Day 4: Koblenz, Germany
We left Rüdesheim in the early morning around 8:30am. I had set my alarm clock an hour early to be able to take some photos from castle Ehrenfels, the one that I had climbed up to yesterday, from the river perspective. Unfortunately, the weather was not as grand. Even though it was not raining, the sky was covered in grey and the air almost seemed a little misty. Not the best conditions for photographing, but if that is what I would have to work with, fine. Everything is better than rain!
The section between Rüdesheim and Koblenz is probably the most popular region of the Rhine River. It is also referred to as the Romantic Rhine, mostly because of the many picturesque ancient villages that line up at the shores and the imposing castles towering above of which over 40 are still well-preserved these days.
The wind was horrible though. It was so frisk, that spending the passage on top of the sun deck without getting frostbitten was almost impossible. Thank god, I did eventually find the button to open up the electric balcony doors of the rear lounge, the Steak House. From the small terrace, I was protected from the wind and had marvelous views over the wash. And from each side, I was able to foresee what was coming up next.
At around 10am we reached the alleged highlight of the passage, the Loreley. Loreley is a 132 meters tall slate rock which name is a translation from an ancient Rhenish dialect meaning “Lurking Rock”.
There are many folklores and myths about Loreley, but in the end, all of them have the same outcome. A young woman was betrayed by her sweetheart. Hurt and angry, she since then is said to have caused the death of many sailors who she bewitched with her beauty and song, leading them to crash into the rock and die.
What most people do not know though, is that the statue of the Loreley is not mounted to the top of the rock itself, but it is a small artwork at the bottom of it in the little port of the village of Sankt Goarshausen. To be quite honest, me as a German, I do not quite understand all the fuss about that one single rock when the whole area in between Rüdesheim and Koblenz is so much more attractive and interesting in terms of landscape beauty and architecture. It is a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002 and truly deserves it.
Photo Gallery Romantic Rhine
We arrived into Koblenz around noon the same day. The entrance into the city from the water was quite spectacular with the impressive Fortress Ehrenbreitstein on the right hand side and the Deutsches Eck memorial to the left. Koblenz has Roman heritage and was founded 9 B.C. in order to secure access to the Mosel River.
It was heavily destructed during World War II and therefore is it quite a miracle that so much of the historic city center had actually been rebuilt. At the end of the day, in my opinion, I felt that it could not keep up with the extraordinary beauty of the cities lying more southern.
Right after lunch on the ship I started my excursion towards the Deutsches Eck Monument. As it was Saturday, there was a large fabrics and textile market which was interesting to stroll through. The clouds had broken finally open and the day had turned into a beautiful Spring day.
From the memorial, which was erected to honor Germany´s first emperor William I, I enjoyed the views onto the rivers Rhein and Mosel and over the market. Shortly after, I headed for the cable car that takes you all the way up to the fortress and that provides amazing views while gliding over the Rhein River. The entrance ticket for the fortress and the return ride with the cable car came at 13,50€ per person. After coming back, I have to admit that the fortress (as impressive as it may be) did not quite meet my expectations, but the price was well worth the amazing vistas from up there.
I bought two regional cookbooks in the museum store and took the cable car back down. After taking a little walk along the beautiful promenade, I found this gorgeous little panoramic restaurant right at the stream which is well worth a little snack or simply a drink with amazing vistas.
My next destination was the Electoral Palace, the Kurfürstliche Schloss, which also featured a beautiful and free accessible palace garden. I was hoping I could tour the building because I was in urgent need of a little glamour and luxury after the very sober architecture of Fortress Ehrenbreitstein. But unfortunately the palace was not open for tours and the only public room available, the Kaisersaal, was rented for a private event.
So I found my way into the Koblenz Neustadt, which begins right at the entrance to the castle and is more or less the main shopping district of Koblenz. Most of the buildings were of post-war architecture with some contemporary constructions in-between. You could say, a typical German post-war city that had mostly been rebuilt in a rather unrepresentable way with the ordinary large shopping brands that you can find anywhere.
Luckily, the Street Food Weekend took place right in front of the Forum Shopping Center downtown, which was a great relief.
The rest of the late afternoon I continued my way through the streets and finally ended in the old part of town, the Altstadt, with small shops and cafés to explore. A local farmer´s market was taking place on the picturesque Jesuitenplatz where the Johannes-Müller memorial is located, right opposite of the city hall. You could buy locally produced goods such as honey, marmalade or handcrafted goods. One shop that I would really like to recommend to pay visit to is the Pipe House & La Casa del Habano. Even though I do not smoke at all, the ships offers an extensive selection of exclusive liqueurs and spirits from around the world on top of the cigar selection.
Photo Gallery Koblenz
I concluded the evening with dinner on board, caught up with my love at home and finally managed to get a well-deserved sleep before the Excellence Princess headed for Cologne in the very early morning hours of the next day.
Festung Ehrenbreitstein & Cable Car
Festung Ehrenbreitstein, 56077 Koblenz
T: +49 261 6675-4000
Kurfürstlicher Palast (Electoral Palace)
Kaiserin-Augusta-Anlagen, 56068 Koblenz
+49 261 303880
Pipe House & La Casa del Habano
Entenpfuhl 30 / Jesuitengasse 1
T: +49 0261/15855