Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Legends of dragons and knights were the draw for Lord Byron and other romantics. The Counts of Drachenfels sported a winged, fire breathing dragon in their coats of arms and Siegfried is supposed to have slain the dragon which lived in a cave on the hillside.
The "castle" most Koenigswinter tourists visit was neither a stronghold nor even lived in. Schloss Drachenburg, halfway up the mountain, was the Gothic fantasy status symbol of Stephen Sarter, who had been born into a middle class Bonn family of hotel keepers and made his fortune in the Paris stock market.
Warning: Once you arrive at the rail's terminus, you will have 37 steps up, another short hill and 22 more steps to reach the castle's main level. Once there you have 11 steps to the first floor entrance and 34 steps to the second floor.
You might prefer watching traffic along the Rhine from the terrace at the Maritim Hotel Koenigswinter. The adjacent bar is a great place to snug in with an adult beverage if the weather turns wet or chilly.