Rhineland Steam Railway Holiday
Why a Whopper Tale? Well, boasting so many highlights this holiday may read like a tall story but we’ve managed to pack them all into just one chapter. We also do like a pun and with one day swinging into Wupppertal it’s hard to resist. There’s a cog railway to the top of a mountain (look out for dragons!), a dangling railway over a river (look out for elephants!), trams, boats and trains galore (look out!). Scenic variety throughout with vineyards, volcanos, castles & clogs all featuring. Join us in Rhineland this summer and we guarantee an action-packed time – and that’s no whopper tale!
After meeting at St Pancras International we take the lunchtime Eurostar to Brussels, change for the THALYS train to Cologne, and finish the day with a short “local” hop to Bonn. The hotel is right outside the station and so after check-in you are free to either dine in or head off to discover the delights of the town.
A relatively local day to the south of Bonn sees us enjoying a morning run on the Brohtalbahn. This is a steeply graded line that climbs into the Vulkan Hills – indeed the top section is so steep that it used to by a rack railway. Our coach meets us at lunchtime and we enjoy a very pleasant rural journey though the Vulkan National Park to Altenahr. We are now truly in wine country. Some time is allowed to enjoy this quaint town before we return to Bonn by rail down the Ahr Valley – a splendidly scenic journey with vineyards and rock outcrops on either side.
Our steam highlights come today in a big day out to the north of Aachen. In a rail/coach combined tour we are going to visit a narrow gauge steam line in Germany and a standard gauge one in the Netherlands. We have a traffic free Sunday morning drive to Schierwaldenrath for coffee/cake and steam. Then it’s a short hop across the border to the ZLSM for a steamy ride through the most mountainous part of the Netherlands. Our return journey to Bonn is by rail from Duren.
By tram and riverside metro we travel to Konigswinter and stroll up to the Drachenfelsbahn. This fabled funicular railway takes us to the summit of Dragon Mountain to rescue a maiden no doubt and take in the great views of the Rhine and surrounding countryside. Onwards then by rail down both banks of the Rhine on the way to Bacharach. From this lovely half-timbered town we join P.S. (though not really!) Goethe for a wonderful scenic cruise up the Rhine on this luxury converted paddle-steamer. We pass castles, vineyards, the Lorelei Rock and spot trains on both banks whilst enjoying an early evening meal on board.
We have saved a real holiday highlight till last. The schwebebahn in Wuppertal is a suspension railway that dangles above the River Wupper between the suburbs of Oberbarmen and Vohwinkel. Special arrangements will ensure that this is a truly memorable experience. We are going to get there and back by rail as well as fitting in an afternoon road trip to the Mungstener Park to see the highest railway bridge in Germany – as well as the lovely riverside views.
Time to head for home but an easy start allows for a final leisurely breakfast. We then retrace our route with a local train to Cologne followed by crack German ICE to Brussels. The final leg of our adventure is provided by Eurostar and we should arrive back in London by about 16.00.
Hotel Bristol, Bonn
This grand hotel is located in the mainly residential/parkland district to the rear of Bonn Station. It has large public areas with high ceilings and an opulent feel. All rooms are furnished to a good standard and come with satellite t.v. and a safe. There is a comfortable piano bar, a fine breakfast buffet, and a restaurant serving traditional evening meals for anyone that doesn’t feel like exploring the towns many offerings.