Europe 2013- Germany- Days 10 & 11- Rhineland

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And, it was off to Germany, at 237 kilometers per hour.

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An advantage to traveling on a mid-afternoon, off-peak train is that I had the entire first class car to myself.

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I arrived in Cologne last in the evening, and, after dropping my bags off at the hotel, I strolled around the city. The city’s main attraction, Cologne Cathedral, was my first stop. The massive Gothic structure is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is visible for miles around.

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The next morning, I caught an early train south to Koblenz. I had some time to kill before catching my connecting train, so I wandered around the city, taking in the many famous buildings.

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Burg Rhienfels, St. Goar

The main excursion planned for a cruise on the Rhine River. One of the advantages of  having an Eurail Pass was the freebies included is a the cruise on this castle and historic rich part of the river. The place I chose to start the cruise from was the tiny, scenic town of St. Goar, a place I’d visited back in 1998.

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The stretch of the Rhine I’d chosen to cruise is lined with castles and vineyards, and it made for pleasant scenery, even of the cool and overcast spring day.

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Marksburg Castle

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Maus Castle

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The Rhine is still used for shipping

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Wine Tasting

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Docking in Boppard

We made one stop, in the cute little town of Boppard. As soon as we passed the town, we entered a portion of the river dominated by vineyards. I could see people strolling along the roads on the hillside enjoying some sort of festival.

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Fortress Ehrenbreitstein

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Cable Car to the Fortress

I disembarked the cruise in Koblenz, and took the cable car up to Fortress Ehrenbreitstein, the massive 300 year old military castle across the Rhine from the city center.

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Upon arriving at the top of fortress hill, I was lucky enough to catch an exhibition on the ancient art of falconry. It was another of those situations where I seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Even though the presentation was all in German, it was still fascinating.

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Deutsches Eck

I spent an our exploring the site, which was very interesting, but the highlight was the views provided from the top, especially of Deutsches Eck, or “The German Corner”- the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. 

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St. Kastor

Upon coming down from the hill, I spent my last hour in Koblenz exploring two sites. The first was the Catholic church of St. Kastor, set on a site where there has been a religious shrine since before the time of Christ.

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Modern art on the Deutches Eck

 

The second site I visited was the actual Deutsches Eck itself- located at the junction of the two very important rivers. When I visited, there was a temporary exhibition of 800 steel sunflowers, done by Chinese artisits Xu Jiang and Shi Hui, called “It is possible for them to live together”.

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After a long day, I headed south to the university town of Freiberg, where I was fortunate enough to have dinner and a few drinks with Andy & Ali- the talented bloggers behind Ali’s Adventures, Grounded Traveler & Cntl-Alt-Travel. Long having been a fan and virtual friend of both, it was a true thrill to have to opportunity to meet them in person.

Europe 2013 Posts-

Iceland-

Netherlands-

Belgium-

Beers & Bars of the Europe 2013 Trip:

 

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