Xmas on the Rhine: Koblenz

Just before the heavens opened up . . . .

Just before the heavens opened up . . . .

From our riverboat, now docked on the Mosel River, we ventured out on a dark and dreary morning to see the sights of Koblenz. Any city more than 2,000 years old has a lot of history to cover and we just scratched the surface with our guide who conducted a brief tour concentrating on giving us a quick overview of how the city developed. She also showed us the core of the city, founded by the Romans. Most of Koblenz has been beautifully reconstructed since WWII, much of it since the mid-80s. They have very successfully mixed old and new with reconstructed and managed not to lose the threads of their interesting history.

I loved the whimsy of the city – including the Napoleonic-era Schangelbrunnen, “The Spitting Boy” mascot who statue adorns a local fountain (and whose likeness is on the manhole covers). Another favorite was the comical face on the clock in the main square, whose eyes move constantly back & forth and whose tongue sticks out, four times a day, to mark the time.

We saw the small Christmas markets scattered around town, but did not get to linger since the rain began to come down really hard. They need the rain desperately in this region, so it really doesn’t seem justified to complain too much. We did get to see Koblenz’s large Christmas “pyramid” constructed of wood, fan blades and lights. Another Koblenz Xmas tradition is to open the windows of a local government building on the main square – one each day of Advent – today is day 2.

Even in the rain it was a really charming experience.

After lunch on board the S.S. Antoinette, we sailed on a smaller ship down the Rhine to St. Goar to see . We saw the castles of Marksburg, Stolzenfels, Sterrenburg & Liebenstein, Rheinfels and Maus & ‘Katz’. At the cliffs of Lorelei the captain played the sailor’s ballad lamenting the siren’s call to destruction on the rocky shores.  on a week like this, the sailors would have no trouble seeing even the gravel, not just rocks on the shores of the Rhine.

Castles in the rain.

Castles in the rain.

While we were on the Rhine, our ship repositioned to Boppard the better to avoid the Koblenz evacuation and bomb disarmament scheduled for this weekend. We did get to see the area where the 1.8 ton bomb, and its smaller companions, are buried in the shallow water and mud.

Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.  What a Blast!

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