As we wander the streets, we notice a well-worn trail leading to a tower standing alone in the vineyards on the steep hillside. It must have been part of the city wall.
We locate the trail access and follow the winding slate steps that lead up through the grape vines.
From the tower, there are panoramic views up and down the river, over the red and white church of St. Peter that dominates the village, up to the 1000-year old castle towering above Bacharach, and into the ruins of a huge Gothic church below. When we spot another viewpoint at the top of the vineyards, it quickly becomes our next destination.
Following the town walls that get progressively steeper as they climb the hill, we reach the summit and are rewarded with spectacular views. The long container barges below labor slowly against the stiff current going upriver, or almost noiselessly going down.
We are surprised to discover that large open fields of grain stretch out from the crest of the hill, a sea of green. Hiking through the gently rolling landscape, so distinctly different from the valley, we can appreciate that the Rhine is in fact a deep gorge that slices through the surrounding terrain.
We follow the narrow alleys that wind around the lush fields before noticing a fast-approaching storm. Against the dark clouds that quickly gather, the emerald-colored fields look even more brilliant.
Distant thunder and the smell of rain hurries us back to the vineyards and down into town where we find we have chosen delightful accommodations and a charming town to spend the evening.