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Lorelei still doesn’t know what it might bode

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site stretches from Koblenz to Bingen. At the heart of this unique landscape lies the legendary Lorelei Rock. The rock made of dark clay slate is located near St. Goarshausen. The wine town of Boppard makes an ideal starting point for a river boat cruise to the Lorelei.

The two-and-a-half-hour KD round trips between Boppard and St. Goar/St. Goarshausen on board MS RheinKrone are well worth it. The 42-metre-long boat has a spacious, open saloon and an inviting open deck with staggered levels. If you like, you can approach the Lorelei from the KD jetty in St. Goarshausen. On the Lorelei there is a beautiful park and a summer toboggan run. Lorelei Rock is also home to what is possi­bly Germany’s most attractive open-air stage. The eponymous lady, who, according to legend, ceaselessly grooms her long, golden hair “with a golden comb”, is not to be found on the rock. The Lorelei statue is somewhat hidden at Lorelei port.

"Boppard is one of the most important Roman settlements on the Middle Rhine."

Castles as far as the eye can see

If you alight in St. Goar on the opposite bank, you should make time for a walk to Rheinfels Castle, one of the largest castles and fortifications on the Middle Rhine. There is no shortage of castles on this stretch of the romantic Rhine. Neu-Katzenelnbogen Castle and Peterseck Castle tower above the river but are better known under their nicknames “Katz” and “Maus” (cat and mouse). The “Stiftskirche” (Collegiate Church) of St. Goar is also worth seeing. The Protestant parish church has been an Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002 and is a protected cultural asset under the Hague Convention.

New recording of “The Lorelei” song

Incidentally, the “Lorelei town” of St. Goarshausen has more to offer than just the legendary rock. Part of the pretty old town is the town tower, which is home to a small wine and local history museum. Between Bahnhofstraße and Heinrich-Heine-Straße, visitors can find the bronze bust of a well-known German poet. This is – unsurprisingly given the location – Heinrich Heine. Born in Düsseldorf, he wrote the poem “Lied von der Loreley” (The Lorelei) in 1824. This continues the legend of the siren Lorelei created by Clemens Brentano. The text was made famous worldwide when Friedrich Silcher set it to music in 1837. The best-known lines are those at the beginning of the text/song: “I do not know what it might bode that
I should be so sad, a fairy-tale from long ago now will not leave my head.” Silcher’s version is the most popular, although well over 40 versions of the song appeared in the 19th century, including works by such renowned artists as Franz Liszt, Clara Schumann and Paul Lincke. A new recording of the Silcher classic will be played for guests on board MS RheinKrone.

One man, one chair, one fountain

The tranquil town of Boppard was one of the important Roman settlements on the Middle Rhine. The freely accessible Roman fort is a reminder of this time. The remains of the Roman complex enclose what is the town centre today and are some of the best-preserved Roman fortification walls in Germany. The Boppard Museum is located in the former Electoral Castle. This is home to, among other things, an extensive collection of bentwood furniture, which also tells the story of Boppard-born carpenter Michael Thonet. The craftsman set up his own carpentry and cabinetry business and created special pieces of furniture from curved wood, such as the “Boppard layerwood chair”. The one-man business grew into a global enterprise. Thonet chairs are known as design classics around the world. The Thonet fountain in Boppard’s market square is a reminder of the town’s great son.

“Thonet chairs are known as design classics around the world.”
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