'd paid extra for a reserved seat and was able to avoid the seating free-for-all that the budget airlines nowadays promote. I was travelling light, with just a daypack containing 2 days change of clothes as hand luggage, so avoided delays and complications at both airports. Arriving at Köln-Bonn Airport after a comfortable, short flight, I caught the 10:50 train to Vallender, then the #8 bus to Sayn, arriving around 12:45.

As it was only early afternoon, I decided to hike a few kilometres to Bendorf to reduce the following day's distance. I didn't want to tire myself too much the next day, because Sunday's hike, involving scrambling through the Rupertsklamm, appeared to be demanding. The weather in Sayn was like summer, with temperatures in the high 20's, so I changed into shorts and regretted the extra weight of the heavier clothing now unexpectedly in my backpack.

There were a few Nordic Walkers about. I can't treat this pastime seriously and often wonder why it's necessary to walk along flat pavements with walking poles. It's obviously a triumph of marketing by ski pole vendors to generate year-round revenue. The oddest sight is of those who either have no poles, or have misplaced them, walking along making the arm motions one would use with poles. Although I find my Lekis to be useful in the Alps when going downhill with a heavy pack, I never bothered bringing them with me on the Rheinsteig. Also, I never wore my heavy Meindl leather boots on the trail. Some sections are quite rough, so it's not advisable to wear trainers. I walked either in my Merrell Moab Mid XCR lightweight boots or old Lafuma approach shoes, both of which have tough Vibram soles and were fine for all conditions.

From Sayn Palace, I followed the trail up to the castle ruins above the palace, which provided good views over the area, then continued with various steep ascents and descents through the forests of the Saynbachtal. Along the trail I saw a replica of a Roman WatchTower. I had previously seen another near Rengsdorf. The Rheinsteig follows some of the Limes Germanicus. Possibly the Romans erected these watchtowers to defend the Empire's road network against early Dutch caravanners. Exiting the forest, I stumbled across a Waldgasthof and was able to cool off with a HefeWeizen. Heading towards the Bendorf access point, there were fine views across to the Eifel, but no sign of the Rhein. As I was leaving the trail, a sign showed Vallendar to be only another 6.4 Km. It was tempting to go on, but as I was hot and also tired from an early start, I headed down into Bendorf to find an ice cream instead, before catching the trusty #8 bus back to Sayn.

I spent the night at Waldgasthof-Friedrichsberg in Sayn. This hotel is at the edge of the forest and it was still warm enough to enjoy dinner on the terrace, listening to the evening birdsong.

Sayn Palace overlooked by castle ruins

Spring display in Sayn Kürpark
View over Sayn from castle ruins
Springtime in the woods

Replica Römertürm

Forest near Bendorf

[Previous Stage]      [Home]      [Next Stage]