I think we stopped there to position ourselves for an afternoon cruising the Rhine Gorge with its spectacular castles and walls set in spectacular scenery, often with vineyards running vertically down to the water or more rarely, along painstakingly walled terraces.
The town itself is only a few blocks deep and comprises lots of picturesque half timbered houses, lots of hotels and lots of tiny, charming bars and restaurants. It is famed for its coffee in which brandy is set alight on sugar cubes, then drowned in coffee and topped with whipped cream and chocolate. You sure don’t feel the cold after that.
Then the gorge. I will not try to remember which castle was which, let alone the times they were built or destroyed. But it was all like floating through a fairytale scene. Some examples.
That evening we were invited to Schloss Namedy to dine at the home of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern. They were a branch of the same family as the Kings of Prussia. The Princess has a castle to keep running and in the best tradition of the bossy lady of Country House Rescue, she has discovered that using the castle for weddings, meetings, musical soirees and APT cruise dinners is a way to get much needed funds. So that is what she does. Apparently she has contracted for 80+ of these dinners for APT this year, poor lady. However, she very graciously greeted us, allowed us to roam around some of her home and fed us dinner in the hall of mirrors, along with some very good piano interludes from what she terms “the upcoming young masters”, pianists of outstanding talent who are rising in their field. Nick and I led the procession into dinner (mainly because we happened to be closest to the door) but it did allow us to choose the best table.
Courtyard of the schloss