Saturday, 21 September 2013

Bad Honnef and the Drachenfels

Jean, Renate and I walked into Bad Honnef this morning and made enquiries in the town library and afterwards in a bookshop about the history of the town.  We were trying to find any information about our ancestors that we possibly could.  We didn't find anything though.  I wasn't terribly disappointed, as I didn't expect to find much anyway.  I wrote to the Rathaus more than a week ago to ask if the authorities might have any information about where my ancestors lived in this town.  They replied, saying they had no information.  

We decided to go to the Drachenfels, or 'dragon rock', which is a 320 metre-high hill plus castle ruin which overlooks the Rhine.  The castle was built in the 12th century by the archbishop of Köln to protect the border to the neighbouring county of Sayn.  The castle was the seat of the castellan of Drachenfels.  We first walked all the way to Rhöndorf, and, after learning that a recent landslide prevented our ascent up Drachenfels from here, we made our way to Königswinter with the Strassenbahn (tram).    At Königswinter, we took the Zahnradbahn, or cog-railway, up Drachenfels to the top.  

At the summit, we spent ages admiring the views up and down the Rhine, the view down to Rhöndorf and neighbouring Bad Honnef, the endless forested area to the east which is the home of the celebrated Siebengebirge (seven mountains), and the many villages on the opposite bank of the Rhine to the west.  Here at the summit, there were a couple of restaurants, and we ate lunch.  Then, we climbed the steep pathway up to the actual castle ruin.  From here was an even better view.  I was in Bad Honnef last in 1987.  I really only remember how bushy it was, and it still is.  Back then, I also came up the Drachenfels.  But, again, all I really remember from that time is the panoramic view.

We caught the cog-railway back down the hill to halfway.  A sizeable castle, Schloss Drachenburg, was built here around 1883.  We toured extensively inside, and climbed the north tower.  Again good views of the Rhine.

After descending to Königswinter, we returned to Bad Honnef, and dined in the Altes Rathaus (old town hall).  We got back to our hotel in the far reaches of the town just on dusk.

Renate looking for the way to go.  Jean saying she thinks it's this way.
An 18th century chapel in Bad Honnef
An old-looking house.  Could my great-grandfather, Felix Thode, have been born here?
A view to the Drachenfels (on the hill) from Rhöndorf
An artist's image of the Drachenfels and the Rhine
We climbed to the top of Drachenfels by cog-railway.
At the Drachenfels summit.  Jean and Renate peer along the Rhine.
The Drachenfels is a popular place to come.
The ruin of the castle
Looking south from the ruin to the summit below, and further to Bad Honnef at left and the river Rhine.
Us with the view
Schloss Drachenburg
A deer in the gardens
Schloss Drachenburg 

No comments:

Post a Comment