I often see the beautiful mountains and vinyards on the other side of the Rhine from my car. This time, I wanted to walk up there myself. I started in Leutesdorf, which I discovered has a beautiful Rococo church.
The terraced vinyards stretch farther downstream and wrap around the mountains towards Neuwied, but I rather headed upstream.
On the other side lies Andernach. An ugly bridge rounds the mountain; beyond this narrow part of the valley, it opens up towards the Pellenz region, a wide open basin.
Unfortunately I forgot that I am scared of heights, so this uphill path that seemed to continue along the sheer cliff proved a dead end, and I went back down and continued down a road around halfway up the vinyards.
The road is lined with various educational signs explaining different aspects of wine growth, both in general and in this region in particular.
These little green lizards (which is their actual name; their German name of 'Emerald Lizard' is a little more poetic) were everywhere. The eastern side of the Rhine gets a lot of sunlight, and they enjoy it as much as the vines.
Continuing onward, on the right side of the Rhine Namedy and its castle come into view.
The road forked, and aforementioned fear of heights having accompanied me all the way here, I decided to rather take the path back downhill for now, winding back and forththrough more vinyards. There's a beautiful Gothic Revival crucifixion scene at the bottom of the path.
It's almost harvesting season.
Cyclists frequent the road at the bottom of the valley, but I was drawn uphill again, hoping to see the ruins of Castle Hammerstein, up there on the rock of the same name. It dates back to the late 10h century.. It dates back to the late 10h century.
As the path grew steeper, narrower, rockier, and I knew that ahead of the next turn was more or less a sheer cliff, I saw that there was a ruined wall nearby which was part of the castle complex, and told myself that this was good enough and turned back around. Shameful!
Around the corner was a little shrine, and behind it a generous plateau offering a view down on the hamlet of Hammerstein below, and on this house, lonely atop a little peak. It looks so high up seeing it from the other side of the Rhine, so to look down on it from above felt amazing.
Besides the ruin atop the mountain, Hammerstein (or rather upper/Oberhammerstein) has another medieval monument in St. Georg, a romanesque church next to a 16th century Zehnthof where the tithe was to be paid. It occupies the site of an older royal building from the 12th century.
The rest of Hammerstein is small and humble, but well-kept. Besides the vinyards all around, there are wineries too - with attached cafés for enjoying their produce. Unfortunately they were closed, I was quite thirsty at this point.
Through an underpass you can get to the Rhine.
Truly a beautiful land.