Camping South of Lorch, we did the rest from this long-distant path. The most ‘romantic’ one – following the gorge the Rhine has dug in the high terrain that now form Eiffel, Hunsruck, Westerwald and Taunus. An area of castles, slopes that are both wooded or planted with vineyards – though the steepest have been abandoned because viniculture did become too expensive to make a living.
An area, too, that has known it’s hard times bwteen the wars – especially the area between Kaub and Lorch, know as “Freistaat Flashenhals” – a narrow no-one’s land between the American and French zones in the inter-bellum Germany. Completely isolated form the rest of Germany, where smuggling became a necessity to survive. Until the French marched in, against all treaties, and had to move out after dispute on this occupation; no wonder that the people in this area are not fond of French – expect when tourists.
There are two different landscapes in this whole walk
The first tracks – leadingNorth to South, run almost above the Rhine, at times more, but within a hundred meters sideways; you always have a view on the river, if the woods and vineyards open for a while; Narrow, your view either blocked by the opposite bank, rising up and give way to high grounds, and narrow gullies leading small streams into the river; villages on the open top, and small towns squeezed between the river and the slopes. And fortress-like castles to control the area.
The second part, mainly running West to East, run on lower altitudes, and a greater distance from the river. It’s a very open landscape, with large areas of grape and other fruit; On the verges of the Rheingauer mountains, the river glances in the distance, a kilometer or more way, and hundres of meters wide. Where in the gorge islands are scarce, side streams meander along long-stretched islands. This is teh area of large agglomerations – Bingen, Wiesbaden and Mainz, with Frankfurt’s office buildings clearly in sight.
Of course, there is much to see. And as usual, the tracks are available in Garmin, general and CVS formats; the page offers a link to a download page.