Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

Koblenz

The next day, 23 November, was the first time we travelled in daylight. Until then, we travelled at night and were docked in a new location by morning. We traveled along the “Middle Rhine” while our program director, Andrew, narrated descriptions of the various castles along the river.

Rudesheim the next morning before setting sail. The white tower is the one I showed in the previous post that was lit up when we went to visit the Christmas market.
Leaving Rudesheim
You can see Andrew, the program director, on the bridge narrating our passage of the middle Rhine.
One of many castles we viewed from our boat while traveling the middle Rhine. There were a mix of ruined ones like this one and ones that had been renovated as hotels or residences.
Most of these small castles and towers were used to control customer and excises along the river. In many cases two or three were visible from each other, so traveling the Rhine must have been a constant series of stops to pay tolls, taxes, and bribes.
Candy and Nicole trying to stay warm while I took pictures of an endless series of castles, towers, and keeps.
This part of the Rhine was wine country. You can see terraced vineyards in many of these pictures.
Candy wasn’t thrilled with the cold weather, but at one point the wait staff brought hot berry tea with rum in it to help us stay warm on deck.
You can see down about 2/3 of our boat.
This picture shows a nice view of the terraced vineyards.
I like the combination of brick and stone on this one.
This turn in the Rhine was once particularly treacherous and accounted for many crashed boats over the years.
During WWII, the Allies bombed a lot of railroads to impede the Nazi war effort, but they attempted to avoid bombing cultural features. The Nazis began disguising many of the train tunnels like castles to confuse the Allies into thinking they were cultural features, so they wouldn’t bomb them. This is one of several examples that remain along the Rhine.
Here is another example of a train tunnel disguised as a castle to confuse Allied bombers.
I just love the look of half-timbered buildings.
Approaching Koblenz

Our journey along the Rhine ended in the city of Koblenz, Germany. From the Viking daily, “Koblenz is a traditional German country town at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Founded more than 2,000 years ago, this former trading settlement rests on a massif of the Middle Rhine Highlands. Its cobblestone streets, wood-beamed houses adorned with flowers, ancient market square, and medieval churches recall the fairy-tale Germany of old. At the “German Corner,” Deutsches Eck, where the two rivers converge, a massive equestrian statue of Prince William I observes the lovely riverside scene The famed Teutonic Knights set up their first base here in 1216. The Romanesque Basilica of St. Castore, Koblenz’s oldest building, dates to 836.”

The statue of William I at the German Corner.

Greg and I signed up for the optional excursion to visit the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, and the girls were on a different excursion to see Marksburg Castle. Greg and I had about 90 minutes between when the girls left and when we were to depart, so we walked off the boat a couple hundred meters to the German Corner to get a closer view of the statue.

Greg and me in front of the statue of Prince William I.
This is our boat. We were parked in the closest dock to the German Corner.
Our docent, role playing a (real) British Major who spied on the construction of the fortress and published a book on the fortification.

From the Viking daily, “Set on a hill overlooking the Deutsches Eck, the “German Corner” where the Moselle and Rhine Rivers meet, Ehrenbreitstein is Europe’s second largest preserved fortress. The hill upon which it rests was settled as far back as the 4th century BC, and a Roman fortification existed there around 400-500 AD. Constructed on the current fortifications was begun around 1100 and expanded during the 16th century. In 1801, Ehrenbreitstein was partially destroyed by Napoleon, and the French occupied Koblenz for the next 18 years. The fort looms some 400 feet above the Rhine’s left bank.”

Greg on guard duty.
A model of the fortifications.
Greg had to sing the Marseilles and charge the fortifications with our docent.
Our boat parked next to the German Corner from Ehrenbreitstein.

After dinner we had a few hours before our boat was going to shove off, so the four of us walked into the old town of Koblenz to enjoy their Christmas market and more great German food.


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