1980. A while ago. We were living in Paris then. Decided to go Germany and visit friends. Took the train to… Mainz, maybe… or Koblenz? Honestly I can’t remember. From there we traveled by boat on the Rhine. To the North. Stayed in cute little towns along the river. I would say it is probably one the best ways to discover that part of Germany for the first time.
Many a castle dotted the way. Schloß so-and-so, “destroyed by the French in 16-something”. Castle X, “destroyed by the French in” …. History in Europe is unavoidable… and also short of memory. One tends to remember only WWII (on the French side), when the fact is, Louis the 14th ravaged the Rhine and the Palatinat in the 1600’s. Obviously the string of castles along the Rhine were mostly destroyed… Then rebuilt! Until the next war.
The Rhine was high in the summer of 1980. Floods are common in Europe. In Germany, in France, on the Danube too… River cities are somewhat accustomed to it.
A few feet higher, that house and church would have been in trouble.
Vineyards everywhere on the banks of the Rhine. Delicious wine in the cellars. See how the vines are planted? Vertically. Possibly for the rain to slide down the hill?
A flooded Schloß, isolated in the river. That particular castle must have been very difficult to take.
An older view of the castle. Not mine. Came from a guide. See how the waters have receded? And the brown colour, which was probably the original. Look at the vineyards climbing the hills. People have been making wine there for 1500 years. Plus change.
Back to 1980. From our little boat on the river. It’s called the Pfalzgrafenstein castle. Started as a toll in the 1300’s. One had to pay taxes to transport merchandise on the river. Though most Rhine castles were destroyed at one time or another, the “Pfalz” (try pronouncing that without stuttering) was never conquered or destroyed.
“Haben sie einer zimmer frei? Mit früstuck, bitte?” “Ja, ja! Zwei personen?”. Do you have a room with breakfast?
The Fuchs (Pronounce Fux = Fox) “garni” was a charming “bed and breakfast” in Andernach, a cute little town along the Rhine. The little fox seems to have read La Fontaine, climbing to eat some grapes…
The “garni” was complete with a wrought iron door. Früstuck awaited us the next morning with hard-boiled eggs covered with a knit wool cap to keep them warm.
Then, after breakfast, you can walk the old streets. Not sure whether this was Andernach or Bacharach. In the second half of the 80’s I traveled extensively in Germany (and Europe) for international projects. I was always shocked at how “modern” big German cities looked. Most were destroyed by Allied bombings in WWII. Not the little towns. This house was built in 1368… Still there… despite our 2,000 years of European civil war.
Love the details on the façade.
“AltdeutscheWeinstube”, under the white swan, it would mean old German Wine Tavern. At the corner of Liebfrauenplatz, which if I’m not mistaken, would mean the “Loved woman square”?
To end this post, old Gutenberg (c.1400-1468), in Mainz. He basically made our Western civilization possible, when he invented the modern print. No massive book publishing without him. Without books, Descartes, Spinoza, Voltaire, Diderot, Locke, Hegel et al. would not have received the massive diffusion they did and their ideas would not have reached millions.
I hope my German friends will forgive my faulty German. Thank you all for flying Equinoxio Time-Space shuttle. Stay safe. It ain’t over yet. 🙏🏻😷