Cycling along the river Rhine - Part 3 - A visit to Lorelei and a bird’s eye view of the Rhine valley
After a short while, I reached the village of Sankt Goar. Close to the village was a jetty. A ferry boat was making trips to and fro across the river banks. Vehicles were allowed aboard the ferry. For a nominal price of €2.50, I reached the opposite bank. This village is well-known for the legend of Lorelei. There is a stone hill located close to the village. According to the legend, a beautiful damsel named Lorelei, on being betrayed by her lover, ended her life by jumping off the hill into the waters of the river below. Since then, people have reported seeing her atop the hill; singing by herself. Because of her enchanting beauty and her captivating voice, many a sailors have been reportedly distracted and are said to have lost their lives in accidents. Hence, the hill goes by the name of Lorelei hill.
According to Wikipedia, this legend is actually a modern myth resulting from ballads written in the 19thcentury. Whatever the source of the story, this place is popular with the tourists because of the folklore. A statue of Lorelei has been erected on one of the islands in the river. There are special tours arranged from the surrounding cities to Lorelei. In short, the people who gave rise to the legend of Lorelei have successfully managed to look after the financial sustenance of the people from the village of Lorelei. Anyways, so be it.
After taking a glimpse of the fabled Lorelei, I moved on. By this time there was a fire raging in my belly. I saw a beer garden at close call. After satiating my hunger and thirst, I moved on. Suddenly, I saw a notice ahead which said ‘Cycle route ahead closed. Use the diversion instead’. There was a diversion indicated since the road ahead was closed for repairs. I started to cycle along the indicated route. After a while the route started moving uphill. Until then, I had bicycled on a relatively flat terrain so the climb was completely unexpected. Cycling up a slope on a full tummy made me a little annoyed. Thinking of how far and how long I may have to cycle uphill, I started grinding the bicycle wheels uphill. The gravelly road ride on a dirt track exhausted me. Finally, the slope evened out and I stopped to rest for a while …and what do I see? I had reached a vineyard on the top of the hill. The Rhine turning around a bend was beautiful to behold. The far-off castles could be seen in a single glance. As the sun moved towards the west, the landscape appeared even more beautiful in the angled rays. The gentle breeze and a prevailing peace afforded a very different experience. A diversion had led me to this beautiful place. Such moments of unexpected pleasure in your journey stay with you forever. I captured the scene in my mind and the view in my camera, and moved on.
|The view from the diversion|
Finally, I reached Rüdelsheim, a city located on the bank opposite to that of Bingen. Using a ferry, I crossed the river over to Bingen. By this time, it was 8 o’clock in the evening and sunset was fast approaching. I had successfully managed to complete my cycle tour before sunset. Luckily, the intercity train for the return journey was sparsely crowded. So, with my bicycle on-board, I reached Mannheim in an hour. From there, it was the regular route back home. I had cycled a total of 65 kilometres that day and my legs had started to complain. However, I now had the satisfaction of having had an unforgettable experience.