Day 3: Sonneneck to Koblenz (with a stop at Berg Stolzenfels)

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

A bit cloudy and cool, but that’s just fine with me. Camping next to train tracks doesn’t make for a restful night!

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.

 

Castle Stolzenfels from river level. Just before the climb.

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

Steep cobblestones… I walked this part. It was still tiring.

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).

Made it!

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.

Real knight’s armor.

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… 😉 ).

Wilhelm Der Grosse

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.

Das Deutches Eck with flags of all the German Bundeslander.

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…

 

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. No asparagus! How disappointing.

    I think you mean Empereur Guillaume le Premier. 😉 He united many against the French, so I think he was all excited about that- united and loyal against les français. Or so I learned from French Wikipedia.

  2. Yes I remember Mount Constitution, a great climb! Looks like yours wasn’t too shabby either. Seems you had a fun day! Sorry about the asparagus dude. And burg means castle! That’s pretty cool, considering I live in Roseburg. And I see you visited Spay! Will you be visiting Neuter too? You really should, I hear it’s worth it. Though some have said they felt something was missing… 😉

  3. What an interesting day!! It’s fun reading & then looking up the locations on maps, connecting how the geography influenced the historical developments. Is it weird that it makes me want to play war games all over again? Too, similarities in other languages keep popping into my head while reading — delicious in dutch is lekker, and in french to be big or hefty is gros/grosse. Was Wilhelm notably “larger than life,” a sort of German version of Henry the Eighth or our own president Taft? 🙂 PS. am going to make you go over maps with me when you get back from your travels. Heart!

  4. I remember one of our 1st trips to Europe back in the 1970’s. We were in a bar (of course) with several military guys drinking in a corner- not from USA. All of a sudden a song came on the juke box with the words “Do You Speak English!” Too funny!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.