“How often have I greeted the waters of the Rhine with amazement. When, returning from my dealings, I again drew closer to them! It always seemed great to me and quickened my mind and feelings.” A quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
A day to savor the surrounding beauty, I sit at a table in front of the window looking out and below. Over the Rhine River are miles of snowy vineyards that reach up to the top of the hills. Between a vineyard, and closer to the river, is a spot where the castle, Ehrenfels, sits among trees and bushes looking out majestically over the Rhine.
The former lookout tower, and former customs house, and more recently serving as a navigation signal station, the Mauseturm rests on an island in the Rhine and near the castle.
Across the Rhine, cars travel between the many towns along the river, and long trains carry passengers and freight.
Below where I’m staying, DieJugendgastehauser, a family owned hostel and restaurant opened to the guests, are quaint little houses and small gardens. This can be seen all over Europe. People rent or own these gardens and spend summer months carrying for the garden. Above those houses, and right below the hostel are larger, older houses that have smoke coming out of the chimneys, keeping the houses warm.
Also on this side of the river, other trains stop at the station, and the same one where I disembarked. You can see, not only the train station, but the boat slips that wait and ferry people over to the other town, Rudesheim.
To get from where I’m staying to the town of Bingen requires walking down a hill, over a bridge, through a tunnel and on to the street of the town. On this side of town, there are mostly houses and some churches and a castle ruin.
It is just plain awesome to experience something so different and out of my own ordinariness, that I don’t feel I’m wasting time just sitting and watching the day.
Planes occasionally pass overhead, and there are many birds flying low over the river and some small ones nearby where I sit.
It’s cold out, and many tourist places are closed, but that doesn’t keep me from what I want to do. You can ‘tourist yourself tired’ and still cannot say you experienced it.
So my aim is to get a ‘feel’ of the place, by walking through the town everyday, and when the museum is open I’ll go there, and also over to Rudesheim by ferry.
I cannot look at this place without imagining what it must have been like in the 1300-1400s on the same river, with the same purpose: to ship goods.
One story about the Mauseturm goes this way: It was built in the 13th century as a lookout tower, and the name came from mausen, which means to be on the lookout, the way a cat is on the lookout for a mouse. But another legend interprets the lookout from the hardhearted Bishop Hatto who is said to have sought refuge in the tower from a horde of mice; in vain, the mice swam after him and devoured him.
Before the mice got him, I wonder if he savored the beauty that surrounded him?