Sankt Gaor (Rhein Pal.), Germany July 2022

We were ready to take a second boat trip, this time down river. We wanted to go to Boppard (which had been recommended to us by a local) but the boat time tables worked against us and so we settled for St Goar. That was a shame because Sankt Goar proved to be something of a disappointment. Certainly, you don’t want to believe all the hype on the internet about Sankt Goar having the wow factor and being a real up and coming tourist destination, etc. It really doesn’t and it really isn’t.

The best part of our boat trip to Sankt Goar was the journey there and back. It took about an hour heading downstream and an hour and a quarter heading back and this section of the Rhein (between Bacharach ans Sankt Goar) is even more picturesque than that which we experienced two days ago. Moreover, sitting and doing nothing while drifting down the Rhein is actually very pleasant.

On the way we passed the two small picturesque towns of Kaub and Oberwesel, numerous almost obligatory castles for this part of the Rhine (one of which, the Pfalzgrafenstein, is particularly eye catching) and, of course, we passed the famous Lorelei or Loreley Rock.

That’s the small town of Kaub to the left with Castle Katz overlooking it and the far more attractive Castle Pfalzgrafenstein in the foreground to the right. Pfalzgrafenstein was actually built as a toll station in 1327 and served this purpose until 1866

The 132m Lorelei Rock sits on the right bank of the Rhein just up river of Sankt Goar (or, to be more precise, Sanktgoarshausen because Sanktgoarshausen is on the right bank and St Goar sits directly opposite on the left bank of the river). It’s a fairly irrelevant little hill not unlike many others on the banks of the Rhine but, it was made famous in the ballad “Zu Bacharach am Rheine” where a stunning young girl named Lora Ley, after being shunned by her lover, sought revenge and caused the death of numerous men. She was arrested and banished to a convent but, on the way to the convent, she asked to view the Rhine landscape one last time and then jumped to her death from the rock. There is another more modern story about Lora Ley sitting on a rock by the Rhine brushing her hair and distracting passing sailors and so causing them to crash and drown and, as if to support this theory, just to the south of Sanktgoarshausen is a statue of a girl sitting on a rock, brushing her hair. I favour the first story.

A little bit about Sankt Goar. The town is named after a Celtic missionary who settled in the area in the 6th century. He was subsequently made the patron saint of innkeepers. It is a small town but it’s castle, Rheinfels, was once the largest in the area until French revolutionary troops sacked it. Rheinfels was subsequently repaired and is now a tourist hotel. The town’s only other claim to fame is it has the world’s largest free-hanging cuckoo clock suspended outside a souvenir shop near the catholic church. We stood outside the shop at eleven o’clock, video camera at the ready, waiting for the cuckoo to show, but once again we were disappointed.

After walking around Sankt Goar we hopped on to the car ferry and crossed over to Sanktgoarshausen where we found a nice little cafe and sat drinking coffee in the sunshine until it was time to catch the boat to Bacharach. That was very pleasant.

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