Leaving Rothenburg, we began the 4.5 hr train journey to Boppard, with 3-4 connections. [Coming into Rothenburg our last connection was only 3 minutes, & the platforms weren't adjacent, so we learned to be ready to jump off a train, grab our carry-ons, have our platform #'s, & attack those steps.] We also appreciated the over 65 yr discounts on the train fares.
The Boppard train station is 3 blocks above the town, so it's an easy walk downhill to the Rhine. There is a Penny's grocery store on the way. Boppard is a lovely river town, with cafes situated right on the river, & our Hotel Bellevue was immediately adjacent to the KD boat landing. A Forum contributor recommended Boppard, and it was a great choice, as it has a friendly buzz, with shops and restaurants & streets to wander, plus a free local transportation pass. Our hotel was actually the busiest hotel we had stayed in during our trip. The Bellevue Hotel is rather grand, with a stately staircase, beautifully decorated, with a small sofa seat in the elevator, and excellent wi-fi. Our balcony room was right behind the "L" on the Bellevue sign, facing the Rhine. The hotel has a sauna, heated pool, & a wonderful, large buffet breakfast, in the restaurant facing the river. The hotel also has a garden cafe outside on the Rhine banks, with very reasonable prices, where we had several meals, watching the barges navigate the very fast current, & marveling at the skills of the ferries and KD boat captains bringing their boats in against the currents. The Rhine is a very busy, working river, & showcases some of the industry which is the backbone of Germany.
Planning our activities, we found that the TI is closed on Saturdays & Sundays- very strange indeed. However, we found the folks at the KD ticket window to be more than helpful, & somewhat colorful, giving us advice on trains, boats, the area, - they were our TI's!
We chose the Marksburg Castle to visit, as I'd been to Berg Eltz. Marksburg retains its original construction materials. Our day started out windy, gloomy, cold, & never got better, altho we had no rain. I had problems with the travel logistics, even with the help of Forum members. We finally took the KD boat to Braubach, about a 30 minute delightful ride, & would try the train back. Once in Braubach, the town seemed deserted, & we found no transportation to the top. The castle seemed straight up! Whatever, we did the trail climb, almost 30 minutes, on the rocky path. Once at the castle, there were additional steps, even for those with car/tour bus transportation, & the castle itself had more step & uneven flooring- just a warning for those with mobility challenges. Tours were required; we knew they were in German in the off-season; we had the RS Guide and an English text from the castle. The view from the castle would have been spectacular on a good day; for us it was windier and colder, so we didn't appreciate the magic. We missed much of the color commentary not having an English tour, altho the guide was friendly & encouraged us to ask questions.
Getting back to Boppard was a bit awkward & time-consuming: a bus, a wait in Koblenz, and a train.
Our next day for the KD river cruise to Bacharach, & return, saw better weather, and was relaxing. Scores of castles marked the route, including Rheinfels, altho I'm told many more are further east. Bacharach is an RS favorite for tour lodging, as it's a charming very small town. We had lunch and climbed the tower of the town walls, which yielded spectacular views. After exploring, we waited the return of the KD boat. [We could have returned by train.]
On our final half day, we walked 15 min. to the Boppard chairlift, [which can be seen from the riverfront.] It was a scenic ride over the vineyards, up to the hilltop restaurant with 180 degree views, & we toasted farewell to the Rhine with our last glass of Riesling & a German beer!