After a couple of weeks in Italy and Switzerland it was nice to hear, "prepare to veer right and follow the B1 for 15 miles" rather than, "you are not in a digitized area."  The instant we crossed the border into Germany the navigation system was back online.
Bacharach is located on the Rhine River.  About 50 miles of this stretch is sprinkled with small villages.  Bridges are few.  Castles are plentiful.

Robber Barons ruled this river from the 12th to 17th century.  During this time Germany was divided into many seperately ruled goverments. 

Our room was on the thrid floor of this tower.  The castle can be seen on the hill in the back.  The tower was originally a crane tower, used to load ships and barges.  Then the river's edge was the train track. 
Here's the tower from inside the village walls.  I guess the river either moved away from the village or the outer area was filled.  We were told our room, the tower like most of the town, was one thousand years old. 

As you can see the roads are fairly narrow.

Between the center of the road and the so called side walk you can see a 30 inch strip of  bricks layed down in straight lines.  It's on both sides. It is the result of a road widening that was ordered by Nepolean. 

Ahead is the north entrance tower to the village.

I'm standing in the park between the river and our hotel, the old crane tower.  We were surprised to see and Easter Egg hunt in progress.  From previous travels we know not to expect similar American customs when it comes to holidays.  So we were surprised to see an Easter Egg hunt in progress.
That day we rode this tour boat, one of many, down the river through the narrows of the Laura Lie past several castles and villages to the town of ............   You can see the vineyards that line the sunny side of the shore.

The cargo ship (below) is a bit larger than they were in the old days.  The crew lives aboard the ship and the captain usually has his whole family aboard.

It's hard to see here but on the rear of the ship below the wheel house but still above the deck is the captain's family residence.  Often on top of the residence is the family car.  You can see an RV park on shore behind the ship.  I wondered if these ships run through the night or anchor on the currents somehow.  Then I noticed small short canals that branched off the the main channel where ships could pull out of the current and anchor.  Like truckstops I guess.
The fade of the times was to stake out an area of land, build a castle, defend your peice of the river, and charge a toll to all the merchant ships that passed by.  Soon there were as many as 20 tolls within a 40 mile stretch of the river.

I understand that one technique was to string a very large chain across the river. Try passing without paying the toll, and the chain was raise, thus cutting into the hull or blocking the passage.

Here's a view from one of the castles.  We learned far to much to write about here without putting you to sleep so I'll stick to the defense of the castle.  

So how did they keep an army of  intruders from crossing the river?

We saw a variety of castles,  Some modern, some remodeled traditionally.  The castle in Bacharach is a youth hostel, while others are private residences.  This one is a museam.  Some were vulnerable to attacks, and changed hands often, others were strategically placed and built for superior defense.  One Castle we visted was never conquered by an invading army. 
As I remember, this castle is the only one that is in it's original state of ruin.  In modern times it has not been remodeled or torn down.  It stands as a muesem of historical originallity.  Now it did suffer cannon bombardment, burning, and several other historical attacks.  It was also repaired and remodeled.

The boys like a feature of the backside.  To trick invaders to their death a maze of small underground tunnels was created.

An opening or two were accessible from outside the castle, but appeared as a secret and hidden entry.  The invading army would rush into the small, pitch black maze of tunnels.  Then gun power would be exploded colapsing the tunnels.  We were instructed to not veer of the documented path as we crouched and crawled through a portion of the maze. 
Time to enjoy the cruise back up the Rhine to Bacharach.

Currently a resturant, this building is also about one thousand years old.  It has many features that are not level or plumb.  I can't imagine buying a building were the real estate listing say's "Year Built: 1124."  What would I inspect for?  Absestos?  Lead based paint?

Our hotel room had modern plumbing, but a fellow we met in town explaind the the city wter pipes were very old and of low pressure.  This explained why we had no water when some water was being used on the floors below.  The shower would go from buring hot to no water to cold to hot several times a minute.  Showers were impossible.  We had read to expect this from time to time.

One final picture

I just thought this was a neat little dump cart.  It's used on the hillsides in this vineyard.  One man can ride next to the small engine to control it.

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