I really have to say “Danke schön” for the fabulous breakfasts here, they really get one energized for the day’s activities. Today we hike up the hill to the castle….about 500 meters straight up a trail (stairs) cut into the rock. Good to warm up by since the temperature this morning is about 4C! And the sun is still behind the hills. The castle is well preserved and is a busy youth hostel. We poke around taking photos from high up on the hill overlooking the river. There is also some remains of a gothic chapel on the trail back down to the town.
We hop on our bikes and enjoy another beautiful ride….this time the path is beside the river and we are not on the road! Here and there we pass through sections of land that are divided into small garden plots…flowers, fruit and nut trees and veggies, often with a very small cottage and outdoor seating. Once in awhile a train whizzes past, as we are beside the tracks, but they are pretty quiet since they are all electric.
We thought might try cycling a tributary of the Rhine, the Nahe River, we had been reading about online (bicyclegermany.com) which runs west from Bingen and is supposedly well signed and which we picked up a trail map for from the Tourist Info Office in Bacharach. We easily find the signs and are riding along the Nahe River into a very wide and flat valley. The first few kms are quite lovely and we stop for a picnic in a nature reserve where we see a small fox spying on us…he must have picked up our scent as there is a good breeze coming from behind us today.
We carry on to the town of Bad Kreuznach which we discover is actually quite a large city. “As early as the 5th century BC, there is conclusive evidence that there was a Celtic settlement within what are now Bad Kreuznach’s town limits. About 58 BC, the area became part of the Roman Empire and a Roman vicus came into being here, named, according to legend, after a Celt called Cruciniac, who transferred a part of his land to the Romans for them to build a supply station between Mainz (Mogontiacum) and Trier (Augusta Treverorum). Kreuznach lay on the Roman road that led from Metz (Divodurum) by way of the Saar crossing near Dillingen-Pachten (Contiomagus) and the Vicus Wareswald near Tholey to Bingen am Rhein (Bingium). About AD 250, an enormous (measuring 81 × 71 m), luxurious palace, unique to the lands north of the Alps, was built, in the style of a peristyle villa. It contained 50 rooms on the ground floor alone. ” (Wikipedia) The word “Bad”, literally translated means, bath or when attached to the name of a town means it has been granted the title of a Spa town.