Distance: 0 Miles
Word came down yesterday that for several reasons –which seemed sketchy to me- the group wouldn’t be biking at all on this last day of the trip. The original itinerary was supposed to be a ride of about 20 miles at which point meet up with the Patria and finish the trip to Koblenz (our final destination) on the barge. If we’d ridden we would have had the opportunity to visit the most famous (and picturesque) castle of the area, Burg Eltz, which I was really looking forward to seeing.
Even though the change of plans was disappointing, I have to admit that it was nice to get the day off since I hadn’t been feeling that great. The Patria left our mooring around 6 A.M. while we were still sleeping. I got up to peek out the window and took a couple of pictures, but went right back to bed for a while.
Around 7 A.M., I got up and went up to the sun deck determined to at least see the territory we would have biked through. It was COLD up there –too cold to sit there the entire time.
There’s something very peaceful about gliding down the river at a slow pace on a barge like the Patria. We just sat somewhere comfortable and watched the scenery drift by. It wasn’t long before we arrived at our first lock (of 3) today.
The two above make a bit of an optical illusion. I took pictures on both sides of the barge to show how little wiggle room there was in the lock.
We went through 3 locks total the last day. Each one was interesting for me because all the times I’ve gone through a lock before (and there have been many) –it has been in a kayak. It was amazing to see how skillfully the captain motored the Patria into the narrow lock –a bit like threading a needle.
Here’s some pictures of the scenery along the river:
I only took pictures of going through two of the locks – here’s the second set of pictures:
It didn’t take long after the last lock before we were at our destination -Koblenz. Our landing was next to a lovely area at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine Rivers known as German Corner. It was a very busy area with a park along both the Moselle and Rhine river fronts with river cruise boats of all kinds docked along the walls.
In fact, the Patria had to double up with another cruise ship, which we had to cross over before we could get ourselves onto dry land.
Once we moored, we had what was left of the afternoon to explore. We were ready to wander, but we also needed to locate an ATM and a pharmacy -neither of which could wait until another day.
When we left the Patria, we first walked along the river wall basically walking the last bit of the Moselle to its confluence with the Rhine.
The confluence is marked by a HUGE statue of William I, the first German Emperor. When William I died in 1888 a statue/monument was proposed as a tribute to his role in the unification of Germany. His grandson, William II, personally selected this location in Koblenz for the monument. It was put in place in 1897. The whole thing is 120 feet high. The horse alone is 46 feet high. The original statue was ruined in WWII, but around 1990, an artist was commissioned to copy the original. The replacement was installed in 1993.
The area around the confluence is a quiet, leafy park, but the old city takes over as you turn inland away from the rivers.
We decided we had better get busy locating an ATM and pharmacy. We didn’t know exactly where we were going or when things closed up for the day so we didn’t want to miss our chance to get our errands done. We headed away from the river and into the old town area of Koblenz. I only took a few pictures along the way because we were both so focused on trying to navigate our way through the streets. There was a bit of frustration with the language barrier and the maps app on our phones. We had to go Easter egg hunting for more than a few banks to find an ATM that worked with our cards.
But I did pull out my camera for this fountain. It is very unique. It is called the Historiensaule – or Koblenz History Column. This fountain was presented to the town of Koblenz in 1992 on the occasion of its 2,000th anniversary as a city. It recaps the important events over the 2,000 year history of the city – starting at the bottom with a Roman wine boat and working upwards to the top with a scene that is meant to be a vision of Koblenz as a city of the future.
Once we had taken care of all the important stuff, we returned to the confluence area.
The Romans founded Koblenz as a military post around 8 (B.C.) Up high, across the river, there is an old fortress named Ehrenbreitstein. The present day fort was built between 1817-1828, but there have been fortifications of one kind or another as far back as 1000 (B.C.). In fact -they could have a sign up there that says “Julius Caesar slept here: 55 B.C.” (There may not have actually been a fort there at the time, but he was definitely in the area during the Gallic Wars.)
The first “modern” fort was built around the year 1000 (A.D.) by a nobleman named Ehrenbert. From that time on, the name Ehrenbreitstein stayed attached to whatever fort was there over the years. The fort before this one was yet another one that fell to the French -in 1800.
The fun thing is that there is a cable car system to take you across the river and up to the fort.
We knew we wouldn’t have time to spend at the fort, but we decided to just ride up and back for the views.
We were a bit surprised that other than the fort itself there is nothing else to see at the top except a wide-open park area. We saw a viewing tower and decided to go see the view.
This picture is blurry, but it shows where the Patria is. If you’re wondering why I only took one picture and didn’t check it, your guess is as good as mine.
We walked back toward the outside of the fort.
Since we’d already decided against seeing the fort… what goes up must come down. We returned to the cable car station and headed back to “our” side of the river.
The view was just gorgeous.
We were hungry and thirsty after our trip across the river, so we found a place to stop for a snack. Here is one of the few pictures I took of our food. It was a great way to celebrate the end of our trip.
It was time to make our way back to the Patria.
On the way, we walked by the Basilica of St. Castor (I wouldn’t recommend his oil -hah). The first basilica on the site was originally built between the years 817 – 836. The present building dates back to 1208.
Back at the Patria, we had our final dinner that evening. The crew put on a short program that was a bit of a celebration…basically saying thanks and goodbye (and don’t forget to tip!)
Our evening was mainly spent getting packed up and ready to depart in the morning.
Early the next morning, we took a cab to the train station and returned to the airport in Frankfurt. We stayed that night at the Airport Sheraton. Our trip back home started the next morning when we waved goodbye to Frankfurt.
Somewhere in the middle of the week, our guide asked us to all pose for a group picture. I thought the end of this trip report was a good place to share it.
Dear Readers: As a quick note – this trip was done in the spring of 2019, which is why I’m talking about the weather not being so great and me being cold/bundled up at times. The delay in posting it was mainly due to some real life distractions and also needing to sort out a couple of issues with this website.
This was a nice trip. Other than the bikes, there wasn’t much I disliked about the experience. I feel like we dropped the ball a few times along the way: We could have seen and done more than we did. I think we were already a bit tired at the beginning and got more tired along the way (plus I caught my cold). I had tried to do a bit of advance research on the towns we would be passing through so I’d know what to be looking for, but didn’t come up with much that I felt was helpful. I had hoped that our guide would be like the one we had in the Netherlands where we were taken on a walking tour every day and shown the best parts of each town we visited. For this trip, we were left to figure it out ourselves.
The territory we covered during this trip was really quite scenic, historical, and interesting. I would enjoy returning to this area and retracing the route of this trip on our own at a much slower pace. The distances on this trip were easily ridden, (and there was always the choice to stay aboard the Patria for the day), but we did slip into the mindset of “just getting there” most days. …Sometimes because of the weather; sometimes because of us being us. If we ever do decide to go back, I’d definitely take longer than a week and shorten up the distances because that would take our focus away from getting the miles done to taking the time to explore a bit more along the way. Someone who might not be interested in seeing this area by bicycle could easily follow a similar route by car. As I’ve already mentioned, I also think it would be interesting to kayak some of it.
I hope you enjoyed going to Germany with me and Mike – in a few months we’re going back to Europe for another bike/barge d’aventure, which I’m really excited about. Stay tuned!
Categories: Destination: Koblenz