Viking River Cruise, Day 4: Koblenz & Middle Rhine, Germany (Facebook collage)
(click any collage to enlarge)
SOOOOOOO, Ladies and gentlemen! By this time in our cruise, that became a familiar refrain as Alex, our Program Director, kept us apprised of each day's comings and goings.
This day, Day 4, was a full day of castles and lots of goodies in between as we continued the long stretch across Germany from Cologne the previous day.
Prior to arriving in Koblenz for our morning excursion, I "collected" architecture from the sun deck.
As you know by now, I eat this stuff up.
To be honest, I'm surprised we didn't see more of this industrialization.
It was few and far between.
We docked in Koblenz at 8:30 a.m. in front of Kaiser Wilhelm I on his mighty steed,
and left the ship by 9:30 for our excursion to the Marksburg Castle.
We walked in Koblenz all of about 15 minutes! What you see is what you get.
We hopped on buses immediately, climbing the hill to the best-preserved castle on the Rhine.
In its 800 years, it was never attacked during countless wars because of its strategic location.
Before starting our tour, we had time to get the lay of the land.
What a vantage point for anyone needing protection from marauders!
Now....follow the leader....
We even have cannons like this in Gorinchem, NL, where we live. (sigh)
Fine dining, anyone?
How about fine frescoes!
I know someone who would give an arm and a leg for this weaving apparatus!
Yes, they even had an inside toilet (that hung outside the wall with appropriate pipes).
Music, game and spinning alcoves, plus separate bedrooms...
what more could you possibly need on top of a fortress!
Unless it was armor...or a chastity belt?
Our tour guide carried the key to the castle with her the entire tour...
and then locked us out once we were done.
Mercedes, top right, was our Viking guide on the bus back down to the boat.
We fell in love with her...so adorable.
Instead of going back to Koblenz, from whence we had started,
we drove to Braubach, 10 km southeast, at the foot of the castle's hill,
where we got our best view looking back up...
and to where our ship had sailed while we were gone.
Again, what you see is what you get.
By now it was time for lunch, with a Taste of Germany specialties....
When in Germany, eat and drink as the Germans do.
We even enjoyed the "Sound of the Rhineland" musicians.
With tummies full, and time to go brush our teeth, it was now time to hit the top deck to see the stretch of castles on the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, declared a UNESCO site in 2002. This was one of the most-anticipated moments of the entire cruise for me.
Even before getting to the castles, I was awed by so many of the houses!
And churches! You know me and spires.
All seen from the river, of course.
And as a bit of trivia...we found out that Hitler purposely made train-tunnel entrances look like castles
so no one would bomb them. It was a gentleman's agreement to NOT bomb castles during war.
BTW, we were listening to the running commentary from Alex, our Program Director,
while trying to stay warm and not goof off too much. Lucky for us, it was sunny!
Another BTW, this is also wine country with vineyards dotting the hills everywhere.
And yes, that's the Lorelei maiden (middle-left) who tried to woo us to our doom.
SOOOOO, Ladies and gentlemen. Saving the best to the last...
here are some of the finest examples of castles, palaces and fortresses along the Middle Rhine!
(We even have a booklet with all their names!)
My favorite of them all? The Pfalzgrafenstein toll castle on the Falkenau island!
It so happened a bunch of school kids were there while we passed by.
We all waved hello and good-bye....
...as I do now to Day 4 of our river cruise! Moving right along....