Sorry about the font below. I don’t know what the problem is… but it’s readable. I’ll figure it out later.
First Day Camping to the Ancient City of Koblenz
I woke up this morning and came out of my tent to an overcast and hazy sky. No sun to be seen and cool air. That was a good sign. After having a quick breakfast I went to try to use the campgrounds wi-fi. Again, really terrible reception such that I could not upload my photos. But I did call a friend of Julie and Dick Tennie who may meet me to bike on my way to Kassel! I also heard from Christian Kretchmer on Facebook – he and his parents were my hosts in 1998. He lives near Frankfurt so I very much hope to connect with him in a couple weeks when I am back in Frankfurt.
Highlights of my ride today was deciding to bike up the steep “walls” of the Rhine valley to Castle Stolzenfels. It’s not an authentic castle, but it is much more accesible by bike than any other. It was also recommended by Rick Steves, so there’s that. It was actually rebuilt on an old medieval caslte destroyed by the French (go figure!) by the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick William. It is a great example of Prussian aesthetics, but is much more of a palace than a true military castle (or “Burg” in German). As you can see on the left, the way there – at first – was both steep and full of cobblestones. But it became a more manageable grade and asphalt later. Remember Mount Constit
ution, Sander Lazar? It wasn’t as bad (or as long) as that. Specatcular views at the top and a “Knight’s Room” full of armor (confession, I wasn’t supposed to take pictures).
Anyhow, coming down was a lot more fun and I made it to Koblenz in about an hour. I decided to have a short day today to enjoy Koblenz. There is an excellent Landesmuseum at one of the largest remaining 18th century fortresses across the river. I plan on taking the Speilbahn (cable car) over there tomorrow morning, then leaving for Bonn at noon.
This afternoon I visited “Das Deutches Eck” or “The German Corner” which is where the Mosel joins the Rhine. This juncture between the Mosel and Rhine has been of strategic importance since the Romans. And that makes sense – the Mosel goes into the heart of France (Roman: Gaul) where the Romans controlled the area completely. But it empties into the Rhine, the Roman frontier river abutting the wild Germans I mentioned yesterday. After the Romans declined, it became important for the princely fiefdoms and later the Prussian Empire. So, of course, one of the Prussian Kings built a giant monument to himself and Germany: Kaiser Wilhelm (the 1st 1st think). Or as he was called, “Wilhelm Der Grosse.” “Grosse” also means large in German – this statue is certainly large. Dark, foreboding, with an intense relief of an eagle with its wings outspread attaching snakes and I guess foreigners that would do Germany harm (the French again? I’ll have to ask Jennifer… 😉 ).
In front of the statute along the edges of Das Deutches Eck are flags of all the Bundelander (States) of Germany. I got photos of Nordrhein-Westphalia (where my grandmother was born) and Hesse (where more of my ancestors are from and I visited in 1994) just for fun. That afternoon it got hot and sunny again, but by 6:30 it cooled off again and a breeze picked up, hence the photos.
I returned to my hotel to have dinner. Sadly the aspargus menu items were all unavailable as the season is over – or at least this restaurant had a run on asparagus. So I had spinach klopse (dumplings) in a cheesy, hollaindaise like cream souce. Wow, lecker!
Now I’m finishing up this post in the lobby of the restaurant and then going to go to bed.
One last thing. Sometimes, German’s choice of music in restaurants and bars is kind of odd. Michael Jackson mixed with hard rock from the 80’s and Kenny G. Well, John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads” just came on over the hotel’s background music… kinda sounds soothingly familiar. But it’s also a bit odd hearing it in Germany. Oh well. Take me home country roads…