The River Rhine Germany
Beginning from Switzerland, flowing by France, Germany and through the Netherlands and spewing into the North Sea. The Rhine river is the second largest river in western Europe and has a lot to offer. 10 adventures and facts about the Rhine river, Germany.
1. Are we there yet? We still have 230 Rheinkilometer to go!
“Are we there yet?” Just in case you are traveling on the Rhine river by ship, you will always know how long you still have to your destination due to the Rheinkilometer stones. Rheinkilometer are stones placed along the Rhine shoreline, starting at “0” near Lake Constance in Germany and ending in the Netherlands. The stones are also great places to get some shade, make pictures and tilt your bikes on during your travels; or simply for you dogs to relieve themselves. For the non-metric system folks reading: 1 kilometer is equal to 0.62 miles. Oh yeah, the River Rhine is 1.232km in length.
2. The River Rhine, Germany and the Holy Roman empire
The Rhine river was at one time, the most northernly border of the Roman Empire. Later, it served as the North-western border. The now known, city of Cologne, Germany lies directly on that original border and the city development of Cologne has been a spectator of several epochs. The Roman Cologne is known to go back as far as 19 BC, which lasted until approx. 455 AD.. Need evidence? Go and visit the Roman-Germanic Museum in Cologne.
3. The Rhine, the river to riches
Don’t believe me? Then the castles and fortifications along this particularly important trade route will be able to persuade you. All you had to do was create a fortification along the Rhine and attain toll fees from the trade ships passing by. Unfortunately, this form of income is not possible nowadays. The neatest evidence for this is the Burg Pfalzgrafenstein bei Kaub am Rhein. A Burg in the middle of the Rhine river. (Fact: They used to use catapults to defend themselves!)
4. The song “Die Wacht am Rhein” almost became the German national anthem
The song “The Watch on the Rhine” was created in 1840, used during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and continued to be popular throughout the first world war. This was originally a poem, which was written by Max Schneckenberger as war and defense song of the Rhine. The River Rhine was subject to several bouts throughout history. Mr. Schneckenberger practically lived for free thereon after on the costs of the government due to his music productions.
5. The Reichenau island
This island is officially a Theocracy, which is a territory governed by a religious group. The Benedictine Abbey of Reichenau was founded in 724 on this island. Shortly thereafter, the monastery gained importance in the Carolingian dynasty (800-888). In high-English: the monastery is darn old: like 10th century old. The timber-framed buildings on the island are among the oldest in southern Germany. Other than that, the Ottonian (Byzantine/ Late Antique) murals in the monastery St. Georg are quite rare. Lastly, the fish and wine festival in July or August of each year is a great place to enjoy well, fish, wine and precisely cut long red radishes sprinkled with salt. More about the Reichenau.
6. The last bridge: The Remagen miracle
The Rhine river was a great natural border to keep out troops during World War II. German troops were ordered to dispose of all Rhine bridges to make sure this natural border kept out the alliant troops from the West. The German troops tried to demolish the Ludendorff bridge in Remagen twice, but were unsuccessful due to its’ steel construction. The capture of the last bridge over the Rhine on March 7th, 1945 was commented by the then General Eisenhower: “the bridge is worth its weight in gold.” Yup, that important. More infos about The Ludendorff bridge in Remagen.
7. The “Lorelei”, a cliff along the River Rhine and why it’s so dangerous
A. This is the most narrow part of the whole Rhine river B. There is a very strong/ irregular current at this part of the gorge C. There is supposedly a feminine water spirit that sings atop this rock, distracting ship-men from their duties. There have been an uncountable amount of ship accidents at this part of the Rhine river, especially in times of higher and lower water levels. The German poet who created the Lorelei poem, which is well-known to this day, has a marble fountain monument on East 161st Street and Melrose in the Bronx, New York. His name was Heinrich Heine.
8. The Rhine river is a great place to go camping (without paying a cent)
As an avid Europe traveler, you will learn that Hotels are good, Hostels are better and free camping is the best. Although “wild-camping” is generally forbidden, it still is the neatest and cheapest way to go, if you know your way around. The River Rhine offers unlimited opportunities for wild campers and here are a few tips: The islands on the original Rhine river are the best in the Spring and Fall time (Mosquito danger). And if you want to camp, set up camp where no one notices, don’t get caught making your meals and have fun.
9. The Upper Rhine and its’ modern industry and power plants
The Grand Canal of Alsace. France received the right to use and re-use the Rhine river and its’ waters through the Treaty of Versailles. Ever since, France has built a 50 kilometer long canal on the upper Rhine, which enabled France to build four hydroelectric power plants along this specific stretch. The Rhine even has enough water to feed the cooling system of the highly old and disputed Fessenheim nuclear power plant. Is the canal as pretty as the Taubergießen? Not a chance. But the Germans are allowed to use half of the hydroelectric energy produced by the four plants that still exist until today. And there are great bike routes along the canal to spend your weekends on.
10. The nature prereserve Taubergießen
The part of the Rhine river between Freiburg and Rheinhausen can either be specified as one of the greatest places to go canoeing in Europe or as a Mosquito-bite wellness area. Although the latter of the two isn’t the best feeling, just pack your darn bug spray during the summer months. The Germany-side of the Rhine river consists of several canals and waterways which are great for sightseeing. The low-hanging marsh trees, dragonflies landing on your sunglasses and fish gently paddling along with you are genuinely relaxing.