Koblenz and Festung Ehrenbreitstein
(Wednesday, June 6, 2018) – I spent a little too much time in Koblenz visiting the Fortress Ehrenbreitstein which is across the Rhine River from Koblenz. A cable car, built in 2001 allows visitors a breathtaking view of Koblenz, the Rhine and Deutsches Eck. The fortress itself is built on a plateau that parallels the Rhine (that is, it runs North to South). Based on archaeology and simple geography, this location has been a strategic point on the Rhine for rulers and defense, or control, of the middle Rhine valley.
Though evidence of defensive use of this site goes back to the Bronze Age and after that the Romans, the current Fortress was built in 1823 by Prussia to defend the Rhine valley where it joins the Moselle River. The fortress exterior isn’t much to look at, but the exhibition on the history of the site is well done. It was used nearly continuously from 1823 onwards. It was almost demolitioned at the end of WWI by the allies, but they decided it was too significant of an architectural site to destroy. It now is part of the UNESCO Middle Rhine historical area.
The interior museum includes weapons and uniforms from the different eras of the fortress (festung). One of the more interesting pieces was a rotating cannon with 4 barrels (similiar to a Gatling gun).
One Prussian army soldier mannequin had the Pickelhaube that was associated with Prussia and the German army until near the end of WWI. The spike atop the helmet was found to make the wearer a bit more conspicuous to the enemy than desired.
I finally got to eat some white asparagus (weiss spargel – pronounced “vyss shpar-ghel”) in some crepes with hollandaise sauce. Yeah, pretty yummy. But oh no, I realized I needed to hoof it back to the cable car, ride back to Koblenz, hoof it a half hour to my hotel, get my bike ready and get on the road.
Unfortunately, I did not get to see the archaeological and ancient history museum at Ehrenbreitstein, but there is plenty to see at the Roman Germansches Museum in Köln (Cologne).
My Friend The Rhein
I got going finally at 3pm… with 40 miles to bike to Bonn. I made sure the Hostel knew I was probably going to arrive after 8pm, when the staff leaves. No problem – they gave me the front door code by email and instructions to get the key.
It was hot again, and biking through Koblens was fine, but like any city – traffic and pedestrians. Soon enough though I spotted the Rhine promenade and after biking awhile felt some cool breezes from the great river.
I also noticed, almost immediately leaving Koblenz, that the cute Middle Rhein villages were fewer and far between. Rather, large industrial sites became the norm – perhaps I am entering the Ruhr?
About three-quarters of the way to Bonn, I entered Remagen. This town was an important location during the ending days of World War II. As the German army retreated behind the Rhine, soldiers were ordered to blow up all the Rhine bridges. Their attempt to blow up this bridge failed and they were forced to retreat before being able to bring it down. This bridge, the Ludendorff Bridge, was only one of two captured by the U.S. Army. Interesting that it was fully under U.S. control on March 10-11… my birthday.
The bridge is now a Peace Memorial. Unfortunately the museum was closed when I arrived and I had my own unexpected event to deal with. One of the attachment loops on my front handlebar bag tore off… Apparently it had been tearing and I did not notice.
Always prepared, I had my trusty roll of ductape. Ductape fixes everything (right Chris Tennie?).
On the way to Bonn I also met a fellow cyclist out on a recreational ride. Benjamin is a journalist for Deutche Welle, Germans public and international news service (I suppose somewhat like the BBC). He was very friendly and we had a nice talk (yes, a bit about current American politics and, as many in Europe want to know, what the heck is going on in the U.S. with the election of Donald Trump and his hostile policies?). He invited me to visit the Deutche Welle headquarters in Bonn the next day for lunch.
An hour later I was at Max Hostel in Bonn and ready to hit the hay. I will try to post more later tomorrow.
However, I do want to tell you all that blogging every day has become more of a pain than I thought it would be in Germany. It also takes some time. So I may update this every other day instead of daily. If you have signed up for email alerts you should get an email when I create a new post.
Bis später meine Freunde!