We arose rather late and took a local boat to Rudesheim, which is situated opposite to Bingen in a sunny situation and at the South base of the Niederwald, just at the point where the valley of the Rhein expands into the broad basin of the Rheingan. The celebrated wine of the place can boast the longest pedigree on the Rhein and among its best sorts is the Rudesheimer Berg.
We walked along the Rhein to the station of the Cog Wheel Rail Road which ascends gently through vineyards to the terminus and a 3 minutes walk brought us to the National Denkmal on the Niederwald erected in commemoration of the unanimous rising of the German people and the foundation of the new German Empire in 1870–71.
It stands upon a projecting spur of the hill, 740 feet above the river just opposite Bingen and is this conspicuous far and wide. It was inaugurated with great ceremony in 1883, and many a German Verein (Society) has made a pilgrimage here. Our New York Arion Singing Society has been here twice, and I have a nice piece of poetry in reference to these visits, which Theodor’s bookkeeper copied for me from a newspaper.
The huge base is 82 feet high while the noble figure of Germania with the imperial crown and the laurel wreathed sword an emblem of the unity and strength of the empire, is 34 feet in height. The principal relief on the side of the pedestal facing the river symbolizes the “Wacht am Rhein” and has the text of the famous song below.
To the right and left are allegorical figures of Peace and War while below are figures representing the Father Rhein and the Mosel the latter as the future guardian of the west frontier of the empire. The cost of the monument amounted to $275,000.00.
After duly admiring this grand monument we walked through the beautiful Niederwald to the Jagdschloss, an old shooting lodge, and partook of a good lunch in the open air. We took a good rest, too, as the walk had tired us somewhat, and we then walked through the beautiful woods to the Rossell, an artificial ruin on the highest point of the Niederwald, being 1125 feet above the sea level and 880 above the river.
From here, we had a fine prospect—to the left, of Bingen and the valley of the Nahe with the Donnersberg in the background, to the right, the wooded heights of the Hunsruck. Far below, the Rhein rushes through the Bingerloch, past the Ruin of Ehrenfelst and the Mouse Tower, we could also see the castle of Klopp sheltered by the Rochnsberg just above Bingen and the Reinstein, the Clemens Kapelle, the Falkenburg and all the beautiful points which we had seen when ascending the Rhein and approaching Bingen.
We returned by the Tempelweg, a pretty walk through the woods to the Cog Wheel R. R. Station and took a train down to Rudesheim.
When we stepped off the car, a gentleman approached us and addressed us in English, saying that he was from St. Louis, and I told him “So am I.” It turned out to be Mr. Scheerer, formerly a photographer and now a lawyer. He was delighted to meet us, but we had to hurry to catch our boat. We could talk very much about home and home folks.
We crossed to Bingen, settled our bill at the hotel and reached the landing in time for the boat to Mainz.The first landing we made was Rudesheim, and I saw Mr. Scherer come aboard, so I called him, and we sat down together to a genuine German Kaffee Klatsch. The trip from here is not as interesting as from Coblenz up, but we noticed some spots made famous by their wines such as Geisenheim and Schloss Johannisberg, the far famed vineyards of the latter on area about 55 acres yield in good years 35,000.00, about 635.00 an acre, which isn’t bad for Germany.
Between Hattenheim and Erbach is the Marcobrunnen (boundary wall) near which are the vineyards yielding the Marcobrunner, one of the most highly prized Rheinish Wines.
Near Biebrich, which is quite a town, we saw, along the bank, large stores of brick which are made from a peculiar soil, which is found here. They are sun dried.
We reached Mainz about 8 o’clock and, for the first time in our experience, found no room in the hotel recommended to us, as they had a Messe (street fair) in town, so we looked up another one and got into one of the old houses, “The Post,” small quarters, but neat and clean.
After supper, we took a walk through the Fair with its merry-go-rounds and booths in which they sold all kinds of cakes and goodies, also an open space where they sold pottery and glassware.
The steam organs and the cryers made just as much noise as they do with us, and we were glad when the entire business stopped short at punctually ten o’clock according to the law of the city. That beats us, don’t it?