When one drives north in France on the famed Route du Vin, the vines finally run out not far from Strasbourg, where the Vosges mountains peter out as well. But we continued our journey northward into Germany, picking up a new mountain range to the west and immediately finding ourselves on the German Wine Road, or Deutsche Weinstraße. It runs all the way to the city of Worms. Remember your history where Martin Luther was put on trial by the Diet of Worms? What fun we teenagers had over that.

We had wanted to stay a few days in the wine town of our namesake, St. Martin, but there was no room at any inn back in January as far as Booking.com was concerned. We settled for the nearby village of Rhodt. It was our luck to find a most agreeable village, apartment, and host.

Village boundary, vineyards growing to the very edge. Roots date to 788 AD.

Village boundary, vineyards growing to the very edge. Roots date to 772 AD.

View down the main street of Rhodt, lined with small wineries.

View down the main street of Rhodt, lined with small wineries.

The main street showing more family wineries

The main street showing more family wineries

A few years ago Rhodt was chosen as the prettiest town along the Weinstraße, and last year it produced the regional Wine Princess. This place is on the map! Yet it isn’t touristy at all, but obviously prosperous. Farm tractors scooted about all day and even into late evening as the vineyards were carefully tended.

These rows of vines are marked by the owner. Grape type is sometimes mentioned.

These rows of vines are marked by the owner. Grape type is sometimes mentioned.

Here are some rows owned by a winery in the nearby town of St. Martin, although they are growing in Rhodt.

Here are some rows owned by a winery in the nearby town of St. Martin, although they are growing in Rhodt.

We learned that many family wineries own only a few tens of acres of vines scattered around in various locations. Sales often are made only at the winery via word of mouth. The wine itself is often made by a cooperative, which owns the necessary equipment. Some coops sell under their own label and are highly regarded. Wine from some wine colleges are held in the highest esteem.

Lots of tractors do the work of former laborers.

Lots of tractors do the work of former laborers.

Rhodt seems to have had a growth spurt in the late 19th century as many of the houses date from that time, or were renovated at that time. Street side does not show the inner workings of the property. Generally there’s a set of large doors to allow entry of farm equipment, and possibly a side door for people to enter. Inside is a courtyard. Our apartment was upstairs overlooking the street.

Eva opening the doors of our abode so I could drive the car out.

Eva opening the doors of our abode so I could drive the car out.

Although we had a full kitchen, LR and bedroom, we could order breakfast in. To make it feel as though we were on a real vacation, we opted for daily breakfast here. It was delivered by 8:00 am to our front door, in a picnic basket. Small by standards of German hotels, it was more than adequate, and served as lunch, too.

Our daily bread - at least breakfast, delivered to our doorstep.

Our daily bread – at least breakfast, delivered to our doorstep.

Traditional breakfast of conducts and cheeses, and absolutely fresh breads.

Traditional breakfast of cold cuts and cheeses, and absolutely fresh breads.

A family winery up the street.

A family winery up the street.

We visited several wine villages nearby. Here are some winery signs we passed.

A winery and restaurant

A winery and restaurant with guest rooms.

A winery's shield. Glass style is traditional and based on Roman designs.

A winery’s shield. Glass style is traditional and based on Roman designs.

A winery sign  with a traditional knight's motif.

A winery sign with a traditional knight’s motif.

Up on the hillside beyond the village limit was an imposing yellow building that called to us. Through vineyards and paths we ventured to it, a classic palace of considerable significance. It was built in the mid 18th century for the father of Ludwig II, mad king of Bavaria who built the famed castle of Neuschwanstein. He, Ludwig I (King of Bavaria) considered this to be the most beautiful place in Germany that no formal gardens could improve.

Schloss Reitburg

Schloss Villa Ludwigshöhe

Castle Reitburg

Castle Ludwigshöhe, summer palace of Ludwig I, King of Bavaria

After the good walk up to the Schloß and back, we had gathered a sizable appetite. However it was a day all the restaurants in Rhodt seemed to be closed. We were lucky to find a very fine place open just up the street from our apartment.

An open restaurant on a Wednesday

An open restaurant on a Wednesday

Fine shady place for dinner

Fine shady place for dinner

One day we just had to drive over to Sankt Martin and revisit old times. We had been there just days before 9/11/2001. We remembered the winery on the main street with a tasting bar at least 20 feet long. Just as then, bottles were out and open and we could serve ourselves as much as we wanted. We tried a few and bought a couple of Rieslings, the premier wine of the region.

Large winery in St. Martin

Large winery in St. Martin

The generous winery

The generous winery

Across the street is where we stayed back in 2001. The entry has been modernized with glass doors, not quite to our liking.

Our hotel in 2001, just before the infamous day of 9/11.

Our hotel in 2001, just before the infamous day of 9/11.

On our last afternoon in the area, we drove up to the well known ruin of Hambacher Schloß, high on a hillside overlooking the Rhine Valley and even our clearly defined village of Rhodt.

Schloß Haibach ruin, now restored in part, with a restaurant, of course.

Schloß Hambach ruin, now restored in part, with a restaurant, of course.

View from Haibach Schloß to Rhodt

View from Hambach Schloß to Rhodt, that little village on the middle left side.

Now we must say goodbye to the Weinstraße as we head north to Mainz on the Rhine. But there will be a stop along the way to visit Donald Trump’s ancestral home of Kallstadt. Stay tuned.

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