large, famous rock is near the town of Sankt Goarhausen at the point
where the Rhine Gorge
takes a sharp bend.
This spot is the
Rhine’s narrowest and swiftest point between
Switzerland and the North Sea. In addition to the acute twist in the
river, its bed is
covered with stones which increase the water’s turbulence.
That turbulence in
turn tumbles the stones, causing a
kind of murmuring sound that echoes off the rock cliff. According to
one explanation, the name “Lorelei” is said to
derive from lureln ley
in the ancient local dialect, meaning “murmuring rock.” This
gave rise to legends not unlike the
Siren Songs of Homerian epics, of navigators being lured to their
Maidens’ songs or no, it’s a rough patch of river
with a long history of swamping ships.
Today the murmuring
is lost with the sounds of road traffic and trains on either side of
the river and tour boats
passing in the
middle of it. As you can see below, opposite the famous rock is a
camping spot, very popular in summer.