Friday, October 30, 2009

The Loreley

Still today, mention of the Romance of the Rhine conjures up a picture of the mighty state rock between Kaub and St. Goarhausen called the Loreley. Downstream the river was squeezed into its narrowest and deepest point; even in the 19th century, reefs and rapids made it extremely dangerous for ships and rafts to pass this point, so a tree bells warning told the crew it was time to pray. Moreover the rock was already famous in the early Middle Ages for its good echo, thought to be ghostly voices.
No wonder a multitude of legend was woven around the rock, the most famous of which is that of siren called Loreley, who bewitches the hearts of sailors with her unearthly beauty and her enchanting voice. The sailors look up at the rock to catch sight of the charming maiden, forgetting for just a moment the dangerous rapids and reefs. Their boat is dashed to pieces and they sank beneath the waves for ever.
This is what happened also to the young Erbgraf (heir to the Count's title) von Rheinphalz, who is lured to his doom in this way. His father orders that the witch on the rock be caught or killed. When soldiers bar the way back into her cave, she calls on her father, the Rhine, to help her.
Huge, foaming waves rise up out of the waters and carry the maiden away. Since then she has never been seen again. But sometimes, when the moon is shining bright, a mysterious singing is to be heard, described by Romanticist poets. Heinrich Heine's Song of Loreley, set to music by Slicher, made the Loreley Rock famous all over the world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rhine River Cruise

This was taken during Columbus Day weekend. This is my 3rd time to ride the cruise but because my mother and sister in-laws visited us for the weekend; we took them to see Rhine River. Because the weather was not cooperating, it was terrible, cold and raining; we just stayed inside and played cards even the kids played cards also so they won't get bored. We still had a good time during our cruise.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Mauseturm and the ruins of Burg Ehrenfels

Here's some info about the castle:
On the Rhine island at Binger Loch the pretty little Mauseturm strikes our eye. It was probably built in the 13th century as a lookout tower for Ehrenfels Castle, which in spite of its towers and outworks had no view of the Rhine to the north. This is where the tower's name came from since mausen means to be on the lookout, the way a cat is on the lookout for a mouse. Legend, however, has another interpretation: the hardhearted Bishop Hatoo is said to have sought refuge in the tower from a horde of mice; in vain, the mice swam after him and devoured him.
The tower and Ehrenfels castle were partly destroyed by Swedish troops in 1636 and then completely ruined by the French in 1689. The Romanticist on the Throne, King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, had the base of the outwork propped up and repaired and then the tower rebuilt in 1855 in Neo-Gothic style. From then on until 1974 the tower served Rhine navigation purposes as a signal station.
The ruin in the midst of the vineyards above the Mausenturm is what is left of Burg Ehrenfels. The castle along with its subsidiary buildings, used to stretch right down to the Rhine, the final building right next to the river being the customs house.
It was built around 1215 as a customs fortress and passes into the possession of the archbishops of Mainz around 1270. Because of its strategic importance, the archbishops of Mainz around 1270.
Because of its strategic importance, the archbishops had it reinforced many times and used it as a hiding place for Cathedral treasures in times of war.
Ehrenfels has remained a ruin since it was destroyed by the French (1689). With its mighty curtain wall facing the hillside flanked by towers, it is one of the most impressive constructions along the Rhine.
This castle is not open to the public due to danger of collapse.