We board the MS Godesburg with our e-bikes in Eltville. The KD event ship leaves Mainz at 8.30 am every day. The first stop is at 8.45 am in Wiesbaden-Biebrich. We roll on deck at 9.15 am, stow our bikes and fortify ourselves with a hearty breakfast. After all, we have quite a few kilometres of road ahead of us. We manage the first part of the tour without any strain, thanks to the MS Godesburg. Our first destination is Rüdesheim. Now things get serious. The (wine) mountain is calling, and we call back. The mag-nificent Rheingau, the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes our small travel group with a bright blue sky. Ahead of us are a good 22 kilometres back to Eltville. A difference in altitude of 288 meters has to be overcome. We rely on our fitness and the power of our e-bikes for the way to the top.
We’re going green for the hours ahead. Above all with this green sign “R3a”, which appears at strategically important points on the route and shows us the way. Don’t let it confuse you. Sometimes the signs only say “R3”. That’s okay, the “a” hasn’t fallen off or fallen victim to vine lice. “R3” is what the route used to be called.
If you don’t have an e-bike of your own, you can easily rent one. For example from Ralf Nägler at “Radkranz” in Rüdesheim. We recommend booking in advance, then an excellently maintained bike with a fully charged battery will await the cyclist at the desired time. Anyone out of practice with these bikes should familiarise themselves with their new temporary companion a little before they set off.
The route planner wasn’t exaggerating about the “challenging ascents” – which becomes clear on the climb up to St. Hildegard Abbey above Eibingen near Rüdesheim. The abbey is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley.
We pedal without panting. Where others have sparks flying off their bike chains, our e-bikes purr like kittens. This comparison is admittedly somewhat misleading, because this species on two wheels weighs a good 30 kilograms. Either way, your breath stops as soon as you reach the Benedictine convent. The view over the vines of the convent vineyard is magnificent. At the very bottom of the valley, the Rhine snakes along its route, and it almost seems as though you could push the ships along with a gentle finger. Romantic painters naturally fell in love with this view. We feel rather blessed too. After a short rest we wind through the vineyards again and head for the traditional winery Schloss Johannisberg. The Riesling grown here and the Rheingau treasure made of stone are said to have already delighted Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Heinrich Heine.
We tear ourselves away from the sublime view, remain faithful to the Riesling and set off towards Oestrich-Winkel to Schloss Vollrads. This claims to be the oldest winery in Germa-ny. In any case, Schloss Vollrads has a wine bill from the year 1211 in its files. It’s high time for us to take a little breather. In the coach house, which has been converted into a wine shop, we order a delicious sparkling grape juice. We enjoy the non-alcoholic alternative to sparkling wine under a parasol in the castle courtyard. It would be easy to stay here for a while, but “The Name of the Rose” awaits.
More precisely, we are drawn to one of the most important art monuments in Europe, the Eberbach Monastery. Famous for its vine-yards, the monastery, a former Cistercian abbey, and its gardens and vineyards are part of the Rhine-Taunus natural preserve. In the winter of 1985/86, the Middle Ages came back to life within the monastery walls. With a lot of effort almost all interior shots in the movie “The Name of the Rose” were shot in Eberbach Monastery. The film was based on the global bestseller of the same name by Umberto Eco. Attentive fans of the series “Game of Thrones” will also have recognised the monastery in a trailer for the start of the fifth season. A visit to the abbey, whose architecture shows Romanesque and Gothic influences, is not only worthwhile for filmmakers. We also recom-mend a walk along the historic monastery trail or a short rest on the garden terrace.
After Eberbach Monastery, the end of our tour is within reach. Well, it’s still seven kilometres downhill to Eltville, 150 metres below. A little tired, but completely happy, we arrive back in Eltville. The “(sparkling) wine and rose town” is situated idyllically between forest, vineyards and the Rhine. The historic old town with its picturesque half-timbered houses is worth a short stroll. If you would like to return to Wiesbaden or Mainz after the cycle tour through the vineyards, you can board the MS Godesburg again at 6.25 pm. We relax with a cool drink on the terrace of the restaurant “511” in the immediate vicinity of the KD jetty and feel the wind on our skin for a while. By the way: if you want to know more about the electoral castle in Eltville from the 14th century, you don’t even have to sit on an e-bike. Just take a look at pages 46 to 50 of this issue of “RheinZeit”.
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