Most of the castles were built between the 12th century and the early 14th century. Destroyed in battles, rebuilt, and occasionally abandoned and run down, many of these castles have been restored to their former glory and now house museums and hotels.
Castles of the Rhine
One of my favorite castles was a toll booth on the Rhine. Tolls were collected from ships sailing on the river for 1,000 years, from 800 AD to 1800 AD. Iron chains were stretched across the river to encourage ships to stop and pay the toll. Pfalzgrafenstein Castle, on Pflaz Island, worked in conjunction with Gutenfels Castle on the other side of the river to manage the chain between the two castles and extract the toll. Those who were not inclined to pay were occasionally treated to a stay in the castle's dungeon until a ransom was delivered.
Pfalzgrafenstein CastleMany of the hills have become vineyards and small tractors travel up and down the steep slopes, tending to the vines.
Vineyards on the Rhine
As we pass the castles, we also pass many types of ships travelling up and down the river, ferries going back and forth across the river, freight-hauling vessels, and other cruise lines enjoying the day.
Treacherous bend in the Rhine
Statue of Lorelei