Bingen welcomed me back in September with Winzerfest, a weekend of wine stands set up in the streets that made every weekend afterwards make me wonder why they don’t keep wine stands set up all the time, and this weekend, the city bid me adieu with Bingen Swingt, a Riverfest-esque festival celebrating all music that is anything but German: swing, Latin jazz, poodle skirt-era rock n’ roll, Frank Sinatra. This leads me to believe that at its heart, Bingen is a charming and genial place that wants nothing but the best for me, and on top of that, it can be downright beautiful. The gardens are beautiful, the steeples pinned against a sky blue sky are too, and when church bells are sounding or the sun is going down over the Rhine Valley while I’m drinking a glass of wine on the riverfront, I could almost swear there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
But then there’s another side. The dark underbelly to a city that loves 3 pm coffee and cake, hikes on the weekends, and Rieslings with late dinners, a side not immediately apparent when you’re overwhelmed by river views and so many ice cream shops. It’s surprising, yes, but it can also be tasteless. It can be creepy. It can be straight up ugly as sin, and I’m not the sort that uses phrases like “straight up” lightly.
I’m talking about the shop windows.
I will not be sad to see these go.
And with that last insider’s guide to Bingen, I guess it’s time for you to go too. I’m not quite done with the blog, but I’m done with Bingen; hope you liked my little laundromat-less city on the Rhine and enjoyed getting to know a little bit about Germany that’s not Berlin or Munich. See you in the coming days – both here, and well, back home!