Last year, I did a feature about my return to Mainz where I had not returned since spending a 4 day layover when I was a summer flight attendant at university. During that trip, I took a cruise along the Rhine and spent the day exploring Bacharach, a beautiful walled, medieval town.
Bacharach was spared the Allied bombing during World War II so some buildings that are over 1000 years old have been preserved. In fact, while the name Bacharach was first recorded in a 9th century AD document, settlement in this region dates back to before the Romans who originally planted the beautiful vineyards along the Rhine.
Two weeks ago, while I was in Frankfurt for IMEX 2013, I took the train and went back to Bacharach. I had hoped to re-trace my original journey but it was rainy and much too cool for a cruise.
Brief Stop In Oberwesel
I didn’t realize it but the conductor approached to collect tickets just as we pulled into the station. This distracted me so much that I missed my stop. I got off at Oberwesel, the next stop. It was a blessing in disguise and one of those divine appointments.
Hans Walter Missbichler from Austria was the only person who got off when I did at Oberwesel. He told me that the train to go back to Bacharach would not be arriving for another hour. As my time was limited, he called a taxi for me and we conversed while I waited.
Getting Back to Bacharach
I shared with him the fact that I was returning to the town that I had visited when I was at university and I was gathering information and taking photos of some of the historical buildings for a blog feature. He shared the fact that he is also a writer and that his main profession is restoring historical buildings. He had, in fact restored Posthof Bacharach, the original post office at Bacharach with buildings dating back to 1579. It was a holiday in Germany (Pentecost) so he offered to accompany me back to Bacharach and volunteered to be my tour guide. After a short taxi ride, we were there.
Behind the Scenes in Bacharach
We spent the whole afternoon and part of the evening exploring the town. He took me behind the scenes to many places I had missed on my first visit and that visitors don’t usually see in Bacharach.
These building were once the stables at Rathaus, the old city hall. The wine press dates back to 1893.
We climbed up many stairs…yes I was out of breath …..and snapped this and other gorgeous views of the Rhine.
As we stood overlooking Bacharach, I snapped a photo of Posthof Bacharach, the original post office, below, and Walter described the 2 year UNESCO funded project through which he restored this landmark with buildings dating back to 1579.
Natural building materials like clay and wood were used in the restoration which followed the original plans. Care was taken to optimize the level of air conditioning and heat to preserve the original material from decay.
On the way back down the hill, we explored the ruins of Wernerkappelle that was built in 1289 and took in some beautiful views of the vineyards.
We explored some of the side streets in Bacharach and I welcomed the opportunity to get some great photos of some of the oldest buildings in Bacharach.
The photo on the right is behind the scenes at Alt Haus. This red and white building is one of the oldest in Bacharach, dating back to 1368.
We then stopped in at Posthof Restaurant where I was introduced to the owner and I had an opportunity to get a close-up view and take photos.
The external structure has been preserved. The wooden spiral staircase is one of the oldest in Germany.
The restaurant, which used to be a stable, was restored through a meticulous process. The stones were numbered and removed. Roman style heating was installed in the floor. They were then replaced in the correct sequence.
Exploring the City Wall
After a snack, we explored we headed to the city wall. It was fun to explore the wall. Construction began in and 1344 and was completed by 1400.
The arches under the city wall were once they only access points to the city from the Rhine. That is why the city was so secure that it was protected from invaders for hundreds of years.
Hotel, houses and restaurants are built right into the wall
Before the railroad came through, this would have been a peaceful vantage point from which to relax in the evening and enjoy the view of the Rhine.
When it was time for my “guide” to catch his train back to Oberwesel, he showed me where the train station was located. Since my train was to leave for an hour I took the opportunity to dine at a Weinstube for the first time. Portions were generous and if this was a light supper, I don’t know what a heavy meal would look like. When I left to catch my train, the owner had her grandaughter who spoke English chase after me. They packaged my substantial leftovers for a snack on the way back to Frankfurt.
If you’ve ever longed to return to a place from your youth, now that I have done it a couple of times, I can tell you it’s worth it. It took many years but I’m glad that I had a chance to go back to Bacharach and explore the many sites that I had missed during my first visit as a young flight attendant on layover.
My company offers team building retreats in many of the destinations in the 23 countries that I have had the privilege of exploring.