Travel to Baden-Baden

It was checkout time at Im Malerwinkelbut our train didn’t come until 11. We decided to take a break and finally enjoy the outside coutryard of the hotel with a shandy from the honor bar.

Before we left I finally got my answer on how they maintain the steep vineyards. While they do walk up and down looking at the vines they also have this handy contraption.

After our morning shandy we grabbed our bags and walked down to the train station, saying goodbye to Bacharach and the Rhine. Since I waited too long to book our tickets the so the only seats left were first class. Our first long German train ride was going to be in style. We come to find out later that it is only slightly nicer in first class, but very quiet. Not sure if warrants the extra cost. I guess if you have money to burn then all means do so. I think I will continue to book 2nd class in the future – with a seat reservation. Our journey is to be 2.5 hours with a stop in Mainz. For this train trip we weren’t yet familiar with the ins and outs of the train cars (although that wouldn’t matter later).  In Bacharach it was easy since it was a regional train and we simply took and seat in the small first class section on the train (no reserved seat). While waiting for our train in Mainz for the longer leg I was challenged in trying to figure out what edge of the platform to stand on. I searched online but could not figure it out. When the train arrived we discovered the numbers outside the cars and we were pretty far away from ours. Instead of running down the platform and risking missing the train, we chose to hop on where we were and walked through about 10 cars before we got to ours. Warning – this approach will not always work because some trains have engine trains in the middle of the train that you cannot walk through. See example below in the top right corner of the sign.

When we finally arrived in Baden-Baden we look for the bus to take us to the city center area. Again working off vague instructions and bad maps we found the bus and guessed what stop was appropriate to take. By the way, the bus was quite busy the couple times we took it. It didn’t make for easy travel with luggage. The hotel suggested a taxi, maybe?

We dropped off bags at the hotel and freshened up. Of course we were hungry. We didn’t do much research on places to eat and were suckered in by the “lively” looking Bavarian beer garden. We ended up eating there and it ended up being a tourist trap; and we should have known better. The waiters were not really caring if we were there or not and the garden was quiet and boring. And the food was just blah. But if you saw this guy below in a moment of weakness you might eat there on a whim.

tourist trap

my blah meal

After our crappy meal we wandered around town a bit. The tourist office was closed but the hall that housed it, Trinkhalle, had some nice art outside.

There was also some nice sightseeing around town.

At the end of the evening I decided I wanted to get a piece of black forest cake. All the “recommend” bakeries were closed for the day so I settled on an outside cafe where I received another round of bad service. The cake wasn’t terrible though. I am not loving Baden-Baden so far.

The rhine vineyard hike

The Rhine Vineyard Hike

Or what I like to call it, “when Carlos tricked me into hiking 13 kilometers (8 miles), mostly uphill.”
More on that later.
The Rhine Valley is beautiful and known for its romantic boat cruises.
The Rhine river was an important transportation river for trade and whatnot. Seeing the opportunity, many set up castles and villages along the river to “tax” the boats that would pass by. It all seemed a little robber-baron/extortion like; but with out that happening, none of these cute little villages would have been formed around the castles.
Also prominent in the area is vineyards on steep hills. The grapes are used to make the village wines. We decided to dedicate some time to hiking through the vineyards. The forecast for the day was overcast and rainy. We decided to grab our ponchos and go for it.
Preparing for the hike was kind of hard. The maps we saw at the city center weren’t too helpful.

Map example

Most pick a town and do the circular trails from the town. But we wanted to take a trail from town to town and no maps really mapped that out clearly. We decided to google map it out before we left and determine that the next closest village was 4 km away and determined it was a good distance for me. We also dipped into the tourist office before we left to get some not so helpful maps. Finally we stopped at the grocery store for snacks and water. Due to the expected rain I decided to leave my DSLR back at the hotel.

Not really helpful

We had a hard time finding the start of the trail because there was construction going on around the trail head and an odd donkey path sign. We finally found what we were looking for and started up the stone stairs. We ended up going down the path of the trail that is basically part of the town loop to get to where we wanted to go. We could have started left, the slow glide uphill or right, stairs after stairs after stairs. We started right of course. Not on purpose, at least on my part. At least it gave us a great view of the town from this lookout point.

4 km into the hike, close to the next town, we realized the town we were heading to was not on the train route. If we walked to this town then we would have no idea how we would get back to ours (other than walking back the way we came).

At some point we decided the only way was forward to the next town on the train route – 8 more km away.  All while following the handy red wine trail signs and random chicken signs. I also thought I heard dub-step off in the distance. Skip the hike for mid day dance party? I never did really determine where the music was coming from so we just moved on.

It was lonely since not many others took this trail. And we did have some rain. But the light mist was welcome since it wasn’t enough to make things muddy and kept us cool along the way.

The views were beautiful

Pretty steep vineyards. I later find out they have a machine to help with this.

At some point my bladder wasn’t waiting anymore. There wasn’t much area to go “in the bushes” but no one else is around so I went to some brush. The only time we saw some serious hikers (only 3) it was only minutes after I had my bathroom visit. Whew close call!

So basically the up and down and pure distance of it all was more challenging than I was prepared for. I took many breaks and pushed through but times like in the picture below made me upset that we had to keep going down the mountain just to climb back up. The views were really amazing and I am sure I would have been singing a different tune if I was in better shape.

See that road across the way, we just went down it

Just when I thought I could go no more we reached the road that went down into the town Oberwesel. We walked by a couple where the woman was having a meltdown. Did her husband take her on a 12 km hike and her legs gave out? Who knows, I am just surprised it wasn’t me. I am known to have a meltdown or two when I am exhausted. This time I was good, tired, but good. We almost got tricked to hiking longer when we saw trail signs pointing uphill toward a castle. I send my husband to check it out and indeed it was trickery, the trail took us away from the town we were heading.

When in town we wandered around a bit aimlessly looking for a place to get a meal since we couldn’t handle any more walking around for a little while. After some back and forth we settled on a nice meal at the highly rated Historische Weinwirtschaft. It is located in the oldest half-timbered house of Oberwesel. The decor was very old world romantic. I definitely recommend it for a nicer meal if you are in town.

Fried blood sausage and apple slice on mashed potatoes

Pork loin in chanterelle cream sauce and spaetzle

After our meal (and wine) we stumbled back to the train station and took the short train ride back to our town. One would have thought we would just go back to the room and call it a day but it was still totally daylight out. The long days of Germany (5 am sun rise and 10 pm sunset) definitely threw us off. We decided to have a beer at the local Brauhaus.  Kleines Brauhaus is a beer garden in an old carousel. We had just enough energy to try one or two of their beers then go back to the hotel to pass out.

Creepy mannequins in the lobby of the attached theater. You had to pass by these guys for the bathroom.

Links of Interest

In German all the wine routes:
RheinBurgenWeg Touren

The hike we ended up doing:–bacharach-nord-sued-/2807779/

Overview of the region