Monday, 25 July 2011

ABC Tour – Coblenz, Castles, Castles and More Castles, Complicated Mechanical Musical Machines


Another early start, this time for a walking tour of Coblenz (Koblenz).  Like Cologne, it  was founded by the Romans and most of the city was destroyed in WWII.  However, there are still some lovely buildings to be seen.

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There are also lots of quirky sculptures around the city and our wonderful, passionate guide delighted in telling us the stories behind them all.  She really brought the city to life.

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Koblenz did not think that it was of any strategic importance in WWII, but forgot about being at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers.  Their big statue of Kaiser Wilhelm lasted until right at the end of the war, when it was destroyed.  The metal ended up being melted down and only the original head retained.  Finally, in the 1980s, a replica was built and the corner of the rivers is once again complete.

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When we visited Europe in 2007 we rode our bike beside part of the Rhine River.  When we reached Koblenz we didn’t realise that any of these interesting old places existed.  It has been so much better this time around.

The section of the River we rode along was the Rhine Gorge and it is mainly because of the beauty we saw then that we came back this time.  We knew that we wanted to have a better look.  This afternoon we sailed along that stretch of the River and it was funny recognising some of the spots we had seen before. 

There are so many castles and picturesque towns and villages along this section of the River.

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We were given a sheet which identified 27 castles.  No wonder it is called the “Romantic Middle Rhine”.

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The town of Boppard.

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The sundeck was the best place to be for viewing, but unfortunately it was a grey old day and quite cool.  Several passengers went and got blankets to wrap around themselves.

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This section is really pretty, but at the same time is about the most difficult section to navigate.  Not only were there several tourist boats like us, but all the usual commercial river traffic.

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This is the statue of the famous Loreley, who, legend has it, used to sit on a rocky bend of the river and distract sailors with her beauty and singing, which caused them to crash and sink.

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River tolls were collected at many points in the past and a chain was put across the river from this castle on an island.  I took a great photo of Mick on the bike in front of this castle (in the rain) last time we were here.

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When we visited last time we explored Bacharach, which is a walled town and truly lovely.  This time we just sailed past.

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Can you vaguely see an iron basket hanging out from the tower at the front of this castle?  Well, apparently people were put in that basket as punishment.  Let’s hope they weren’t too scared of heights.

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Of course, this is the home of the famous wine growing region.  Lots of vineyards on the sides of the hills.

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Eventually, we left the most scenic part of the river and docked at the town on Rudesheim.  Here we went on another little walking tour and ended up at Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Instruments Museum”.  There was every type of whirdy girdy that you could think of.  This was my favourite.

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Not only was it a pianola, it also had violins.  It is incredible that such detailed music can be played mechanically.

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It was raining while we were in Rudesheim, but we can’t complain as it was the first rain we have had on the trip.  It didn’t stop us having a wander around the streets.  The boys found a cafe for a beer, while the girls explored Christmas Shops.  Imagine being here in December when they have the Christmas fares.

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More pretty buildings.

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Can you believe I took 382 photos today.  I think I got a bit carried away.

Have you also noticed something else?  Remember that I said this was the be the relaxing, wind down week before we go home?  Well I don’t know what happened there!!  To be truthful, it could be a lovely relaxing holiday if we wished to just stay on board and watch the world go by.  However, we have partaken in everything on offer as we don’t want to miss out on anything.

Another big day is planned for tomorrow.

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